- Kieran Mulvaney, Boxing
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LAS VEGAS -- There are elements of Floyd Mayweather's welterweight title fight with Robert Guerrero on Saturday that bring to mind his 2011 tilt against Victor Ortiz. Both Guerrero and Ortiz earned their shots on the back of impressive victories over Andre Berto, for one. Mayweather gives the impression of being as dismissive of Guerrero's chances as he was contemptuous of what Ortiz brought to the table, for another. (In contrast, the build-up to his contest with Miguel Cotto last year was marked by mutual respect from both sides.)
There's something else, too. Mayweather couldn't abide the constant prefight references to Ortiz's famously difficult childhood -- in which first his mother and then his father deserted he and his siblings. Mayweather hinted that there was less to the story than met the eye and even promised to invite Ortiz's father to the fight. He also fumed at the attention the Ortiz upbringing received on HBO's 24/7 series.
It appears he feels much the same way about the seminal element of the Robert Guerrero story -- in which he took time out from the ring to help care for his ailing wife Casey, as she battled and ultimately defeated leukemia.
"Do I feel bad about the situation his wife went through? Absolutely," Mayweather said on Tuesday. "But trying to gain fans by having the sympathy story every week, I don't think that's a good thing. I'm glad that his wife was able to beat the leukemia. I don't feel anyone should have to go through a situation like that. But we all go through certain things. But I think just to gain fans, you're using your wife's story, you're using a sympathy story. I'm glad she was able to beat leukemia, that's a great thing. And I'm glad those two have such a great bond. But I don't like every week they keep selling the same story."
And then, in typical Mayweather style, he took the opportunity to take one more dig, a riposte to Guerrero's arrest after he declared and attempted to check a handgun at New York's JFK Airport -- an arrest that came after Guerrero had pointedly referred to Mayweather's incarceration for assault last year. It is possible, although unlikely, that Guerrero may himself face jail time for the firearm charge.
"The main thing that he really needs to focus on at this time is that he's going away to do time after the fight," smiled Mayweather with apparent satisfaction. "He was pointing the finger and talking trash about me, and now you have to go and do time."