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Robert Guerrero Needs To Give Fans A Reason To Watch Him

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002 Robert Guerrero and Selcuk AydinWill this fight against Aydin be the fight to give Robert Guerrero (left) his identity as a fighter and as an entertainer?

One of the great ironies of the fight game is that, despite being perhaps the most corrupt sport in the history of man, its very nature eventually reveals the truth about every fighter that steps between the ropes.  The slightest deficiencies in skill or will become magnified in the crucible of battle when one combatant faces off against another.  Sooner or later, frauds are exposed and facades are destroyed, leaving only the truly exceptional to stand out from the rest.  Simply put, the truth gets told in the ring eventually.

For Robert Guerrero, though, this moment of revelation has proven elusive.  A pro since 2001, Guerrero was heralded early in his career as a fighter to watch, someone who could be truly special.  It didn’t take long to see why, as Guerrero’s maturity and technical acumen set him apart from many of his fellow prospects that were also on the rise.  Though he rolled through the typical diet of soft touches that is standard fare for prospects, something exceptional seemed to reside within Robert Guerrero.

Then a funny thing happened:  Guerrero stagnated.  Like the child whiz who aced every question in primary and secondary school only to find classes at the university to be more than he bargained for, Guerrero’s early brilliance stunted when he stepped up in competition.  An unexpected loss to the unheralded Gamaliel Diaz quieted those who were so quick to praise Guerrero.  Though Guerrero went on to stop Diaz in a rematch and garner a featherweight title belt, a subsequent loss to Orlando Salido (which was overturned to a no-decision following a positive steroid test by Salido) halted the momentum that Team Guerrero was trying to rebuild.  There was a haunting sense of disappointment, that somehow Guerrero was falling short of the lofty expectations set before him.

To compound problems, Guerrero’s personal life was delivering even more pressing dilemmas.  His wife, Casey, was in the midst of a well-documented battle with leukemia.  Using his uncertain future as motivation, Robert Guerrero made another run at reclaiming the success and acclaim that seemed all but guaranteed early on.  Stoppage wins over Spend Abazi, Martin Honorio, and Jason Litzau signaled a resurgence in Guerrero’s career.  It looked like the adversity in Guerrero’s life had lit a fire that had been absent until that time.  Finally, the pieces appeared to be falling into place.

Then it happened again.  Just as Guerrero was building up a head of steam, he reached another impasse.  First came an apparent quit job against Daud Yordan, when Guerrero bowed out due to a cut from an accidental headbutt, opting to take a no-contest rather than continue to tangle with the tougher-than-expected Yordan.  Follow that up with wins over a handful of pedestrian opponents, an uninspired decision over the ancient Joel Casamayor, and any buzz that Guerrero had re-generated was effectively gone.

Seemingly aware that his career as a relevant name was slipping through his fingers, Guerrero ended his slump with two exciting wins over Vincente Escobedo and Michael Katsidis, leading up to a major fight as a headliner against Marcos Maidana.  If he could beat Maidana, Guerrero would have made himself a primetime player in the deep talent pool from 140 to 147 pounds.  Perhaps this would be Guerrero’s crucible, his moment of truth.  And with his wife’s cancer in remission, Guerrero was fighting for the first time in a long time with a clear head.  It seemed like things were finally aligning for Robert Guerrero.

But, once again, things didn’t work out that way, thanks to a rotator cuff injury that cancelled the fight.  Call it unfortunate coincidence, call it fate, or call it a curse, Guerrero again missed his defining moment. 

And now, once again, Robert Guerrero is left to figure out how he could once again make himself a relevant figure in the sport.  With a career that’s had more ups and downs than a hotel elevator, Guerrero is at yet another career crossroads as he goes into Saturday night’s fight against tough, undefeated, and largely unknown Selcuk Aydin.

Will Guerrero’s moment of revelation come against Aydin?  It’s hard to say.  If he loses, a cease and desist order will likely be enacted against any further talk of Guerrero being special.  If he wins, Aydin’s anonymity will probably count against Guerrero.  Nothing short of an electrifying performance will really get him a lot of credit against Aydin, nor will anything less really tell us anything we don’t already know.

Well, what do we know?  We know that Guerrero has occasionally exhibited A-level skills, albeit against B-level opponents, during portions of his career.  Still, there’s something indicting about that fact.  When his career-best wins have come against the likes of Litzau, Escobedo, and Katsidis, and the biggest names on his resume are a faded Casamayor (who he should have stopped) and Salido (who he didn’t beat), Guerrero’s strength of schedule leaves more than a bit to be desired. 

We also know that, so far, Guerrero is missing the it-factor, the must-see quality that defines a superstar in the sport.  Robert Guerrero appears to be a fighter who has not yet found his identity.  Floyd Mayweather is the sport’s great villain.  Manny Pacquiao is boxing’s humble warrior.  Sergio Martinez’ whirling-dervish explosiveness is breathtaking to witness.  Watching Nonito Donaire is like anticipating a Fourth of July fireworks display.  All of these fighters have had their defining moments, and have found a sense of identity as a result.

Guerrero has no such identity, mainly because he’s had no defining moment.  He’s got no selling point, and he’d better find one fast before time runs out on the 29-year old Californian.  Fair or unfair, being a solid technician and a decent guy never generated attention.  In fact, it’s the surest way to anonymity.

On Saturday night, Robert Guerrero needs to give fans a reason to watch him, a reason to remember him, and a reason to believe that he matters in the grand scheme of things.  He seems to be trying to make that type of statement by jumping up two weight divisions and taking a risk against a tough, undefeated fighter.  But there needs to be more.  Guerrero’s ambition needs to reveal itself when the bell rings, and his fists need to make kind of statement they never have before.

Then maybe, just maybe, we’ll get the answers we’ve been looking for.

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Saul Sanchez Wins in Ontario, CA

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ONTARIO, CA- Saul Sanchez remained undefeated after a tumultuous battle against Mexico’s Fernando Saavedra to win by majority decision to the dismay of a small crowd on Friday.

In a battle of bantamweights at the Doubletree Hotel, it was Pacoima’s Sanchez (11-0, 6 KOs) who started quicker but San Luis Potosi’s Saavedra (7-6, 3 KOs) closed the gap in the latter half of the fight in front of a boisterous crowd of maybe 400 fans.

Sanchez nearly floored Saavedra in the first 20 seconds of the fight when a three-punch combination had the Mexican fighter wobbled. It spurred Sanchez to go on the attack, ultimately leading to a toe-to-toe battle.

The quicker hands and feet of Sanchez proved troubling for Saavedra, who needed the Southern Californian to stand still. That seldom happened in the first four rounds.

But though neither boxer seemed to tire, Sanchez began getting trapped against the ropes and allowing Saavedra to connect with powerful blows. The last three rounds were especially close and Sanchez was able to slip more blows than Saavedra. But each never ready to quit.

After eight bantamweight rounds, two judges scored it 77-75 for Sanchez and one had it 76-76 a draw. Sanchez was deemed the winner by majority decision.

Many fans were angry by the decision.

Other bouts

Corona’s Louie Lopez (5-0, 3 KOs) remained undefeated with a solid performance over Bakersfield’s Ray Cervera (0-2), a resilient super welterweight. Lopez was able to use his quick left hooks to score in every round but Cervera had a good chin and was able to counter with rights. No knockdowns were scored in the four round fight and all three judges scored the fight 40-36.

Oscar Torrez (3-0, 1 KO) knocked down Richard Soto (0-1) in the last round to assure a victory by unanimous decision in an entertaining heavyweight fight. Torrez fights out of Rialto, CA and is trained by Henry Ramirez who also trains Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola. The two heavyweights seemed evenly matched for the first two rounds, with Soto having his best round in the second when he continually landed one-two combinations with good effect. But Torrez resumed control of the fight in the third by using the jab, then mixing up his attack. In the fourth round, Torrez unleashed a 10-punch barrage that dropped Soto in the corner. The fighter from Northern California got up and survived the round but was unable to turn things around. Two judges scored it 39-36 and another had it 40-35, all for Torrez.

Anthony Franco (3-1-1) took time to warm up before scoring a knockdown and defeating Kansas fighter Antonio L. Hernandez (1-4) by decision after four rounds in a super welterweight contest. In the third round, Franco slipped under a left by Hernandez who tripped and when he turned was met by a perfect left that knocked down the Kansas boxer. Though he wasn’t hurt, it changed the complexion of a close fight in favor of Franco who lives in Redlands, CA. All three judges scored it for Franco 38-35, 39-36, 38-37.

Tijuana’s Rafael Rivera (26-2-2, 17 KOs) ripped into Guanajuato’s Jose Ramos (11-15-1, 8 KOs) with a savage attack to win by knockout in the first round. A barrage of blows sent Ramos backward dangling over the ropes. Referee Ray Corona ruled it a knockdown and let the fight continue. Rivera resumed the attack and blistered the taller Ramos with blinding punches forcing the fight to be stopped at 1:51 of the first round. It was Rivera’s first fight since losing to Joet Gonzalez by split decision last July in Los Angeles.

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Pacquiao-Broner: A Perfect Fight for Pacquiao and the Good Guy Wins

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Various sites are reporting that eight division titlist Manny Pacquiao 60-7-2 (39) will meet four division title winner Adrien Broner 33-3-1 (24) in December or January with Manny’s WBA regular welterweight title on the line. The fight hasn’t been confirmed yet but here’s how you know it’ll happen, and that is the fight makes dollars and sense for the super-star involved and that’s Manny Pacquiao.

Pacquiao signed with adviser/promoter Al Haymon – with the hope of getting a rematch with Floyd Mayweather in 2019. Haymon is tied to Mayweather and Broner and most of the top welterweights in the sport – including world champions Errol Spence, Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter. Manny lost a unanimous decision to Mayweather in May of 2015 and has longed for a rematch ever since. And ironically, neither Mayweather nor Pacquiao want any parts of taking on a young gun boxer in his prime. Both Terence Crawford, the WBO title holder, and Errol Spence, the IBF titlist, would take apart and embarrass both of them and there’s a sound case to make that both would’ve been okay tangling with Floyd and Manny even during their prime.

However, Mayweather and Pacquiao are businessman first and fighters second at this time and that’s been the case for quite a while. Manny only has interest in facing Mayweather again because he seeks revenge and Floyd will be 42 and coming off a long period of being inactive by the time they face off. As for Mayweather, he’d rather partake in big money fiascos where he can continue to gouge the public in WWE gimmicks against elite MMA fighters like Conor McGregor, his last opponent, or McGregor’s recent conqueror Khabid Nurmagomedov.

The only real boxer Floyd would entertain fighting is Pacquiao, who at this stage is only a moderate threat to Floyd because Mayweather hasn’t been in the gym much and has been preoccupied with spending his money. That and Pacquiao has a style that Floyd knows he can handle and Manny holds a version of the welterweight title. Granted, Floyd would probably make more money facing Nurmagomedov and Pacquiao is more or less his plan B if Manny gets by Broner. The problem with Mayweather facing Nurmagomedov is that Nurmagodev’s MMA fights don’t attract big interest and just maybe after the McGregor farce, both boxing and MMA fans are fed up with Mayweather’s faux fights and rip-offs – and with him then rubbing it in their faces by bragging how much money he made. So perhaps fans have wised up and will only consider paying to see Floyd fight another boxer – therefore Pacquiao becomes relevant to him.

With it no longer a secret that Mayweather and Pacquiao are only interested in robbing the public, enter Adrien Broner. If there’s another fighter who has been rewarded with big fights after posting underwhelming performances every time he has faced an upper-tier fighter, I don’t know of him. Broner is 3-2-1 in his last six bouts, having faced two championship caliber opponents in Shawn Porter and Mikey Garcia. He lost on the judges’ cards by a collective 16 points versus Porter and 14 against Garcia….in other words he didn’t compete and after the first third of those fights you could’ve turned to something else and you wouldn’t have missed a thing…other than Broner scoring a knockdown over a coasting and careless Porter in the 12th round.

Broner, 29, is a highly skilled boxer, and when he fights he shows flashes of what he could’ve been but never was. Adrien’s problem is he has a low boxing IQ and never cared to expand it. He’s let his weight balloon up and he’s lazy. Actually, Broner doesn’t like to fight and does it because he’s pretty good at it and he likes the notoriety it brings him. Other than that, he’s a contented loser and that makes him perfect for an aging Pacquiao.

When they get in the ring Manny can count on Broner fighting no more than 30 seconds per round and posing and loafing for the remaining 2:30. Adrien will talk up a great fight, saying he knows time is running out and he needs a sensational showing, but once again his words won’t translate into deeds…they never do. Pacquiao, knowing that a potential Mayweather rematch hinges on how he looks, will show up prepared and ready for battle. Manny has been around the block a few times and knows nothing will escalate the interest in another fight with Mayweather like a good showing and perhaps him being the first to stop Broner inside the distance.

Hopefully boxing fans won’t be asked to shell out PPV dollars to watch Pacquiao vs. Broner. But it’s boxing, so nothing should come as a surprise. The only given here is that Broner doesn’t hold any advantage over Pacquiao in size or skill, which isn’t normally the case with Manny. Moreover, he’s facing a fighter who will fold and break the first-time things get tough, and if we know one thing about Pacquiao it’s that he doesn’t make it easy for anybody. And I expect him to feed off of Broner’s weak constitution as the fight progresses. In addition to that this is the perfect good guy versus bad guy match up.

The one thing that might add intrigue to Pacquiao-Broner is that Broner is an easy guy to root against and a ton of fans would love to see nice guy Manny Pacquiao beat him up and humiliate him. And if the fight comes to fruition, count on that being how it unfolds. Yes, Pacquiao fights the perfect guy in order to set up a rematch with Mayweather and Broner will exit the ring a loser once again, only with a little more money to flush down the toilet.

Frank Lotierzo can be reached at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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Irish Jason Quigley Keeps NABF Title at Fantasy Springs

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INDIO, Calif.- Jason Quigley returned to fight in Southern California after nearly two years away and found it tough going in defeating Mexico’s veteran Freddie Hernandez by unanimous decision to retain the NABF middleweight title on Thursday.

Nearly every round was contentious.

Quigley (15-0, 11 KOs) had decided to train in England after spending several years in Southern California. Though he beat Hernandez (34-10, 22 KOs) he must have forgot how to fight inside as that’s where the troubles began at Fantasy Springs Casino. The fight was televised on ESPN.

After spending the first several rounds picking apart 39-year-old Hernandez from the outside, when the Mexican fighter crowded Quigley, the Irish fighter found it difficult to maintain his punch advantage.

Hernandez used his crafty inside work to both score and muffle the punches incoming from Quigley. In the sixth and seventh round the Mexican fighter began mounting considerable damage on his foes’ face. Whether it was weariness or some other factor, Hernandez was scoring big with well-placed left hooks and lead rights.

The crowd began shouting “Fred-die, Fred-die” as the veteran landed flush blows. A look of concern crossed Quigley’s face.

Both fighters looked tired by the ninth round, but the older fighter Hernandez somehow seemed fresher especially while fighting on the inside. Then Quigley began separating himself and scoring with pot shots. That seemed to stop the rushes of Hernandez.

In the final round Quigley’s fans began shouting his name and the Irish fighter though weary managed to fire some combinations while on the move. Both fighters were exhausted when the final bell rang.

One judge scored it 99-91, the other two had it 98-92 all for Quigley.

“I feel great, I knew coming in this was a big test for me,” said Quigley.

Yes it was.

Gomez

New York’s Eddie Gomez (22-3, 12 KOs) was supposed to be joined with his dad for the fight against Japan’s Shoki Sakai (22-9-2, 12 KOs) in Indio, but unexpectedly his father passed away this past weekend. The fight still went on.

Gomez won every round against the game Sakai who was trained by Mexico’s famed Nacho Beristain. The welterweight Gomez from the Bronx used his speed and movement to keep away from Sakai’s big blows. After eight rounds all three judges saw it 80-72 for Gomez.

“It was very hard. He (father) was supposed to come out Saturday night. He took a week off of work. He was supposed to fly out and Saturday was the day he had died,” said Gomez after the fight. “I got to bite down. He was in camp with me. He had his input. He would have been proud today. I love you pops.”

Other bouts

Coachella’s Rommell Caballero (4-0, 3 KOs) floored Hugo Padron twice to win by knockout at 1:25 of the first round in a super featherweight match. Caballero, the 19-year-old brother of former super bantamweight champion Randy Caballero, connected with a counter left hook during an initial exchange that sent Pardo to the floor. He got up tentatively and was met with a crisp right through the gloves for a second knockdown. Referee Tom Taylor took a look at Pardo and waved the fight over.

“My first fight on ESPN I just want to thank everybody. All I’m doing is training. I’m getting ready and staying sharp,” said Caballero who was a former sparring partner for Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. “Training with him (Gonzalez) is one of the greatest experiences I ever had.”

After losing most every round Ray Perez (24-10, 8 KOs) made a stand and connected with an overhand left that staggered Chimpa Gonzalez (19-3, 15 KOs) and then the Filipino fired another overhand left through the guard and down went Gonzalez. Though he beat the count, Gonzalez seemed light headed and when the fight resumed Perez connected with more blows and the fight was called at 2:15 of the seventh round. Perez was deemed the winner by knockout.

It was a rematch of a fight that took place last February at the same venue. In that contest Perez won by unanimous decision.

Gonzalez trained with Joel and Antonio Diaz in Indio for this match. And though the lanky lightweight was far ahead on the score cards, he seldom moved his head and paid for it. Before that, he was ahead by attacking the body of Perez who protected his body for the last three rounds. But once Gonzalez slowed Perez revved up his attack and finished Gonzalez.

In a featherweight clash Edgar Ortega survived a first round knockdown against Recky Dulay (11-4, 8 KOs) and rallied to win by unanimous decision after six rounds by scores 57-56, and 58-55 twice.

Southpaw lightweight Angel Ruiz (11-0, 8 KOs) knocked out Dominican Republic’s Jonathan Fortuna (8-3) at 1:40 of the fourth round. Ruiz, 21, fights out of Tijuana, Mexico.

Super featherweight Elnur Abduraimov (2-0) knocked out Giovannie Gonzalez (5-3) at 2:38 of the second round. Abduraimov, 24, is originally from Uzbekistan.

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