Ghost busted: What's next for Robert Guerrero after Mayweather loss?

Al Bello

Floyd Mayweather backed up his word and dominated Robert Guerrero last night. Will "The Ghost" get back into the 147-pound title hunt?

In the pre-fight build-up, Robert Guerrero heavily focused on two secular talking points:

1. Floyd Mayweather breaks guys down mentally, and Guerrero wouldn't go into the fight in that state of mind.

2. Nobody adjusted to Mayweather's adjustments, and Guerrero would do that; he would have Plan A to Z, let alone Plan B.

Last night in Las Vegas, as Mayweather outclassed Guerrero the same as he's done the vast majority of his opponents over the last 17 years, Guerrero fell well short of keeping his promises to adjust to Mayweather's attack and refreshed defense, and what's more, Mayweather didn't exactly have to dig deep to do what he wanted with Guerrero. After a close opening couple of rounds, Floyd started to time "The Ghost," and the rout was on by round five.

Guerrero (31-2-1, 18 KO) just didn't have the extra gears, the talent, the speed, or much of anything else to give Mayweather any sincere trouble. Two of the rounds that the judges gave him were rounds Floyd "took off" -- and even those easily could have gone to Mayweather.

One troubling aspect of Guerrero's loss has nothing to do with Guerrero, at face value. Very few fighters who have lost to Floyd Mayweather have gone on to do anything really significant, at least in terms of wins. Guerrero, at 30, isn't washed-up, and doesn't figure to be on a big decline. But recent history is a mixed bag for post-Floyd life among his fellow defeated.

Of those who have lost to Mayweather since 2005, only Zab Judah has gone on to win another world title, and beating Kaizer Mabuza isn't exactly the stuff dreams are made of. Juan Manuel Marquez did go back and defend his lightweight belts, and obviously has done alright for himself. Of all these fighters, Marquez's story is the most successful in his post-Floyd days.

Ricky Hatton beat Juan Lazcano and Paulie Malignaggi, then was knocked out by Manny Pacquiao. (Hatton's loss last year to Vyacheslav Senchenko is irrelevant in this context.) Oscar De La Hoya held a glorified sparring session with Steve Forbes, then was beaten to a pulp by Manny Pacquiao. In these cases, Floyd set 'em up, and Manny knocked 'em out of the sport. They were quite the 1-2 combo for a little while.

Arturo Gatti, Carlos Baldomir, and Sharmba Mitchell never did anything notable again, except lose. Mayweather's three previous opponents before Guerrero -- Shane Mosley, Victor Ortiz, and Miguel Cotto -- haven't won since losing to "Money," going a combined 0-4-1.

Can Guerrero buck that trend? Yes, he can.

For one thing, unlike Mosley and Cotto, Guerrero is not a fighter in obvious decline. Cotto isn't old in years the way Sugar Shane is, but his life is not totally about boxing, and he's made that clear many times. Miguel has also, it seems, grown out of the weight classes where he can have major success -- as much as Floyd isn't a junior middleweight, neither is Miguel Cotto.

Guerrero can fight at 147, and he can fight contenders there, and beat them. He did it with Andre Berto, who is solidly in the second-tier of welterweights, which is, to be frank, where Guerrero will also reside. There are titlists in that class -- Devon Alexander and Paulie Malignaggi, and Tim Bradley is really closer to those guys than he is Mayweather, though he may be the Best of the Rest. (Bradley's irrelevant here, anyway, since Guerrero can't fight him.)

Robert Guerrero claims six world titles in four weight classes, but in reality he's only won world titles at 126 and 130, with interim belts at 135 and 147. Again, no honest assessment would call him a world champion in four weight classes, even in today's watered-down, belt factory world.

But Guerrero has everything needed to win more world titles. His body fits at 147 now, as he's a solid welterweight. Against lesser opponents than Floyd (you know, everyone), there's no reason Robert Guerrero can't establish himself long-term as a contender or champion at 147 pounds.

If they were fighting next, would you pick Paulie Malignaggi, WBA champ, to beat Guerrero? Would you pick Devon Alexander, IBF champ, to beat Guerrero? Has Robert Guerrero's stock at welterweight really taken any hit just because he, like 42 others, couldn't get his hand raised against Floyd Mayweather?

Guerrero won't follow recent history. He won't disappear, won't fall off severely, won't crumble into a quiet or very loud retirement within his next couple of fights. Floyd Mayweather didn't break Robert Guerrero last night, even though he dominated him. Guerrero will be around, he'll be in main events, and he's going to be in the mix for a while to come. This is not a fighter I see being affected long-term by his loss to Floyd Mayweather.

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