Jason Litzau vs. Robert Guerrero: Heavy Drama in Lemoore
By Ted Sares: He [Litzau] is so fun to watch --Joe Tessitore
Article posted on 13.01.2008
The Fight: Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, 21-1-1, is the IBF featherweight title holder and plans to retain his title when he fights Jason “The American Boy” Litzau, 23-1, on February 29 at the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore, California. Litzau has a lofty KO percentage of 79% vs. 61% for the Ghost, but that’s where the similarities appear to end.
On July 15, 2005, “The American Boy” captured a split-decision victory over John Nolasco on ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights” broadcast. The bout had “closet classic” written all over it. But on Dec 16, 2006, he was upset in his first spotlight appearance on HBO's Boxing After Dark in a fight against Chicagoan Joe Hernandez. The fight was intended to showcase Litzau's considerable talent and box office draw, but he began showboating and taunting Hernandez daring Joe to hit him. Hernandez did just that and scored a shocking eighth round knockout with a crushing right hand to the head. Litzau had been dropped earlier in the fight, but was well in control until he got iced.
Guerrero was seen as a rising star until meeting Gamaliel Diaz in 2005 An aggressive Diaz surprised and upset Guerrero, winning by split decision and taking the NABF belt, but Guerrero would then win the IBF featherweight title by stopping Eric Aiken in September 2006.
After a No Contest with Orlando Salido in which the title was declared vacant, the Ghost regained his belt with a ninth-round technical knockout against Dane Spend Abazi in Denmark on February 23, 2007. Then in November, he knocked out Martin Honorio in spectacular fashion at the 0:56 of the first round. The bell rang, there was a single heavy left hand from Guerrero and Honorio crashed to floor – fight over. Sadly, Guerrero, an extremely religious person, was unable to attend the final press conference before the match. Casey Guerrero, his wife and the mother of their two children, was diagnosed with leukemia less than two weeks before his fight against Honorio. Reportedly, she is now in remission.
As for Jason Litzau, he turned professional in 2001, retiring as an amateur with a 125-10 record. However, his personal background was a difficult one and included a drug abusing father, an alcoholic mother, and days and nights spent as a mall rat with his siblings just trying to get by. Now his dream is to help his children and his extended family.
The Dream has the background and athletic ability to utilize technical skills to his advantage, but his mentality usually does not allow him to remain that disciplined. Instead of out boxing his opponents, he forces an all-out action brawl relying on his considerable power. Look for showboating, defensive lapses, punches thrown from anywhere and everywhere, and no shortage of action from this fan favorite. It’s just what he does and thus far, it has been a successful formula. While there is a matter of a suspect chin, the workmanlike and durable Ghost may not have the power to test it.
On February 29, an aggressive, heavy-handed brawler will be fighting a driven, well-rounded southpaw who is more focused and strategic. Each will be supercharged emotionally. The thinking here is that Guerrero’s knock out of Honorio may be indicative of more than enough power to stop Litzau. On the other hand, if Litzau can avoid too many defensive lapses (a big “if“), he just may be able to stop the Ghost if he can get him to engage in enough furious exchanges.
On balance, I see Litzau showing his customary disdain for defense allowing Guerrero to win either by mid to late round stoppage or UD. One thing is certain. I will not miss this fight for anything.
Ted Sares is the author of Boxing is my Sanctuary.
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