Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, who was until this week on the cusp of a career-defining match with Floyd Mayweather Jr., is still getting dissed in many corners of the boxing world -- and for all the same tired old reasons.
They are important among the reasons Mayweather apparently will fight Devon Alexander on May 4 instead of Gilroy’s Guerrero.
Even after Guerrero’s two knockdowns of Andre Berto, his two knockdowns of Vicente Escobedo, and his outslugging Michael Katsidis and then-welterweight champion Selcuk Aydin, the left-hander’s featherweight image persists. That is no help to a guy’s television Q-ratings.
Apparently he’ll always be seen as a fluid, lanky, clever, defense-minded technician. Apparently some still think he should have fought on with a bad headbutt-induced cut against Daud Yordan in 2009 instead of “living to fight another day,” as Guerrero said then, obviously choosing the wiser course.
Presumably, Guerrero also should have fought Marcos Maidana in 2011 with a separated shoulder, since Maidana wound up fighting Alexander instead last February and Alexander battered him nearly as impressively as Guerrero would have.
Even without Maidana on his victims list, Guerrero has cut through an impressive swath of opponents in the past four years, not the least of them wife Casey’s successful battle with leukemia via a bone-marrow transplant. Never forget that after hearing the diagnosis in 2007, Guerrero knocked out the estimable Martin Honorio in less than a minute.
Image issues nevertheless surely have been robbing Guerrero of leverage in the Mayweather negotiations. The Guerrero-Mayweather or Alexander-Mayweather bout is seen as a lead-up to a Mayweather showdown with junior middleweight star Canelo Alvarez. Guerrero is an important commodity to Golden Boy Promotions, but seems less so to those lacking a vested interest.
Guerrero’s parity with Mayweather in size and power would have caught a lot of boxing people by surprise, perhaps including Mayweather himself, who has barely acknowledged he knows who Guerrero is. Alexander is a fluid left-hander, too, but not as tough as Guerrero, their images not withstanding.
Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 knockouts) is ranked No. 10 in The Ring magazine’s pound-for-pound ranks, but he’s an also-ran in other compilations, notably the one over which Kevin Iole presides on yahoo.com. More than a few bloggers have opined to the effect that “Guerrero doesn’t belong in the same ring with Mayweather.”
Guerrero is used to getting dissed and has been known to get peeved. We’ve been through all this several times and it’s not that hard to get him going in private, as our 2011 green-room discussion prior to our appearance together on Comcast’s Chronicle Live mostly amply illustrated.
But don’t feel too sorry for Guerrero if he does get to square off with Mayweather in the ring. That’s all he’s asking.
Frankly, I’ve been wanting to see Guerrero-Alexander ever since the two moved to welterweight. That would be a really telling fight for Guerrero after Mayweather thumps Alexander.