Call Em Out Fridays: Joan Guzman - Undefeated Despite One Major Loss
19.09.08 - By Vivek Wallace: Every week in my 'Call Em Out Fridays' segment we put one of the sports perennial figures under the microscope and examine the media buzz around them to see if they're fact or fraud. With so many key figures in the sport making headlines, a recent email from an avid fight fan provided more than enough reason to place the bulls eye on one target and one target only. Good thing my 'call-outs' are never designed to be one dimensional because there really isn't too many positive opinions relative to today's subject. Somehow when it's all said and done, like always, we'll take a look at the fan supportive perspective, the critics perspective, and once I drop my spin on the table, we'll let the great debates begin. So with no further ado, we now examine the Dominican Republic's latest question mark......
Article posted on 19.09.2008
Joan Guzman - (Fan Supportive Perspective): From the very beginning, many fight fans saw much to love about Joan Guzman. Lacing up the leather since the tender age of 8, Dominican Republican standout Joan Guzman knew exactly what he wanted to do with his future. His amateur background laid the blueprint as he earned victories in 310 out of 320, and his contained yet very exuberant ego was perfect for a fighter that earned himself the nickname "El Pequeno Tyson" (the little Tyson). His claim to fame was his speed and reflexes, but his most natural gift was probably his defensive prowess. Combined, he was able to make most miss and frequently make them pay. One of the most gifted counter punchers in the sport today, Guzman has been able to use his skill set to effectively toy with many fighters, and rarely has he lost more than three rounds or more in a fight. As if his already above average skills weren't enough, he employed the services of one of the sports top trainers, Mr. Floyd Mayweather Sr. The pairing between the two seemed to be a very good fit, as Mayweather was able to build on top of the fundamentals that Guzman already came equipped with. As Guzman worked his way up the rankings he would become a fan favorite who most saw to be destined for the very top in the sport. Thus far, he's been able to coast up the weight classes with no apparent end in sight.....And that's precisely what has most around the sport suddenly questioning this extremely talented figure. After literally walking down all of the competition between the super-bantamweight and a super-featherweight divisions, recent weight issues have led some to ask whether or not this Dominican lightweight prefers to find a place among the sports unconditioned 'heavy' weights. Which is where the critics perspective comes into play......
Joan Guzman - (The Critics Perspective): In recent times, it seems that Guzman has been rather plagued with a number of issues, weight being his most prominent one. Everything from weight issues, to mysterious visa problems, to late camp injuries, Guzman has somehow found a way to raise more and more questions about him as not only a fighter, but also as a man. Fight fans are perhaps the most finicky on the planet, and when a fighter fails to make numerous appearances in a certain time span, the very ground around them tends to get a bit shaky. Inside the ring there are few complaints about Guzman, but decisions and actions outside the ring have left many wondering whether or not this guys 'elevator' goes to the top floor or not? That unfortunate parallel brings more similarities to the nickname 'little Tyson' than anything else he's done in recent times. Critics have already begun to fill up papers and internet space with several hypothetical ranging from severe personal problems, to fear of the opposition, to easily a dozen other possibilities. At the end of the day, without all the facts, they all become endless speculation, however, continuity of the same issues and antics lead most to give far more credibility to those thoughts. With a trail of embarrassment and a major need for damage control, the world of boxing now shines the spotlight on Guzman to see what can possibly be next. Does he press the issue with Nate Campbell and engage in the inevitable?, or does he simply let the questions remain and find a safer opponent to tangle with? As it stands, no one is quite sure right now, but the longer he waits to correct his recent actions, the more he subjects himself to the odds of facing contractual stipulations and other parameters from promoters who have fighters that won't let a chance to take his "O" slip away as easily as Campbell was forced to. All in all, the road ahead for Guzman appears to be a very rocky one...Particularly if he fails to deliver some time soon.
Joan Guzman - (This Writers Perspective): Anyone who follows my work on ESB knows that this is a very sore spot in my mind. What Guzman has done to get out of recent fights was all but forgiven and forgotten until this debacle came along. I think fight fans in general - perhaps even those who admire his talent - have all gotten a bit perturbed with the recent actions of Guzman. Where he goes from here is totally up to him, but if my advice means anything, I hope like hell he's considering a campaign somewhere in the jr. welterweight division or greater. Reports have placed his non-camp weight everywhere from 160 lbs to 185 lbs, and although I don't know which is true, both are far too heavy for a guy trying to campaign at lightweight (135 lbs). In my 'Left-Hook Lounge' segment on Wednesday, I spoke about the fact that Guzman and many other athletes have that 'silk pajamas' mindset where they simply forget the blood, sweat, and tears that it took to get them where they're at. Guzman's actions to me are a classic example because their is no way in hell that a Mayweather trained fighter comes into any fight unprepared. If you can't get your psyche right after spending an entire camp around that walking ego - (which is an attribute to his fighters) - I have no idea what it takes to pump you up. I'm pretty down on Guzman as a fighter, but man to man, I hope he gets himself together and puts his great talent to use. My direct words to Guzman, "if your body won't allow you to reach the lightweight limit, eat your apple pie ala mode once a week and setup a match at 140 with Hatton or Bradley. If the cadence of those Mickey "D" fries or Mom's platano's are too tough to dance around, take it 7 pounds north to the welterweight division and roll the dice with the real big money players. Whatever you decide, keep your fans and your love for the sport first and even in defeat, you can't lose. Fortunately, life comes with an eraser - (which is time) - so use it to help the fight world forget the past, then use your head to write a better future"! Bueno Suerte Amigo!
((Got Questions Or Feedback?): Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-292-7346, follow his work at www.examiner.com, or show him some love at www.myspace.com/anonymouslyinvolved).
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