Exclusive Interview with Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero
16.09.09 - by Geoffrey Ciani - I was recently afforded the opportunity to have a nice chat with the newly crowned IBF super featherweight champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero. Here is what he had to say:
Article posted on 17.09.2009
Q: First off, congratulations on becoming the IBF super featherweight champion of the world. You had a very impressive effort in winning the title against Malcolm Klassen a couple of weeks ago. Can you tell us a little bit about your strategy going into that fight and how you were able to execute your plan inside the ring?
A: I was feeling real good going into the fight. I was in incredible shape, never been in better shape in my life. Training out at Big Bear made a big difference, and the strategy we had going into the fight was to box him.. You know, that’s what we did—we got out there and boxed him, kept him away, kept him at bay with my jab, and made sure I had that distance all the time and not let him get on the inside.
Q: Yeah, and you were very successful in that. The way I scored the fight, it seemed every time that I thought he did win a round—and I think I wound up giving three rounds altogether, mostly in the middle of the fight—it seemed you came right back the next round and were able to keep him at bay, and you never allowed the momentum to get going in his direction. How did it feel inside the ring when he started turning it on and you were able to just shut him down the next round?
A: Yeah, part of the game plan was to not letting him get going—to not let him get that momentum, get his rhythm going. We did that by always being first—turning him, keeping that pressure on, and not letting him get set up, and it really played with him. It really played with his mind and frustrated him where he was getting careless. The rounds that he did do good, I just maintained focus and got right back on to the game plan that we had planned.
Q: Now Robert, you received a lot of criticism because of your bout with (Daud Cino) Yordan, where a clash of heads resulted in a nasty cut on your eye that ultimately led to the bout being declared a no contest. How did you deal with the criticisms being levied on you at that time?
A: Well, you know you’re going to have that criticism no matter what you do. Even if you have good fights, bad fights—there’s always criticism involved. You know, I took a lot of heat on the fight with the cut and I bounced right back with the fight on ESPN and got cut. I fought (Efren) Hinojosa who was a 135-pounder, and I went up to his weight to fight him and got cut, fought through that, and had a great victory. I stopped him in the eighth round, and got ready for the HBO fight with Klassen. It was time to come out and show the world, HBO, and everybody that that first time it was just one of those things that happens. I answered the question wrong and the fight got stopped, and you just got to bounce back. You got to bounce back, and that’s what makes champions—is what you do off of the criticisms and dropping to the bottom is if you can come back and do things. It didn’t bother me at all, all the criticism. It just actually lit a fire under me and got me more motivated to get out to training camps and work even more hard.
Q: Now Robert, when do you plan to get inside the ring next and who would you like to ultimately fight?
A: Well there’s talks about doing a unification bout with Humberto Soto, and hopefully that all goes in place. I would love to fight him and unify the division with Soto. I mean it would be great to be unified champion at 130 pounds. Hopefully I will be back in the ring by the end of the year, and God willing, everything goes good and we can be in the ring with Humberto Soto for a unification bout.
Q: Great. Now in your only official loss as a professional you dropped a split decision against Gamaliel Diaz. You avenged that loss six months later by way of sixth round knockout. What were you able to differently in the rematch that enabled you to reverse the outcome of your first encounter?
A: To learn from the fight before and being able to adjust, using all my tools. With the first Gamaliel Diaz fight, I went into the ring thinking that I’m going to knock him out, and not looking past an opponent is one of those things I also learned. You’re not going to knock everybody out. It was just a matter of being well prepared for the fight. Being well prepared and using all of my tools—using my foot work, my hand speed, and not just trying to get in there and trying to slug big shots and take a guy out.
Q: Now Robert, I was wondering, can you tell us a little bit about what first made you become interested in boxing?
A: Yeah. My grandfather, whose name also is Robert Guerrero who I was named after, was a fighter. All of my uncles were boxers, my older brothers were fighters, and it just runs through the bloodline and the genes. It’s like second nature to my family, boxing—work and boxing. Once I got in the gym, I always wanted to stay in and just take it to another level, and that’s what I did.
Q: Now you had a very impressive amateur career that began at a young age. Can you tell me a little bit about how your learning experiences in the amateurs helped pave the way for your successful career in the professional ranks?
A: Oh yeah, I had a great amateur career. I kind of cut it short by making the choice to turn professional, but I think it’s a great choice with where I’m at right now. The experience I got out of the amateurs, especially being so young, starting at a young age, and fighting all the time and going to national tournaments, and also qualifying at 16 years old for the 2000 Olympic trials—I was the youngest ever. You know, it’s a big boost of confidence when you’re one of the youngest kids ever to qualify and you’re fighting with the best from the United States. It is a confidence builder, and the experience you get out of fighting with the elite fighters in the amateur game, it’s an experience that every young fighter should have—fighting those national tournaments and preparing yourself proper for when you do turn professional. The amateur program just gave me great confidence and skill level of working with the best in amateur boxing. I was able to take that in the professionals and just do a lot of things with it, and now where I’m at, I’m a three-time champion in two different weight classes.
Q: Great. Now Robert, can you tell us a little bit about the origin of your nickname “The Ghost”?
A: Yeah, I got “The Ghost” when I was nine years old in the gym. I was just so fast, sparring in the ring, where I had quick feet, quick hands, where I would be there, I would be gone, I would be off to the side, I would be out to the other side. I was just so fast where, when I would spar, the kids—they couldn’t see where I was at, because I would be hitting them here and hitting them there and I would be off to the side. I had one coach and a couple kids talking like, “Wow! He’s like a ghost in there. He’s hitting you, and he’s gone, and then all of a sudden he’s there again, he’s hitting you. He disappears on you like a ghost”. And they started calling me “The Ghost” ever since, and it stuck ever since I was nine years old. Everyone in the amateurs called me “Ghost” and now in the professionals, everyone calls me “Ghost”.
Q: That’s a great story. Now, you are 26 years old and arguably coming off the most impressive victory in your career. What would you ultimately like to accomplish in the sport before all is said and done with your career?
A: To be pound for pound, one of the best fighters in the world. To hit that pound for pound rankings and hopefully, God willing, everything goes good—be pound for pound the best fighter in the world and win titles in multiple weight classes, and just keep climbing. See how many titles I can win, and shoot to be a Hall of Famer in the sport.
Q: Great. Thank you very much and before I finish off the interview here, the last question would be do you have anything else you would like to say to all of your fans out at East Side Boxing?
A: Yeah, thank you for all the support. They support very well, and that’s what keeps you going is the fans. To be out there and perform for them it’s an honor and a privilege and I’m going to the best ability that I can, and fight the best fighters that I can, and put up great shows—so keep watching.
Q: Great. Robert, thank you very much, I appreciate the interview.
A: Hey, thank you.
I would like to thank Robert Guerro for his time and wish him the very best of luck with his career and his future.
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