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Bob Tapella, right, shows off a poster that he was giving to Jim Shuster, left, while they were talking about boxer Robert "Ghost" Guerrero at Shuster's restaurant Dutchman's Pizza in Gilroy, Calif., on Wednesday, April 24, 2013. Story on the roots of Gilroy native Robert "Ghost" Guerrero and what he means to the city of Gilroy as Guerrero embarks on the biggest boxing match of his career, when he meets Floyd Mayweather Jr. for the WBC Welterweight World Championship on May 4 in Las Vegas. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

LAS VEGAS -- Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero is enjoying this ride. Of course he is. When the Gilroy welterweight enters the ring here Saturday night, he will fulfill his fondest career wish, a close-your-eyes-and-dream reality.

Standing in the opposite corner from Guerrero will be none other than Floyd Mayweather Jr., the linear welterweight champion who represents so much more.

Mayweather is by far boxing's brightest star, its biggest international attraction and, perhaps, its most powerful individual. He has a perfect record (43-0, 26 KOs), a megawatt smile, a polarizing personality and, according to Forbes magazine, more income than anybody else who makes a living sweating in an arena or stadium.

Boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, and Robert Guerrero, right, pose for photographers with Mayweather’s adviser, Leonard Ellerbe, second from left,
Boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, and Robert Guerrero, right, pose for photographers with Mayweather's adviser, Leonard Ellerbe, second from left, and Oscar De La Hoya, during a news conference, Wednesday, May 1, 2013, in Las Vegas. Guerrero will take on Mayweather for Mayweather's WBC welterweight title on Saturday. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

"Money" Mayweather made $85 million through the fiscal year ending last June. He is his own boss. He makes the rules. And he is the only path through which Guerrero can step out of the shadows of boxing take a seat atop the sports world.

So Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs) can't hide his delight. As the main event on Showtime pay-per-view, he's fighting for fame and fortune; he'll make at least $3 million -- three times more than his previous high.

Yeah, that would give just about anyone a shot of giddy.

There was Guerrero during the weigh-in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Friday afternoon, shouting and gesturing and making his presence felt, upstaging the champ under a banner reading "Mayweather Promotions."

Asked by ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. what he needs to do to cop Mayweather's belt -- and indelibly tarnish his unblemished record -- Guerrero dived right into the moment.

"I'm thinking about getting down," Guerrero shouted into the microphone, eliciting a roar from several thousand attendees. "It's time to rock and roll.

"We gotta beat him down. We're going to take full advantage of him."

The development of Guerrero's edgy stage persona has been rapid. Always confident in his considerable skills, The Ghost until recently was perceived as a championship-level fighter with a heart of gold. He routinely praises God. His profile has been created no more by his fists as by his unfailingly supportive role during his wife's battles with leukemia.

But now, under the biggest spotlight of his life, Guerrero is reveling in the moment. It's as if he has taken lessons in acute self-promotion from Mayweather. Or maybe he's inspired by the machismo so conspicuously expressed by his loquacious father, Ruben, who became a worldwide star this week with his impromptu floor show during the final prefight news conference.

Seizing upon Mayweather's conviction for misdemeanor domestic assault, Ruben stayed on the issue with the perseverance of a caffeinated pit bull.

"We gonna beat up that woman beater," Ruben Guerrero shouted, repeating the phrase numerous times.

Though it all, Mayweather stared straight ahead, perhaps visualizing the additional attention -- and revenue -- this would generate. Co-promoter Oscar De La Hoya was visibly uncomfortable. Robert Guerrero looked by turns sheepish and amused.

"That '0' has to go," The Ghost said during that final news conference. "Records are made to be broken. On May 4, that record is going to be broken. He's going to have his first loss.

"I'm relaxed and ready to go. It's fight time. That's what I'm here for."

Immediately after the weigh-in, Guerrero remained on stage, beating his chest and shouting.

Can Guerrero win in the ring? Maybe. He's a long shot with oddsmakers, deservedly so, but he's younger and as a busy southpaw possesses the kind of style that has neutralized Mayweather's prodigious ring savvy.

So The Ghost, already a six-time champ in four divisions, has an outside chance to bring another belt to the Bay Area -- and become an instant star.

Outside the ring, Guerrero already is savoring victory. His wife, Casey, is in remission. This is the fight he has chased for years. His paycheck will be beyond handsome; there's even a rematch clause in the contract.

If he is enjoying this moment more than usual, so be it.

How else is he to feel, after working so hard and sacrificing so much, knowing millions of dollars are only hours away?

Contact Monte Poole at mpoole@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/1montepoole.

WBC welterweight championship

WHO: Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Robert Guerrero
WHERE: MGM Grand, Las Vegas
WHEN: Card begins at 6 p.m.
TV: Pay-per-view