RingTV.com conducted an exclusive Q&A with fired-up five-belt, three-division titlewinner Robert Guerrero on Wednesday — moments before his first day of rehabilitation following arthroscopic surgery that repaired a torn tendon in the rotator cuff of his left shoulder.
The 28-year-old Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KOs) had been preparing to face Marcos Maidana (30-2, 27 KOs) on Aug. 27 for what the WBA calls its "regular" junior welterweight title, and an opportunity at a sixth belt in a fourth different weight division, when he was forced to pull out after injuring the shoulder during sparring two weeks prior.
A two-time IBF featherweight and one-time IBF junior lightweight beltholder, Guerrero had earned his 13th-straight victory, capping a run that included nine stoppages, when he defeated Michael Katsidis (28-4, 23 KOs) by unanimous decision for the WBO and WBA's interim lightweight belts in April.
Guerrero provided an update following a meeting with San Francisco 49ers team physician Michael Dillingham on Wednesday morning, and was preparing for an afternoon visit with physical therapist Lisa Giannone at The Active Care Center For Sports Injury, Orthopaedic and Arthritic Rehabilitation in San Francisco.
"We went and saw Dr. Dillingham, and he's really happy with the way that the shoulder looks, and the way that it's moving around," said Guerrero's publicist, Mario Serrano.
"The lady that Robert's going to working with has worked with [former NFL receiver] Jerry Rice and a lot of top athletes from around the world."
Although he's been out of action, Guerrero's name was mentioned as part of the plans of Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer regarding a potential welterweight tournament that could include IBF welterweight titleholder Andre Berto (27-0, 22 KOs), southpaw former WBC and IBF junior welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander (22-1, 13 KOs) and hard-hitting Argentine junior welterweights Maidana.and Lucas Mattthysse (28-2, 26 KOs).
Guerrero also offered his thoughts on the controversial ending to Saturday night's fourth-round knockout by Floyd Mayweather Jr. (42-0, 26 KOs) that dethroned Victor Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs) as WBC welterweight beltholder, as well as his desire to face Mayweather, WBA and IBF junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan (26-1, 18 KOs) or WBO welterweight king Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs).
RingTV.com: What has transpired since your operation?
Robert Guerrero: I'm out of the sling now. I was in it for about two weeks. I've got full range of motion in my left arm. So today's the first day of therapy. I just saw Dr. Dillingham, and he said that it's looking great.
Everything's healing up great. Now, it's time to get rocking and rolling on the physical therapy. Dillingham checked on how much range of motion I have, and he's pleased.
But he said that he didn't want to push it or test my strength or anything. He said that he wanted the physical therapist, Lisa, start going to work on it. She's very good at what she does.
So he's going to leave it to her. So today's my first day of physical therapy and I'm excited, because the shoulder's feeling good. I have range of motion in it. It's not stiff or tight or anything.
Now it's just the process of strengthening it back up. I go back to Dr. Dillingham in two weeks. So everything is going great so far, and I just can't wait to get back into the ring and to get back on the ball.
RingTV.com: Have you been able to do any sort of abbreviated or modified training?
RG: No, right now, just sit-ups and working on my left hand — squeezing a ball and working my forearms. Keeping the forearm tight.
Just working with my jab a little bit here and there. But I was in the sling, so I couldn't really push it too much or do too much. I've got to baby it.
RingTV.com: What are your thoughts on the potential of participating in a welterweight, 147 pound tournament — meaning that you would go straight from being a 135-pound lightweight into that class?
RG: Right now I'm walking around at 150 pounds. Solid. You know me, when I'm back, I'm ready to fight anybody in the world.
You know, I'm looking for the best fights. You know I should be back at the beginning of the year.
RingTV.com: No problem with that?
RG: Not at all. And you know what? I know Floyd will be looking for another fight at the beginning of the year, because he didn't have to put in that much work on Saturday. Hey, let's make that fight.
You get guys like Amir Khan who throw out names but they don't sign the contracts. But you've got guys like Floyd who fight the best. You know what? Let's do it?
I'm ready for anything in the world when I'm back from physical therapy and everything. I'm just excited. It's time to make it happen. I've been a champion for a number of years and a five-time world champ.
I've been denied fights and it's been tough to get some of the marquee names into the rign with me. It's time. It's now or never so let's do it. I believe in my abilities and I'm ready to fight the best in the world.
Just listening to Floyd in the pre-fight press conference, he said, 'I believe in my abilities. I believe that I can beat the best fighters in the world.' That's the same way that I think.
I think that I can beat anybody in the world as long as I do my job and train as hard as I train and do everything the way that I'm supposed to.
Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, those are young fighters' dream fights, and I personally think that it's their obligation to give the best of the best a chance. I'm just more hungry to get back out there.
RingTV.com: Thoughts on Amir Khan's rising to welterweight?
RG: Well, you've got guys like Amir Khan who throw your name out, but it's like his name, 'Amir Khan-artist.' He's a con artist.
You can pull the wool over the eyes of the general public. But when you get boxing guys like me and people in boxing, it's different.
RingTV.com: What are your thoughts on the ending of Mayweather-Ortiz?
RG: Keep your hands up at all times. I think victor Ortiz got a little dirty and threw his head in there. If you're going to get dirty, then be prepared for somebody to be on edge.
You've got to be on edge all of the time, especially with somebody like Floyd Mayweather, who is a smart fighter. It's okay to touch gloves and say, 'Okay, I butted you, whatever.' But you've got to be raw and ready.
To be hugging every second that you get close to somebody and you want to apologize? How many times do you apologize? Mayeather just got butted, and Victor's coming in to hug him.
Floyd was probably even more on edge, like, 'What if he tries to headbutt me again?' You've got to be ready to go. You've got to have a cut-throat mentality no matter what. I think that it was a mistake on Victor Ortiz's part.
You've just got to be ready at all times, and that's the No. 1 rule — to protect yourself at all times. [Referee] Joe Cortez clearly said, 'Let's go.' As soon as they take a point, the clock stops.
I don't blame Floyd Mayweather because he just got headbutted. I mean, brutally, as if Victor Ortiz was trying to score a soccer goal with his head, only he was using Floyd's head as the ball.
That's what it looked like to me. Like it was a free kick and everybody was jumping up with their heads and trying to score a goal.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com