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Mayweather Jr. puzzles Guerrero, plots next move under father’s watchful eye

Mayweather sticking to plan of fighting in September but not necessarily against Canelo Alvarez

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Floyd Mayweather Sr., left, and Floyd Mayweather Jr., right, celebrate a win over Robert Guerrero Saturday, May 4, 2013 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mayweather Jr. won a unanimous decision to retain his welterweight titles.

Mayweather Defeats Guerrero

WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, connects a punch on Robert Guerrero during their title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, May 4, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s first reaction was to keep this a secret, to conceal the sharp pain that engulfed his right hand in the ninth round of his fight against Robert Guerrero.

He didn’t want to show discomfort. Not to the packed crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday night. Not to his corner between rounds. Just when Mayweather Jr. thought he succeeded — and he did on some 14,000-odd accounts — here came his father rushing into the ring immediately after the bell.

“What’s wrong with your hand,” Floyd Mayweather Sr. asked. “Is your hand alright?”

“I knew his hand was hurt. I know my kid.”

Mayweather Sr. had picked up on Mayweather Jr. shaking his hand ever so slightly. Mayweather Jr., who didn’t realize he had done anything differently, ensured his father that three more rounds wouldn’t be a problem.

Reunited with his father as his trainer for the first time in 12 years, Mayweather Jr. gave a dazzling, vintage performance in a unanimous-decision victory (117-111, 117-111, 117-111) over Guerrero.

“I felt like I got hit with shots I shouldn’t have gotten hit with in my last fight,” Mayweather Jr. said. “So I had to bring back the defensive master, my father.”

Guerrero might be “The Ghost,” but it was Mayweather Jr. who looked invisible for large stretches of their WBC welterweight title fight. Guerrero threw nearly 600 punches but landed only 19 percent — and most of them not cleanly.

Mayweather Jr. ducked, bobbed and weaved all night. His face was so unblemished after 12 rounds that he broke away from the established post-fight ensemble and arrived at the press conference without sunglasses.

It was worlds away from his last fight a year ago when his nose was bloodied by Miguel Cotto. Mayweather Jr. put aside their decade-long contentious relationship and asked his father to train him shortly after that unanimous-decision victory, before he went away to jail for two months last summer.

“No family is perfect,” Mayweather Jr. said. “He’s set in his ways. I’m set in my ways. We’re going to have our differences, but in camp, we had a great chemistry.”

Mayweather Jr. claimed some media attempted to create a rift between his longtime trainer and uncle, Roger Mayweather, and Mayweather Sr. But it failed, as he worked with both for months leading up to the bout.

Mayweather Jr. plans to do the same before his next fight, which he promises will come on Sept. 14 at the MGM Grand. It would be the shortest amount of time between fights for the world’s best pound-for-pound boxer in 11 years.

But Mayweather is determined to keep his six-fight contract with Showtime rolling and says the hand injury isn’t serious enough to sideline him. The more burning issue is whom he will face.

Undefeated 22-year old Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, coming off of a unanimous-decision victory over Austin Trout, is the matchup everyone craves, but Mayweather Jr. isn’t sold.

“I’m not going to duck anyone but I’m at the top of the sport,” Mayweather Jr. said. “I’m at the pinnacle, and you don’t just get to point me out. Canelo Alvarez is a great fighter, but when I watched the fight with Trout, I thought it was a lot closer than they scored it.”

While Mayweather Jr. wouldn’t call out anyone by name, he said there were several other options. He’s previously discussed unifying titles with IBF welterweight champion Devon Alexander.

He plans to meet with his team, including his father, shortly to decide on an opponent.

“It’s going to be a problem for whoever it is,” Mayweather Sr. said.

After the Guerrero victory, Mayweather Sr. reflected on the first day he worked with his son upon their reconciliation. The elder Mayweather watched the 36-year-old spar with boxers 20 pounds bigger and get tagged repeatedly.

He told his son at the end of the day that he had to stop getting hit. By the end of the week, according to Mayweather Sr., his son was back to dodging everything thrown in his direction.

Sometimes, father knows best.

“I don’t think anyone wants to have problems with their kids or anything like that,” Mayweather Sr. said. “I think it was a great thing for me to come back into my son’s life and do what we’ve been doing for quite a while. I came back and you all see what happened. Floyd is back — the real Floyd.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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  1. Boring hand picked opponents another win for UFC.