Nicknamed “Mini-Tyson” for his hard-hitting offensive-minded style, Selcuk Aydin claims that he will remain unbeaten when he faces Robert Guerrero in their Showtime-televised July 28 clash for the WBC’s interim 147-pound belt at the HP Pavilion, San Jose, Calif., near Guerrero’s hometown of Gilroy.
A Turkish-born fighter who resides in Hamburg, Germany, Aydin (23-0, 17 knockouts) will try to end the talented southpaw’s 13-fight winning streak that includes nine knockouts. Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KOs), who hasn’t fought since defeating Michael Katsidis at lightweight last April, is a winner of five major belts over three divisions. He is making his welterweight debut.
“This is the big chance and the big fight I have been waiting and working for. I will not let this opportunity pass,” said Aydin, who is 28 and has scored five knockouts during his past eight bouts.
“I give my respect to Robert Guerrero for fighting me when so many other so-called champions have ducked me for years. Unfortunately, Guerrero will find out the hard way why nobody wants to fight me. I will walk right through ‘The Ghost’ and take the belt back home to Turkey.”
Aydin and his team left began training on May 1 in Stuttgart, Germany, before moving to San Jose, Calif., on July 1.
“Moving training camp from Germany to the United States had different benefits for us. Of course, we wanted to get adjusted to the time difference and the weather conditions over here,” said Conny Mittermeier, Aydin’s trainer.
“But it’s also easier to find high-quality sparring partners in the United States than it is in Europe. Especially when you’re looking for slick, fast welterweight southpaws.”
Aydin already has completed more than 50 rounds of sparring and will end up having done about 100 rounds before wrapping up training camp.
Some of Aydin’s sparring partners at the San Jose Boxing and Fitness Centter had been in with Miguel Cotto and Tim Bradley prior to their respective bouts with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
“We’ve had ideal conditions for our training. The sparring partners are doing a great job. We have some guys over here who worked with Miguel Cotto for his fight against Floyd Mayweather and with Timothy Bradley for when he prepared for Manny Pacquiao,” said Mittermeier.
“It doesn’t get much better than this. Selcuk is in great shape. Sometimes I have to stop him a little to make sure that he doesn’t tear somebody’s head off. I have never seen him as focused and as fired up for a fight.”
“I had no problems adjusting to everything here in California. I have trained and fought in the United States before and it feels natural to be here. Boxing is an international sport and the United States is the place to be for big fights and big money,” said Aydin.
“Of course, Turkey is my home country and Trabzon is my hometown, which I am very proud of, but I am also happy and proud to be here. Not many fighters get the chance to prove themselves on the big stage and I thank everybody for giving me this opportunity.”
By fight time, Aydin and his handlers believe their fighter will have no problems handling what they anticipate will be a crowd partisan to Guerrero.
“When we have to go to the lion’s den, we go all the way. By coming to San Jose so early, Selcuk wanted to make a statement and show everybody that he is not afraid of Guerrero’s hometown advantage,” said Ahmet Oner, Aydin’s promoter.
“Of course, we know that it is always tough to win in your opponent’s backyard, but Selcuk is a true warrior. It doesn’t matter where he’s fighting, he is always ready for war.”
Aydin aims to go for the knockout against Guerrero.
“I am not planning to leave the decision to the judges. I didn’t come to California to outbox or outscore Guerrero. I am on a very simple mission: Seek and destroy. Every other day I read somewhere that Guerrero is dreaming of fights against Mayweather and Pacquiao,” said Aydin.
“He can dream whatever he wants when I put him to sleep. ‘The Ghost has no idea what’s coming to him. He may have been featherweight and junior lightweight champion, but now he’s playing with the big boys. The first time I hit him, he will regret moving up in weight and accepting to fight me.”
Photos by Chris Cozzonne, Fightwireimage.com
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org