Mayweather vs Guerrero: Steve Farhood previews all four PPV fights

Showtime boxing analyst Steve Farhood takes a look at Mayweather vs Guerrero, Ponce De Leon vs Mares, and the rest of tonight's Showtime PPV broadcast.

Corey Erdman, Fight Network

You have been at showtime for a very long time, you've kind of grown up as a broadcast there. I imagine seeing your network pick up the biggest fights, the biggest fight out there right now, is that much more exciting.

Steve Farhood, Showtime Sports

Very much so. The beauty of a big fight in boxing is that when it occurs, the world kind of stops, and all the focus is on Las Vegas and that ring. You know, what's happening? If you're watching, you're into it, if you're not watching, you wanna know what's happening. It only happens for the real big fights, and I think Floyd Mayweather at this point qualifies as that kind of fighter, and fights in those kind of fights.

Corey Erdman

Your role on Showtime Championship Boxing has changed a little bit. You guys are kind of like the New York Yankees of boxing television right now, you've scooped up every great broadcast available. What's it like working with that new, bigger team?

Steve Farhood

Well, it has changed a lot, the roster, over the last couple years. Mauro Ranallo is fantastic, he's a great guy who has a real passion for boxing. We love that, and he also knows boxing pretty well, which is a big help, because not every blow-by-blow announcer knows boxing. Usually they're professional broadcasters who are doing boxing. But in his case, he knows the game. And Paulie, Paulie surprised the hell out of me. I've done broadcasting with Paulie at the local level on Broadway Boxing, the Lou DiBella shows we do here. Every once in a while, he'd sit in with us, chip in, and he'd be fine, nothing special. But as soon as he got the Showtime gig, he's been absolutely fantastic. Really insightful, colorful, he brings a whole dynamic to it, and I think he works great with Al Bernstein. The team is great. Brian Kenny is about as good an announcer as there is. He can do anything, and he's the perfect host. I'm happy to have a small little role on it.

Corey Erdman

Paulie's kind of making things difficult for everyone trying to break in. I imagine he's gonna be there for a long time, I don't know how anyone's gonna top him.

Steve Farhood

Exactly right, and the beauty of Paulie right now is we get the build-up for the Broner fight, which is, actually, it's gonna be ridiculous. Absurd, in some ways. So wild that it's gonna be macabre and bizarre. But we get that build-up and that fight on Showtime, when it's one of our own. We went through that with Tarver, and it's a very difficult thing for the broadcasters, because obviously we have a personal relationship with Paulie, we like him a lot, and he's going to be fighting on our air. You have to suspend that personal relationship and call the fight as it is, and it's kind of difficult to do.

Corey Erdman

Mayweather vs Guerrero. You're a broadcaster but you're also a fan, Steve. Even though the odds are set at 10-to-1 in some cases favoring Floyd, are you going into Saturday night expecting a competitive main event?

Steve Farhood

Well, to me, Corey, it's all about Floyd. If Floyd is still Floyd, and can raise his game as he's done so many times in the past, then he wins the fight, and I think he wins the fight perhaps easily. But, if his lack of movement and mobility, and his willingness to trade a little bit that we saw in the Cotto fight, if that's the new Floyd, because he's feeling he's 36 years old, then Guerrero could be his worst nightmare. We know that Robert is gonna be a physical fighter, he's gonna get inside, and he's gonna rough Floyd up, if Floyd doesn't have the legs to move. So it really depends on Floyd, which is often the case when you have the best fighter in boxing. If he's himself, he's gonna win. If he's vulnerable because of age, then everybody could be very surprised.

Corey Erdman

Floyd likes to say that there is no blueprint to beat him, but people who try to draw one up would tend to suggest that the man to beat him would be a southpaw, and would put pressure on him for 12 rounds. That kind of fits the Robert Guerrero description. From what you've seen of him, do you think he has what it takes to make a competitive fight?

Steve Farhood

We think of Zab Judah after four rounds being ahead of Mayweather, but Zab's southpaw style is very different from Guerrero's. Even Chop Chop Corley, more of a boxer as a southpaw than a pressure fighter. Guerrero, interestingly, coming up from lightweight and jumping all the way to welter, has been very physical. We saw it in the Berto fight. I don't think he necessarily fits the same mold as the other southpaws who gave Mayweather trouble. As a boxer, I don't think he can compete with Floyd. You can try to outbox Floyd, as Oscar did, and the jab is the key weapon there, but Guerrero doesn't have Oscar's length or his jab. Guerrero's best chance is to rough Floyd up, get on the inside, and do what he did with Berto, or try to anyway.

Corey Erdman

Let's flip this around again, because two fights ago, Guerrero was in tough against Selcuk Aydin, who has now since lost to Jesus Soto Karass, and then he went the distance with Giuseppe Lauri not too long ago. Was there anything in that fight, or that Berto fight, that you can pinpoint instantly and say, yeah, Floyd can exploit this?

Steve Farhood

I think the positives for Guerrero is that when he fought Aydin, Aydin was undefeated and was as physically strong as any welterweight in the world. Aydin with a loss is not the same fighter. I give Guerrero credit, I thought that was a very, very risky fight to take in his first fight in the division. What we did see, though, is that Guerrero can be hit. He takes a good punch, there's no doubt about that. I go back with him several years, almost 10 years, when he started on ShoBox as a featherweight. He's always had a good chin, but having a good chin against Floyd isn't that great a thing to have, because Floyd's not a big puncher, but he'll hit you again and again. And Floyd's right hand is gonna be landing. So we saw with Aydin, we even saw with Berto, Guerrero has the chin to take it.

Corey Erdman

Let's talk about the co-feature now, a pair of guys who can be hit and take a good punch, and tend to throw quite a few of them. Abner Mares taking on Daniel Ponce De Leon. Mares jumping up to 126 to try and scoop up another title. Both of these guys have shown to be very adaptable in the ring, so how do you envision this one unfolding?

Steve Farhood

It's very interesting, because Mares has become much more a physical fighter over the last couple of years, than we initially thought he was. If he wins, that's three different divisions, world championships, in two and a half years. Quite impressive. But Ponce De Leon, he's biting off a lot here, because De Leon has some highlight film knockouts to his credit, he can box, he can put pressure on as we saw against Broner, this is a 50-50 fight, and I think a decent chance of stealing the show.

Corey Erdman

If Mares brings the heat, though, the way that he did against Anselmo Moreno, or against Agbeko in the rematch, does Ponce still have the firepower to keep him off, or is he more of a spoiler at this point in his career?

Steve Farhood

I think he does have the firepower for the simple reason that Mares is debuting at featherweight. It wasn't long ago that Mares was a 118 pounder, and he was stronger and more aggressive than most guys in that division, and at 122. But now 126? The uninitiated fan would say, hey, four pounds, what's the big deal? It is a big deal. How much is Ponce De Leon going to weigh in the ring? To see Mares fight his way and be effective at 126, we haven't seen yet. There's always a question when a guy jumps like that, will he be the same fighter?

Corey Erdman

One of Mayweather's proteges, J'Leon Love, is making his PPV debut as well, taking on Gabe Rosado. Steve, from what you saw of J'Leon in Detroit, when he faced Derrick Findley, does he have the goods, or will it take a win over a guy like Rosado to sell you on him?

Steve Farhood

Definitely the latter. J'Leon Love with Derrick Findley in Detroit had it tough at times. He hasn't shown me yet that he can fight a focused fight through 8 or 10 rounds. Now he's making a big jump. The only thing going for J'Leon here is Rosado's coming off a beating, where he got cut badly and hurt against Gennady Golovkin, and Rosado would prefer fighting at 154 pounds, and he's fighting a strong middleweight at 160. It's almost a pick'em fight to me. It's a huge step up. I give both Mayweather's promotional company and Love credit for taking this fight. No risk, no reward. He's gonna have a huge audience, and if he wins, he moves way up the ladder in terms of young American middleweights, of which there are not a lot, by the way.

Corey Erdman

Also on the card, Leo Santa Cruz, who everyone always refers to as "can't-miss TV," taking on Alexander Munoz, who kinda ran the table in Japan a few years ago making a few super flyweight title defenses. Tell the people, Steve, why should people tune in on time early in the telecast to see Leo, instead of picking up those Tecates at 10 o'clock?

Steve Farhood

Well, Leo Santa Cruz is all-action. I don't care if he fights my sister, it's gonna be entertaining, because he's never gonna be in a bad fight. He's always gonna be a volume puncher, throwing a lot of shots. And Alexander Munoz, granted his best is probably in the past, and he was best at 115 and now he's fighting at 122, but he was a good puncher at 115, and that's how he fights. Again, that should be an all-action fight. You have to make Santa Cruz a considerable favorite, based on his youth, he's undefeated, et cetera, I think he'll come through, but it should be an action fight. No dancers in this fight, let's put it that way.

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