AROMAS, Calif. — Gosh, it seems like only a few weeks ago that a bloodied but not quite bowed Robert Guerrero lost his valiant battle against Keith Thurman in their welterweight showdown that kicked off the current wave of network television boxing.
And yet Guerrero (32-3-1) is returning to the ring next weekend – June 6 – although admittedly not against an opponent the caliber of Thurman. Seeing Guerrero face-to-face Thursday at his press function hyping his battle on NBC with Aron Martinez (19-3-1) in Carson, Calif., one couldn’t help inspecting Guerrero’s growing build-up of scars and puffiness to discern how well he had healed from the wounds Thurman inflicted.
He looked fresh, and that’s the point, said “The Ghost” from Gilroy.
“It’s about being active,” said Guerrero, who has braved several periods of inactivity, brought on, respectively, by a promotional dispute, his wife’s successful fight against leukemia, and a severe shoulder separation. “That’s what’s been hurting me – half-year layoffs, stuff like that.”
Against Thurman, “it took me too long to get started,” Guerrero said. He feels it took him too long to fully engage Thurman in what was only his second fight in 23 months. “Coming out of the gate: Not being in the ring a long time, you start fading away from that.
“Being out of the ring, you develop bad habits,” Guerrero said, acknowledging that “the guy who used to be a stick-and-move featherweight is exchanging punches with welterweights” and admitting that “not sticking around to take punches back” might be more prudent.
He’s gotten caught up in the moment more than necessary as a welterweight, notably in his 2012 debut as a 147-pounder against Selcuk Aydin and last year against Japanese underdog Yoshihiro Kamegai.
He’s blaming some of that tendency on ring rust.
“You can hit off the pitching machine all day, but as soon as you start facing curveballs, a guy going in and out. . . . Everything changes when you’re in that fight ring.
“The more you fight, the better you perform, and I can feel the improvement in my whole fighting style. If possible, I want to fight two more times before the year ends, but first I must get past Martinez.”
He’s confident Al Haymon can help him get all the fights he needs. “With Al Haymon, now the fights can be made – quickly,” Guerrero said, echoing other fighters’ praise of the reclusive “adviser” who is becoming the dominant financial figure in the sport.
Frequent fights are part of Haymon’s modus operandi, although it’s safe to say that’s not a blueprint for a $3 million payday like the one Guerrero earned by losing to Floyd Mayweather in 2013,.
Although Guerrero seems permanently removed from the still-frequent boxing programs on premium cable giants HBO and Showtime, he’s an everyman in sentiment.
“It’s great for the fans “to be able to watch for free,” he said. “You’ve got $100 megafights (meaning Mayweather’s unscintillating May 2 victory over Manny Pacquiao), and you get better fights on free TV.”
Read more about Robert Guerrero in Colin Seymour’s free ebook “The Kingpin Trio: How Three Bay Area Champions Became the Class of Boxing. Here’s the link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/477166