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Guerrero wins, making it exciting though paying the price

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In the most entertaining victory of his career to date, Robert Guerrero landed about 40 power punches per round Saturday en route to winning a unanimous decision welterweight victory over Yoshihiro Kamegai in Carson, California.

He also sustained a lot of power shots from Kamegai, but Guerrero had greater firepower.

Guerrero (32-2-1) had vowed he would show more finesse than in his recent flat-footed performances, that he would hit and not get hit back. He fought that way in the first round, his best of the fight, but by the second he was standing toe to toe with a slugger who has scored 21 knockouts in 24 victories.

“Right out the gate, I fell into his style,” Guerrero said. “I ain’t a runner. I went in there and banged it out with him. I like to give the fans what they want.

“I wanted to get back on my toes, but I got right back to banging.”

But the fact is, Guerrero looked pretty slick. There was no mistaking his all-around skills, and there was nothing to apologize for. Often, the best way to subdue a slugger is to hit him.

Guerrero sustained a bad gash to his right eye from an uppercut in the sixth round, one of only three Kamegai won, and the swelling was a reminder that this is a tougher way to make a living than the elusive style that Guerrero employed five years and 20 pounds ago.

One might wish, especially for Guerrero’s long-term health and well-being, that he could fight more prudently, but that’s not who he is anymore.

The thing is, in an entertaining fight, no one was entertained more than Guerrero. He’s happier this way, and that not only counts for a lot, but also it will earn him a lot more fans and more money.