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Mayweather maturity faces test vs. Guerrero

Floyd Mayweather, left, gets back in the ring tonight against Robert Guerrero, right, after a year off and a stint in jail.

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Floyd Mayweather, left, gets back in the ring tonight against Robert Guerrero, right, after a year off and a stint in jail.

LAS VEGAS — He claims to be more mature now, chastened by a stint in jail and eager to be just as much a businessman as a fighter. Indeed, Floyd Mayweather acted almost statesmanlike this week when Robert Guerrero's father screamed that he was a woman beater who would get beaten himself tonight.

"The fighters are the ones who fight, not the fathers," Mayweather said calmly in the aftermath of his father/trainer Floyd Sr. rushing Ruben Guerrero at Wednesday's news conference.

If it's an act, it's a pretty good one. Armed with a six-fight TV deal with Showtime, Mayweather has for the most part taken the high road promoting his fight against Guerrero.

Mayweather weighed in at 146 pounds Friday. Guerrero checked in at the weight-class limit of 147.

Tonight's 12-round welterweight title match will be Mayweather's first fight in a year. It's also his first ring appearance since serving a jail term for assaulting the mother of his children, an experience he said helped him grow up.

Sometimes, though, he just can't help himself. He called Guerrero a hypocrite for promoting himself as a devout Christian, then getting arrested on gun charges in New York. And a few days before the fight he even accused Guerrero of trying to win fans by using his wife's leukemia, which she overcame with a bone marrow transplant, as a way to get sympathy.

The game plan in the Guerrero camp is the same as it will be in the ring: don't back off.

"That's part of his game, getting under your skin and getting you off your game," Guerrero said. "It's not working. He's in for a fight, and he knows it."

Mayweather has a franchise to protect. He will earn $32 million and try to remain perfect in 44 fights. He picks his opponents these days but had to study more before giving Guerrero, 30, the biggest fight of his life.

"I didn't know who he was a year ago," Mayweather said of Guerrero, who moved up to welterweight two fights ago and was impressive in beating Andre Berto. "I probably heard his name in passing but didn't know who the guy was. But he's earned his shot, and now he'll get it."

No one questions Mayweather's ability, even at 36, but he got hit with more punches than usual in his last fight, against Miguel Cotto. "I don't want to make the same mistakes I made in the Cotto fight," he said. "I think I trained too hard for that fight."

Guerrero, who will get $3 million for the fight, seems intent on pressuring Mayweather every minute of every round, something other opponents have for the most part failed to do.

"People underestimate my strength, and it really is a big downfall for them," Guerrero said.

.tonight

Mayweather vs. Guerrero

Floyd Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) vs. Robert Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs)

When/where: Undercard starts at 9; MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas

At stake: Mayweather's welterweight title

TV: Showtime pay per view, $69.99

Mayweather maturity faces test vs. Guerrero 05/03/13 [Last modified: Friday, May 3, 2013 11:00pm]

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