The subject was distractions, and Robert Guerrero, a self-professed expert on the matter, was making a convincing case on how to deal with them before his May 4 fight against WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the MGM Grand Garden.
Guerrero already has dealt with one major distraction. He was arrested March 28 at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport for trying to bring a gun on his flight to Las Vegas. He has a hearing scheduled for May 14.
He figures to be tested again by Mayweather, who undoubtedly will try to get under Guerrero’s skin by saying something demeaning about Guerrero’s wife, Casey, who has won her battle with leukemia.
“You know that going in with Floyd that he’s going to say stuff to try and get you off your game,” Guerrero said Tuesday during his media day at IBA Gym to promote the fight. “From the first time I saw him, I knew he would try to get under my skin. But there’s nothing he can say to distract me. As me and my wife like to say, ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me.’ ”
Guerrero would not speak directly about the gun incident. But he said the moment he got on the plane to return to Las Vegas after his court arraignment, it was no longer a distraction.
“I haven’t even thought about it,” he said.
In a statement released Tuesday by Guerrero’s longtime publicist, Mario Serrano, the fighter apologized for his actions and said he was hopeful he would avoid jail time.
“I do want all of you to know how sorry I am that the event took place and that I plan to address it directly and honestly upon my return to New York,” the statement read. “I respect the laws of this country, and I take my commitment to my community and my country seriously.
“I never had any intent to do wrong. On the contrary, I did everything I knew to do to act in a safe, legal fashion. I cooperated with everyone involved. My mistake was in not knowing the laws are different in different states, but at all times I sought to be in total compliance in every way with what I thought was the law. The district attorney’s office is full of good people, and I am confident that this matter will be resolved fairly.
“This is an important lesson for me, one I wish I didn’t have to learn but one that I will teach my children and I will always remember.”
One reason the 30-year-old Guerrero chooses to train in Las Vegas rather than in his hometown of Gilroy, Calif., is to avoid distractions. He has been shuttling back and forth between two local establishments — the IBA and the Pound 4 Pound Gym — to get his work in and to help keep him mentally fresh.
“I like it,” he said. “I can do certain things here like spar (at IBA) and do other parts of my training at Pound 4 Pound. It breaks the week up.”
Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 knockouts) knows he’s going to catch the 36-year-old Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) at his best and needs to be in the same optimum condition — physically and mentally.
“To beat Floyd, you have to fight smart,” he said. “You can’t make mental mistakes. Victor Ortiz hit him with some good shots, but he lost his focus mentally and wound up getting knocked out. I’m not going to let that happen to me. I’ve got the experience and toughness not to get sidetracked.”
Guerrero said being in a major pay-per-view promotion against a future Hall of Famer will not overwhelm him.
“This is no problem at all,” he said. “Raising two kids and having a wife trying to beat cancer, that’s pressure.”
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.