Robert Guerrero is finally in a good place.
The former three-time titleholder had a terrific 2010, during which he beat Joel Casamayor, Vicente Escobedo and journeyman Roberto Arrieta to become one of the top lightweights in the world. More important, he no longer worries about his wife. Casey Guerrero, who has battled leukemia, has been cancer free for a year.
For the first time in a long time, Guerrero said at a news conference Tuesday, he enters a fight with a clear mind.
“This is the first time I’ve just been able to focus on boxing,” said Guerrero, who faces Michael Katsidis on the undercard of the Erik Morales-Marcos Maidana pay-per-view card on April 9 in Las Vegas. “I can go to training camp and just do what I have to do. I’m excited. I haven’t done that for a long time.”
Guerrero (28-1-1, 18 knockouts) had one setback recently: He is 135-pound titleholder Juan Manual Marquez’s mandatory challenger but has been unable to lure him into the ring.
Katsidis (27-3, 22 KOs) is a hell of a consolation prize, though. The Australian brawler, coming off a thrilling ninth-round knockout loss against Marquez, is one of the most-popular fighters in the world because of his aggressive style and fighting spirit.
Guerrero has tremendous respect for Katsidis, particularly because he fought so bravely against Marquez shortly after the sudden death of his brother.
Again, Guerrero knows what it’s like to enter the ring with a heavy heart. He said doing battle in that frame of mind is like “fighting on three wheels, not all four.”
“He put Marquez down with one shot,” Guerrero said. “That was a beautiful left hook. It was shocking to see that. And you know what? … If he wasn’t mourning his brother’s death, he would’ve done a lot better. For him to step into the ring at that point and put up a great fight … I take my hat off to him.
“I think in his next fight, he’ll be clear minded. He’s train hard and he’ll be prepared. He’s a big threat.”
Indeed he is. Katsidis has lost his biggest fights — against a younger Casamayor, Juan Diaz and Marquez – but invariably he has taken his foes to hell and back with his relentless aggression.
Guerrero knows this is anything but an easy fight. An opponent of Katsidis who isn’t mentally strong and physically prepared is doomed.
“You gotta be well rounded,” he said. “You gotta be prepared for anything. Your boxing game has to be on, your inside game has to be on, you have to be in incredible shape, your gloves have to be high because he just keeps coming.
“… Marquez said every time you hit Katsidis he just gets tougher, he puts more pressure on you, he gets stronger. That’s the kind of guy he is. I have to be 100 percent.”
And if things go well?
“This would be a big win for me,” he said. “This right here would catapult me to huge megafights. I gotta take this fight seriously.”
Photo / Tom Hogan-Golden Boy Promotions