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Guerrero's effort to elude Golden Boy seems deluded

About 50 people signed up for the International Bone-Marrow Registry last Saturday in Hollister, Calif., where Robert Guerrero, whose wife is a bone-marrow transplant recipient, attracted a crowd.
About 50 people signed up for the International Bone-Marrow Registry last Saturday in Hollister, Calif., where Robert Guerrero, whose wife is a bone-marrow transplant recipient, attracted a crowd.

Robert Guerrero made about $3 million, according to some reports, for his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr., last May. That was the first foray into a seven-figures purse for Guerrero, who is not that far-removed from five-figures purses and definitely looked like a six-figures guy against Mayweather.

But Guerrero is holding out for seven figures, and the one guy who could get him that much, Manny Pacquiao, apparently would like to see it happen. But it won’t happen with Guerrero a client of Golden Boy Promotions and Pacquiao still the No. 1 commodity for Top Rank.

That’s why Guerrero, 30, took steps last week to divorce himself from Golden Boy. Apparently there’s reason to believe Pacquiao-Guerrero would come off if Top Rank’s Bob Arum were free to run the show, although Arum has already said Guerrero won’t be the opponent for the April fight Arum is trying to stage for Pacquiao.

I tried to find Guerrero in Gilroy on Tuesday but wasn’t successful.

Anyway, it doesn’t appear that Guerrero has a legitimate beef against Golden Boy. Since Guerrero and Golden Boy hooked up, he has been matched up with -- and has defeated -- then-IBF junior lightweight champion Malcolm Klassen; lightweight contenders such as Michael Katsidis, Vicente Escobedo and former champion Joel Casamayor; and welterweight champions Selcuk Aydin and Andre Berto. Golden Boy also landed him a fight with Marcos Maidana in San Jose, from which Guerrero had to withdraw with an injury, and Maidana’s recent victory over Adrien Broner underscores what a lost opportunity that was for Guerrero.

Before Guerrero and Golden Boy hooked up in 2008, he was a client of Goossen-Tutor and his departure was acrimonious. (It also set a dubious precedent for the Bay Area’s other two superstars, as Nonito Donaire shifted from Gary Shaw to Top Rank in 2008 and tried to jump from Top Rank to Golden Boy in 2011, and Andre Ward is currently trying to move away from Goossen and, presumably, join Top Rank.)

It’s certainly not a question of loyalty. It’s everyone for himself in boxing. Boxing is a cutthroat business.

But where would this defection leave Guerrero if he were to lose to Pacquiao? Does he really expect to succeed as an independent, as some reports have speculated?

From a practical standpoint, Guerrero is trying to throw away bread looking for cake. Guerrero may see himself as slightly more elite than Golden Boy perceives him to be. He seems to rank behind Maidana and Victor Ortiz -- two fighters to whom he is professionally superior but promotionally inferior -- and several other fighters he probably could defeat. That may include WBA interim champion Keith Thurman, whom Guerrero turned down last year, and new IBF champion Shawn Porter.

But whether or not Guerrero is better than Golden Boy’s other welterweights on paper, he needs to beat more of them in the flesh. His victories over Aydin and Berto have been diminished greatly by their performances since then, and his one-sided loss to Mayweather isn’t a plus, either.

Worse, the public’s perception of Guerrero’s is far less glowing than mine, not to mention his. Off his three most recent fights, Guerrero is seen as a brawler, even a guy who “doesn’t move well,” and yet he doesn’t knock people out. The fact that he does move well and has rather recently added the penchant for brawling to what used to be a defensive-minded approach in the lighter weight classes should be a plus to his image, but it isn’t working that way.

Guerrero is one of the best welterweights out there, but he’s not a million-dollar man, fight after fight. If he’s planning to retire soon and is looking for one last big payday, the Pacquiao fight would be a great way to go. But even a victory over Pacquiao is no guarantee of superstardom anymore. If Guerrero plans to fight four or five more years, acting deluded is not prudent.


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