Merchant needs to see more from Ghost

Larry Merchant was pleasantly surprised by Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero in the Californian's last outing, a decision win over Andre Berto on Nov. 24. In that bout, he proved to many that he's no blown-up lightweight, that he possesses the strength and rugged willingness to hang with a full-blown welterweight. Now, there are regular welterweights and then there is Floyd Mayweather, who is a step or two (or more) up in class from anyone his foes have faced before. Merchant sees Guerrero trying valiantly Saturday night in Las Vegas, but coming up short.

"He's basically smaller than Mayweather in terms of strength and power and I think the burden of proof is on him to really prove that he's a real welterweight," said the analyst, who is working on a forthcoming Top Rank card in Macau featuring Zou Shiming. "He's a gutsy little guy who will try to intelligently fight Mayweather on the inside, try to out-busy him and stay away otherwise. We'll see if he can execute that ... or if he gets executed."

Will it go the distance? I see 12 rounds playing out, does Merchant?

"I think it will be an interesting fight till it ends," he said. "You can't not like Guerrero but I don't know, he hasn't shown me he's a quality welterweight. The odds reflect his real chances.

"The best we can hope for is he makes it a fight as long as it's a fight. The rest is unknowable, whether Mayweather is throwing at 88 or 94."

Readers, have you seen Floyd's fastball losing steam? I do have to note that his face looks slightly haggard to me in photos leading to fight night. Did his jail stint take some zest from him? Did the stories from his ex which came out a few days ago add another layer of stress to the endeavor? Could this be the night Floyd goes from stellar to merely mortal?