Fernando Guerrero’s fight against Jason Naugler on Friday in Cancun, Mexico, wasn’t on any internet boxing schedules at the start of this week.
The untelevised scheduled eight-round bout is definitely under the radar, even among hardcore fans, but that doesn’t bother the 25-year-old middleweight prospect.
Guerrero (21-1, 17 knockouts), who scored a fifth-round TKO of Robert Kliewer in his last bout on Dec. 10, just wants to be back into the ring. The Salisbury, Md.-based Dominican is only one fight removed from the first loss of his career – a fourth-round TKO to Grady Brewer in an ESPN2-televised junior middleweight bout last June – and he wants to extend his win streak as quickly as possible.
Guerrero isn’t bothered that in Naugler (18-15-1, 11 KOs), a rugged Canadian veteran who has suffered eight straight losses, he’s facing his second consecutive journeyman. His goal for the time being is to be active.
“I want to get back into the ring as soon as possible after each fight,” said Guerrero, who was scheduled to appear on the undercard of the Victor Ortiz-Andre Berto rematch before the Feb. 11 card was cancelled. “I wouldn’t mind getting to 30 bouts this year.”
When asked when he wants to step up his level of competition, the former U.S. amateur standout immediately replied: “Anytime.” Guerrero says he would fight for a major title in his next fight if such an opportunity was offered to him.
“Let’s go now,” he said. “I want to show the world that I’m better than these guys who are ranked ahead of me, and even those guys who have the belts. Let’s fight and find out who’s better. I’m not afraid to lose.”
That happened against Brewer, a 40-year-old fringe contender that Guerrero, a career middleweight who had fought as heavy as 168½ pounds, believed was a safe enough to fight at junior middleweight. Guerrero, who weighed in a career-light 152½ pounds for the Friday Night Fights main event, and was quickly shown the error of his ways.
“I learned an important lesson with that fight,” said Guerrero, who is now trained by Ricky Funez at the Ten Goose Boxing gym in Van Nuys, Calif., where he was helping Berto prepare for Ortiz. “You can’t experiment with boxing. I was 22-0 fighting at middleweight. Why did I need to try to go down to 154 pounds? I fought at 165 pounds as an amateur. That was crazy, but now I know to go with what works.
“I don’t regret the loss. Losing comes with the territory.”
And if the “1” in his loss column causes future opponents to underestimate him, Guerrero says that will be their mistake.
“The titleholders who are undefeated, Dmitry Pirog and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., even the real champ Sergio Martinez, I don’t view them as better than me,” he said. “I don’t think they train as hard as me. They aren’t as hungry as I am.
“I want more than their titles. I want to go down as the best boxer ever from the Dominican Republic before I’m done with boxing.”
Photo / Craig Bennett