- (Photograph: Team Guerrero)
Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero, 30, insists he is fated to humble one of the boxing world's most successful fighters, Floyd "Money" Mayweather. Guerrero opened up to The Christian Post about doing so before battling in a modern day story of David and Goliath.
Mayweather, 36, has yet to be beaten in his professional boxing career, etching his name in history by garnering the highest payouts that the boxing world has ever seen as a five-division world champion with eight world titles. The pugilist's presence was even felt outside of the boxing ring when he topped the Forbes and Sports Illustrated lists of the 50 highest-paid athletes of 2012.
Still, Guerrero has made it his business to call out one of the biggest names in boxing. The Mexican-American Christian fighter is not only willing to step into the ring with Mayweather, but has been asking for the opportunity for close to two years.
"When I started calling out Floyd Mayweather in November of 2011, everyone said I was crazy because I was coming off a shoulder injury and I had not fought above the lightweight (135 lbs) division," Guerrero told The Christian Post. "All the boxing media and fans were making fun of me, saying I wasn't worthy, but I kept believing that I would someday get the fight with Floyd."
Guerrero managed to jump two weight classes to beat an undefeated Selcuk Aydin in July 2012, which earned him the interim WBC welterweight title before he bested two-time Welterweight champion Andre Berto months later in November 2012. After defeating Berto, Guerrero was convinced that he was called by a higher power to defeat Mayweather.
"They said I was too small and that I had no chance of beating the bigger, stronger, faster fighter (Berto). But one thing they forgot to factor in, you can't measure a man's heart, my faith in Jesus Christ and my will to win is immeasurable," Guerrero told CP. "I dominated Berto and the boxing world was shocked. Now here we are today. I worked and willed my way into my fight with Floyd Mayweather."
Mayweather, known for his flamboyant personality, also has a habit of verbally jabbing his opponents publicly. After Guerrero was arrested for carrying a firearm through New York's Kennedy Airport last March, Mayweather used the incident to point out weaknesses in his opponent.
Although Guerrero told airport authorities about his unloaded firearm which was legally registered in his native state of California and locked away with no ammunition, he was arraigned on charges for criminal possession of a firearm, according to The Associated Press. Guerrero will have to fight the matter in court May 14, which could lead to four years in prison if he is convicted.
"You got this guy that's preaching, going to 'The 700 Club,' he's acting like he's a pastor, but he gets caught with a gun, he's got Marilyn Monroe on the wall at his house -- these guys are hypocrites, but you live, you learn. That's not really my focus," Mayweather told Marcos Villegas for The Boxing Channel. "They were joking about me doing time. What goes around comes around. A week after the fight, it's time for him to do his time."
Still, Guerrero is unfazed by Mayweather's talk, crediting a mental toughness that developed after his wife Casey Guerrero overcame a near fatal battle with leukemia three years ago. After being told that she had a 50 percent chance of surviving a bone marrow transplant, the boxer's prayers were answered, which prompted Guerrero to become an "Ambassador of Hope" for BeTheMatch.org while strengethening his faith in God.
"Nothing he can do or say can compare to seeing my wife battle cancer. His trash talking and the perception that he's unbeatable motivates me to go out there and shock the world," Guerrero said. "I've dedicated my fight with Floyd Mayweather to help 'Knock out Blood Cancer' (knockoutbloodcancer.org). I believe God has put me on this global stage to help save lives."
While Guerrero recalls his parents taking him to church as a kid, his Christian faith began to sink in at 19 years old while going to training camps with his father and manager Bob Santos, who studied the Bible with him. Coming from a family full of boxers, Guerrero insists that the sport is only a small chapter of his life compared to his walk with Jesus Christ.
"I absolutely believe more athletes should be vocal about their relationship with Jesus. Right now this world is being deceived by Satan," Guerrero explained. " Win or lose, we have to stand up for what we believe. After my career is over I want to minister to people around the world ... I know God has an incredible plan for me, I'm looking forward to it."
Until then, Guerrero is focusing his energy on being the first boxer to tarnish Mayweather's 43-0 record. Although Guerrero is a natural southpaw, the multiple world champion can adjust to different styles in the ring.
While he has only lost one of his 33 fights thus far, Guerrero realizes that he will be faced with a challenge in Mayweather. Still, the Mexican-American California native refuses to look at Mayweather as more than just a man.
"Although he's considered the best fighter of our era, he's just another man walking the earth. When I defeat Floyd Mayweather on May 4, Jesus Christ will get all the glory," Guerrero told CP. "Nothing came easy to me. I kept my faith in Jesus Christ, because I knew he had a plan for me that was unthinkable to the average person."
Guerrero recognizes that his story mirrors that of the Bible's David and Goliath in the book of 1 Samuel and believes that God is using him as an underdog to send a message to Mayweather.
"I know I'm right in the center of God's will and on May 4 on Showtime Pay-Per-View, I'm going to shock the world. It's the ultimate David vs. Goliath story," Guerrero said. "Like David against Goliath I feel I'm here to humble the man everyone believes is invincible."