Michael Rosenthal

Guerrero proves he’s all the way back with one-sided victory

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Robert Guerrero accomplished a great deal against Selcuk Aydin on Saturday night.

Guerrero hadn’t fought in more than a year but showed little rust. He has moved up two weight classes in hopes of landing a big-money fight and appeared to belong. A surgically repaired left shoulder appeared to be sound.

And, most critically, he soundly defeated a strong 147-pounder who came to Guerrero’s home region with a perfect record and a lot of power. The judges scored it 117-111, 116-112 and 116-112, all for Guerrero. THE RING had it 117-111.

“I felt great at welterweight,” said Guerrero, a former featherweight and 130-pound titleholder who won the vacant WBC interim welterweight belt on Saturday. “I wanted to fight the best. That’s why I fought Selcuk. Nobody wanted to fight him in this division but I came in and took care of business.

“I believed in my talent and I boxed and used by skills.”

Guerrero (30-1-1, 18 knockouts) had plenty of motivation going into the fight. Of course, that starts with wife Casey, who has battled leukemia but is well today. His son Robert Jr. has asked when daddy was going to bring home the “green” (WBC) belt.

And, finally, Garcia, from nearby Gilroy, was fighting before his home fans, who greeted him with hearty cheers as he entered the ring and chanted his name and U.S.A. a number of times during the fight.

Thus, he fought like a man inspired. From the opening bell, he was too good and too busy for his presumably stronger opponent. Guerrero, who consistently beat Aydin to the punch, threw almost twice as many punches as Aydin, connecting on 254 of 972 compared to 189 of 528 for Aydin.

In other words, Guerrero outclassed a tough but far inferior boxer.

Aydin (23-1, 17 KOs) had his moments, particularly during rough inside exchanges in the second half of the fight, but simply wasn’t active enough to keep pace with Guerrero.

Guerrero, fighting at 147 for the first time, never hurt Aydin but he passed a significant test by proving that he could take a hard punch from a legitimate welterweight even when he tempted fate by standing toe to toe with Aydin and exchanged punches.

“He hit hard,” Guerrero said. “He never hurt me any time. He has power; he’s one of the hardest punchers in the division. He landed some bombs on me. I just shrugged them off and just kept coming.”

Aydin, who fights out of Germany, had no excuses afterward. He lost to a better fighter – and he knew it.

“The judges weren’t the problem tonight. I was the problem. I couldn’t do what I wanted to do,” he said.

Guerrero said he felt some ring rust because he hadn’t fought since he outpointed Michael Katsidis last April. He had been scheduled to fight Marcos Maidana last August but had to pull out when he injured his rotator cuff in training, after which he had surgery.

He said the shoulder felt better than ever on Saturday.

“You could see I could punch at different angles, throwing it overhand,” he said. “I couldn’t do that before. I was told in the past to punch down at times but I couldn’t do it because it hurt. They [physical therapists] did a great job rehabbing it.”

That would seem to mean that Guerrero is all the way back.

He got back into the ring after a long layoff and won. He has found a home at 147 pounds, where he said he plans to stay for now. His shoulder feels good. And he doesn’t have to constantly worry about his wife’s health.

The question then is what’s next?

Guerrero wants Floyd Mayweather Jr., who is expected to be released from jail on Friday. Fighting Mayweather, the WBC 147-pound titleholder, would earn him a seven-figure payday that would dwarf anything in his past.

“I’m the mandatory to Floyd. Hey, let’s make it happen,” he said.

Guerrero also said more generally that he would like to fight the best welterweights out there. After what we saw on Saturday, he would appear to be ready for just about anyone.



Photos / Naoki Fukuda

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