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Can “The Ghost” Get “Money” for Cinco de Mayo?…GONZALEZ

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MaidanaGuerreroPrePC Hogan14At 28 years old, three division world champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KO‘s) has accomplished far more than most fighters ever will. But for some reason, the Gilroy, California native doesn’t seem to get the high level bouts a fighter of his caliber should.

An articulate and Christian family man, Guerrero isn’t the type to burn money at a night club in a desperate bid for attention from the media. He’s never been flashy, usually all about business. One has to wonder how much the lack of notoriety is playing against him in his bid to secure a fight against the top fighter in the world, Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr.

But Guerrero didn’t get where he’s been by giving up. He, along with publicist Mario Serrano, have launched an all out campaign to get Mayweather on the opposite corner of the ring.

In reality, the quick fisted Mexican-American is just as intriguing a candidate as any other whose name is currently being tossed around to face Mayweather on May 5, 2012 (Cinco de Mayo). Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is being talked about as an opponent. But does it make sense? Not according to Guerrero.

“Canelo is a talented kid but he’s got a long way to go. It would be a mistake to put him in against someone like Mayweather,” Guerrero said. “It would be the same thing they did to Fernando Vargas. They put him in too early against Trinidad and he was never the same. ‘Canelo’ is just not mentally prepared.”

“Canelo” Alvarez may not be ready, but the Mexican red-head’s marketing appeal would make a bout vs. Mayweather a gigantic event likely to generate record pay per view numbers. But Guerrero has a point. Alvarez is Golden Boy Promotion’s cash cow and only 21. Why send the golden goose into the slaughterhouse?

Guerrero believes he’d fare much better than Mayweather’s last victim, Victor Ortiz, who was knocked silly when he failed to protect himself at all times as he’s been advised through the years. He sees the Oxnard fighter as someone who was defeated before he ever walked into the ring. “Floyd is great at getting under an opponent’s skin. Just watching the face-off after the weigh in, you could tell he was breaking Victor down,” Guerrero said. “Once Floyd put his hands around Victor’s neck and he didn’t do anything, it was a sign of submission.”

Guerrero says he would’ve handled the situation differently. “My instant reaction would’ve been to punch Mayweather right in the mouth. Just because I’m a Christian doesn’t mean I’m not going to react when someone tests me,” he said. “We grew up hard. My dad raised us like pit bulls. Anybody puts their hands on me and it’s on. I’m never going to let anyone get over on me like that.”

Amir Khan is also someone that Guerrero wants to face. “Khan fights scared. He brings a scared energy into the ring,” he said. “He hasn’t transcended into a pro fighter. He still fights like an amateur. Like he‘s fighting in the Olympics.”

His feelings were reinforced after watching Khan lose a close and somewhat controversial decision to Lamont Peterson. There are some who felt Peterson got a little help from the referee after he deducted Khan two points for excessive pushing. Guerrero saw it differently. “At the end of the day, the ref did a tremendous job. He warned Khan many times not to push off.”

“Khan has been pulling a con job on everybody for a while. He doesn’t pull the wool over my eyes,” Guerrero stated. “Freddie knows.”

Guerrero spent a lot of time at the wildcard gym where Freddie Roach trains Khan and Filipino super star Manny Pacquiao. “I’ve sparred middleweights with no problems. Freddie’s worked with me in the ring; he’s felt my power and knows better than to match up Khan with me.”

He also spent time in the ring with Pacquiao. “It was a couple rounds. In the first round I had him out on his feet. Manny didn’t touch me one time during the sparring session,” Guerrero said. “I was keeping him at a distance, and then I decided to close the ring off. He got on his bike and after a bit, Freddie decided it was getting too hot in there.”

Fighting Mayweather Jr. is a whole different matter. “Lil’ Floyd” isn’t only brilliant in the ring, he’s also a master manipulator who knows how to frazzle the opposition during press tours. “Whatever Floyd says wouldn’t bother me. I’ve been through so much and I’m a Christian man who is mentally strong and very sound,” Guerrero continued. “I’ve fought under very hard situations. I’ve fought injured. I fought after finding out my wife was diagnosed with cancer. I’m interested to see what Floyd’s reaction will be when he can’t get under someone’s skin.”

If the fight against Mayweather doesn’t materialize, Guerrero wants to face the top names in the division. “When god blesses you with talent, you want to get the most out of it, therefore I want to be the best,” he said. “I’m looking to challenge Maidana, Peterson, Khan, and Juan Manuel Marquez. Bring it.”

There are those who argue that Guerrero and his team are over stating his marketability. That he’s not a big enough entity to face Mayweather Jr. But then again, Victor Ortiz was far less accomplished and had a much smaller fan base than Guerrero before he fought Mayweather.

Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Cinco de Mayo, 2012? Why not? It makes more sense than just about any other option except for Pacquiao. If the fight with Mayweather doesn’t happen, Guerrero still plans to make 2012 the year of “The Ghost”.

“2012 is going to be big. I was told by (Golden Boy C.E.O.) Richard Schaefer that he‘s working on a big fight for me so I‘m very excited for what the year will bring,” Guerrero said. “I’ve been fighting with an injured shoulder for most of my career and now I’m completely healthy so I‘m going to be even better. I can’t wait to get back in the ring and hit somebody. Hopefully it’ll be Floyd Mayweather.”

Golden Boy promotions appeals Khan-Peterson decision:

Previously mentioned Golden Boy C.E.O., Richard Schaefer, held a press conference accusing the Washington D.C. boxing commission of favoritism towards Lamont Peterson during his December 10th fight against Amir Khan. The split decision was awarded to Peterson. Khan was deducted two points for excessive pushing which impacted the judge’s score cards enough to declare Peterson the winner and new champion. Khan and Schaefer are now looking for a re-match to be staged in Los Angeles on May 19th.

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Michael Dutchover Remains Undefeated in Ontario, Calif.

Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

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Michael Dutchover

ONTARIO-Calif.-Transplanted Texan Michael Dutchover needed a little time to figure out Costa Rican Bergman Aguilar but when he did it was over quickly on Friday.

Lightweight prospect Dutchover (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out southpaw Aguilera (14-4-1, 4 KOs) in the fifth round with a barrage of body blows that left the Costa Rican limp at the Doubletree Hotel.

For two rounds Aguilar used an awkward counter-punching style that had Dutchover a little tentative. But once he figured out that combination punching was the key, he opened up with barrages and floored Aguilar with body shots at the end of round four.

That signaled doom for Aguilar.

The fifth round saw Dutchover target the body with impunity as Aguilar tried holding, running and covering up with no success. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth signaled the fight over at 2:31 of the fifth round giving Dutchover the win by knockout.

In a bantamweight clash Santa Ana’s Mario Hernandez (7-0-1, 3 KOs) and Mexico City’s Ivan Gonzalez (4-1-2, 1 KO) fought to a majority draw after six back and forth rounds.

Hernandez targeted the body against the taller Gonzalez who relied on long range counters. Both found success but neither could prove superiority after six turbulent rounds.

After six rounds one judge saw it 58-56 for Gonzalez but the two other judges saw it 57-57 for a majority draw.

Other bouts

South Central L.A.’s Ruben Torres (7-0, 6 KOs) extended his undefeated streak with a knockout over Mexico’s Eder “El Koreano” Amaro (6-6, 2 KOs) in a lightweight fight. But it wasn’t easy.

Amaro switched from southpaw to orthodox and was matching Torres for two rounds until the taller local fighter began blasting away to the body and head with precision. Many in the crowd cheered “Koreano” in unison but it couldn’t help once Torres zeroed in.

At the end of the fourth round Amaro could not continue and the fight was stopped giving a knockout for Torres.

Richard Brewart Jr. (2-0) mowed through Edward Aceves (0-5) flooring him with body shots in the first round then overwhelming him in the second. After seven unanswered blows referee Eddie Hernandez stopped the fight at 1:32 of round two giving Rancho Cucamonga’s Brewart the win by knockout in the super welterweight bout.

Southpaw David Ortiz (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision after four rounds in a welterweight match against San Diego’s Mario Angeles (2-11-2). Ortiz lives in Bloomington, Calif. and is trained by Henry Ramirez. No knockdowns were scored.

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Charr-Oquendo Scuttled When Charr Tests Positive; the Odious WBA Saves Face

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Manuel Charr

Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo were scheduled to fight in Cologne, Germany, later this month (Sept. 29). Charr would be defending his WBA world heavyweight title, the “regular” version of it, not the “super” version which rests in the hands of Anthony Joshua.

The bout was quickly cancelled when it was revealed that Charr had tested positive for two banned anabolic steroids. The test was performed by VADA, the anti-doping agency identified with Las Vegas neurologist Dr. Margaret Goodman.

The 33-year-old Charr, born in Lebanon but a resident of Germany since the age of three, won the belt in his last start with a unanimous decision over 281-pound Russian behemoth Alexander Ustinov in Oberhausen, Germany. The title was vacant. Charr won the right to fight for it with a 10-round decision over Albanian slug Sefer Seferi. The victory over Ustinov elevated his record to 31-4. He has been stopped three times, by Vitali Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin, and Mairis Briedis.

If it wasn’t for bad luck, as the old saying goes, Fres Oquendo wouldn’t have any luck at all. For various reasons, his fights keep falling out. Before long he’ll be drawing social security. Well, not exactly, but he turned 45 in April and hasn’t fought in more than four years.

Oquendo has competed for this belt before. In his last ring appearance in July of 2014, he lost a majority decision to Russia’s Ruslan Chagaev in Grozny, Russia. As a concession for taking the fight on short notice, Team Oquendo negotiated a rematch clause in the contract, but a shoulder injury prevented Fres from activating it. When the injury healed, he had to go to court to compel Chagaev to fulfill his obligation. But then the Russian retired, muddling the water.

The WBA was legally bound to find Oquendo a title fight and in desperation turned to ancient Shannon Briggs. But the Oquendo-Briggs fight, scheduled for June 3 of last year in Hollywood, Florida, fell out when Briggs’ urine specimen showed an abnormally high level of testosterone.

Fres Oquendo was dogged by bad luck even before these recent developments. His professional record, 37-8, is somewhat misleading as six of his eight defeats were razor-thin including his 2003 setback to Chris Byrd and his 2006 setback to Evander Holyfield. However, Oquendo, something of a cutie, was never a crowd-pleaser and in none of his narrow defeats was there a public clamor for a rematch.

The cancellation of Charr-Oquendo cuts the World Boxing Association out of a sanctioning fee, but one would think that the WBA honchos are actually rather pleased by this turn of events. The fight, more precisely the WBA’s world title imprimatur, would have brought more unwanted publicity to the Panama-based organization.

ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who has the largest platform of any boxing writer, has been a persistent critic of the organization which once recognized 41 “champions” in 17 weight classes. In 2009, Rafael wrote, “(The WBA) has become such an absolute farce that even somebody like me, who follows boxing closely, sometimes has a hard time keeping track of all the nonsensical so-called world title belts the WBA has been doling out at an alarming rate. It almost reminds me of the ladies at Costco who hand out various samples on a busy Saturday afternoon.”

Rafael took note when WBA president Gilberto Mendoza promised to cull the herd by eliminating “regular” titles, and then became more caustic when Mendoza didn’t follow through. Recently, in one short, punchy diatribe, Rafael blistered the WBA as wretched, vile, and rancid.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s hard not to feel sorry for Fres Oquendo who keeps getting stranded at the altar. No, he’s not fun to watch and a man of his age shouldn’t be taking any more punches, but he has always been an honest workman and by all accounts he’s a very decent man. Born in Puerto Rico but raised in Chicago, Oquendo pitched right in when the island nation of his birth was ravaged by Hurricane Maria. He was personally responsible for relocating Puerto Rican boxing legend Wilfred Benitez and Benitez’s sister, his caregiver, to Chicago where their lives wouldn’t be as hard.

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Bob Arum Hails Terence Crawford (not Lomachenko) as Boxing’s Next Superstar

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Arum says Terence

Top Rank’s Bob Arum says Terence Crawford will become this generation’s Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao–elite boxers who became worldwide celebrity sensations. Arum, who promoted both Mayweather and Pacquiao on the way to their historic crossover statuses expects big things from the undefeated Crawford over the next few years.

“He’s the best fighter in the United States, and he’s so charismatic,” said Arum. “He comes from middle America, and In the next year or so, he will be huge.”

Arum’s assertion is noteworthy for two reasons. First, Arum is also the promoter for Vasyl Lomachenko. Lomachenko is ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. More importantly, Lomachenko seems to have a groundswell of support behind him both in the media and among fight fans.

Lomachenko has also been heavily featured through Top Rank’s television partnership with ESPN. While Crawford has achieved more in his career than Lomachenko (at least in my eyes) and, as noted by Arum, is a homegrown American talent, Lomachenko seems to be considered the more marketable commodity to that network judging by the amount of promotional materials ESPN has pumped out about the fighter over the last year.

The other reason Arum’s claim about Crawford is interesting is the performance of Canelo Alvarez over the weekend in his majority decision rematch win over Gennady Golovkin. Besides Mayweather and Pacquiao, Alvarez is the clear PPV leader among all of boxing’s current commodities, and his status as boxing’s new money fighter should only grow stronger after the best win of his career.

Still, Crawford is one of the few very elite fighters in all of boxing. He’s ranked No. 2 pound-for-pound by The Ring, the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.

While Lomachenko and Alvarez are also candidates to become boxing’s next big thing, there’s no doubt Crawford is also one of the few boxers in the sport right now with the right things in place to become the next Mayweather or Pacquiao.

Omaha’s Crawford is in the midst of an historic run. When he stopped Jeff Horn in round 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in June, Crawford captured a world title in his third different weight class, welterweight. This after Crawford had already captured two lineal boxing championships, as well as multiple alphabet titles, in both the lightweight and junior welterweight divisions.

By any measure, Crawford is truly one of the best boxers in the sport. Not only does he look the part in the ring on fight night (something more and more writers seem to value most when voting for pound-for-pound lists), but the fighter has already accomplished so much in his career that it seems Arum is doing more than the fiduciary duty of promoting his fighter when he ascribes to Crawford such lofty praise.

Crawford, still just 30 years old, is already halfway to matching Mayweather and Pacquiao’s shared record of most lineal championships. Over the course of his career, Mayweather captured lineal championships at junior lightweight, lightweight, welterweight, and junior middleweight. Pacquiao won his as a flyweight, featherweight, junior lightweight, and junior welterweight.

In order for Crawford to grab lineal championship No. 3, most believe he’ll have to go through welterweight phenom Errol Spence. While promotional entanglements might keep this superfight on the shelf for a while, Arum said he had no problem pitting Crawford against Spence in what would be one of the best matchups in recent memory.

“Absolutely,” said Arum when asked about working with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, who represents Spence, to make the fight. Could any response from him be more exciting? Crawford vs. Spence might be the next superfight in boxing. Both fighters are among the very elite, and unlike what ultimately happened with Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, who fought each other well past their peak years, both would be in the prime of their careers.

Winning that fight would certainly go a long way to making Arum’s vision of Crawford’s future come true. And who knows? Maybe Crawford really is the next Mayweather or Pacquiao. Heck, for all we know, he could even be on his way to doing something more.

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