From his training camp at an elevation of 6,225 feet in South Lake Tahoe, along the border between California and Nevada, west of Carson City, Robert Guerrero is exuding confidence heading into his Showtime-televised July 28 clash with unbeaten Selcuk Aydin for the WBC’s interim belt.
In what will be Guerrero’s welterweight debut, the 29-year-old southpaw will be after his 14th-straight victory and his 10th knockout during that run in a bout that will transpire before Guerrero’s partisan fans at the HP Pavilion, San Jose, Calif., near his hometown of Gilroy.
“It’s been a grueling training camp since I arrived four weeks ago. There’s no cable TV, no busy streets, nothing, just a whole lot of forest and mountains,” said Guerrero, a winner of five belts over three divisions who takes a mark of 29-1-1 with 18 knockouts against the Turkish-born Aydin (23-0, 17 KOs) of Hamburg, Germany.
“I get up at 5:00 a.m. every morning to start my road work. I follow that by a hard workout in the middle of the day, then end with push-ups and sit-ups at night. I’m getting the proper sparring and amount of rounds to get me ready for Aydin, who I know is coming to rip my head off. I’m expecting a rough, rugged fight and the fans will not want to miss it, I can guarantee that.”
A former two-time featherweight titleholder who also held a major belt at 130 pounds and two interim crowns at lightweight, Guerrero is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Michael Katsidis for the WBO and WBA’s interim lightweight belts in April of last year.
In September, Guerrero had arthroscopic surgery which repaired a torn tendon in the rotator cuff of his shoulder. The injury forced him to cancel an August bout with junior welterweight Marcos Maidana.
Against Aydin, Guerrero will be fighting in his sixth weight class, having started out as a junior featherweight. But Guerrero’s father and trainer, Ruben Guerrero, says his son is up to the task.
“Robert is looking sharp and I’m confident we will win this fight. We’ve been studying Aydin and we have the perfect game plans for him,” said Ruben Guerrero. “I know my son is hungry to take care of his family and believe me; he’s going to leave it all in the ring on fight night. This training camp has been very productive.”
Guerrero is focusing on defeating Aydin, which would make him the mandatory challenger to face WBC titleholder Floyd Mayweather Jr. It would also place Guerrero in an elite class of multi-belt, multi-division titlewinners such as Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather, Shane Mosley and Oscar De La Hoya.
“I can see Robert’s body getting stronger and stronger as each day goes by. I think people will be surprised at how Robert’s body will look on fight night,” said Bob Santos, Guerrero’s manager and nutritionist.
“We took this risky fight because we believe Robert is on the level of Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. A win against Aydin puts us in a wonderful position to challenge the best fighters in boxing.”
Guerrero last suffered defeat by a split-decision to Gamaliel Diaz in December 2005, but won their rematch with a sixth-round knockout in June 2006.
In March of 2010, Guerrero chose to pull out of a scheduled clash with Katsidis in order to be with wife Casey during her recovery from a bone marrow transplant.
Guerrero’s devotion to his wife and family were recognized when he received The Bill Crawford Award for Courage In The Face of Adversity from the Boxing Writers Association of America last year.
“I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for getting me to this point in my career. I have tremendous support from my wife Casey, who’s been through a lot. I also want to say that no man in boxing is hungrier than I am,” said Guerrero.
“On July 28, everyone is going to see a man that will be fighting to take care of his family. A wife who has battled cancer and is now healthy, a tremendous team who’s stuck by my side through thick and thin and a hometown crowd that will be cheering for me to bring it home.”
But he will have to do so against a man who is nicknamed “Mini-Tyson,” and who has scored five knockouts in his past five fights.
“Aydin is going to give it absolutely everything he has, just like me, so this fight will most likely be a ‘Fight Of The Year’ type fight,” said Guerrero. “Because neither of us is going to back down. Everyone is in for a treat when we battle at HP Pavilion on Showtime.”
Photos by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org