Thursday, May 2, 2013
Fighters stay calm as fathers create chaos
By Kieran Mulvaney
Ruben Guerrero's comments on Wednesday had Oscar De La Hoya trying to hush him -- to no avail.
LAS VEGAS -- It was not exactly shaping up to be the most electrifying media conference of all time. Sponsors, promoters and broadcasters all took their turn at the podium, and the assembled media fidgeted and tweeted and waited for something interesting to happen.
And then Ruben Guerrero walked to the microphone.
"My son's blessed, I'm blessed," said the father and trainer of Robert Guerrero.
Fair enough, and all fairly uncontroversial so far.
"I'm the real deal, and I don't talk s---, baby, I back it up."
That, perhaps, suggested that the elder Guerrero had something more contentious in mind. Even so, the rapidity with which he accelerated the news conference from "Masterpiece Theatre" to "The Wire" took all in attendance by surprise.
"We're going to beat up that woman-beater -- the one that beat up his wife," Ruben suddenly proclaimed, a reference to last year's incarceration of Floyd Mayweather Jr., his son's opponent on Saturday, for domestic assault. "He beat up his wife in front of his kids. He must have learned that from his dad. We're going to beat that woman-beater."
That, unsurprisingly, prompted a retort from the aforementioned dad, Floyd Mayweather Sr., who began jawing at Guerrero from the audience, shouting at him to sit down and shut up, while the elder Guerrero continued to turn up the volume. After a period of stunned paralysis, promoter Oscar De La Hoya ushered Ruben away from the podium.
"It's OK, it's OK," he said.
Ah, but it wasn't.
After the news conference, Ruben Guerrero returned to his theme: "He's a woman-beater, man," he repeated to journalists. "He's talking s--- about my son, that he's a hypocrite. What about him? He's beating up women in front of his kids and then he's crying in jail? Be like a real man. Don't be crying."
And then Floyd Sr. emerged, as if from nowhere, flying toward Guerrero until he was tackled by promoter and light heavyweight champ Bernard Hopkins, who held him back as the two trainers/fathers yelled at each other.
"Hit me brother, hit me," shouted Guerrero. "Let's do it right now. You're scared, brother, you're shaking."
Robert Guerrero took it all in stride.
"He will throw down," the fighter said of his father, who was still taunting Floyd Sr., who in turn was yelling back at Ruben even as he was hustled away. "He's the real deal."
"Yeah, I can crack baby," exulted the elder Guerrero. "He ain't getting up if I hit him."
Amid the chaos, the two sons retained a detached calm.
"My thoughts are to think about the fight, not worry about what these guys are saying," Robert Guerrero said. "My job is to focus on what I got to do, to take care of my business in the ring."
"I don't have to sit here and bad-mouth his father," Floyd Jr. said. "Only God can judge me. I just say a prayer for him. I'm not upset at all."
The reason Mayweather's father was in the audience yelling at Ruben Guerrero and not up on the dais alongside his son was, said Mayweather, because he had asked him to sit down there expressly to avoid any possible conflict between the two men.
"I'm trying to avoid anyone getting hurt," Floyd Jr. said. "If I'm up here and my dad and his dad get to fighting, they fall on him or they fall on me, somebody's finger or something gets broke or something happens, somebody gets a cut, you're talking about millions of dollars going down the drain. You have to be smart."