Boxing


Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero Returns

17.01.04 - Twenty-year-old Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero, who was recently ranked by USA Today as one of the top prospects to watch in 2004, will make his triumphant return to the ring in March against an opponent to be determined. After an elbow injury prevented him from fighting on the undercard of the Oct. 4, 2003, Toney-Holyfield pay-per-view extravaganza, the undefeated Guerrero has been cleared by his doctor, and has begun training for his next fight.

Known as boxer-puncher, Guerrero also is a tremendous defensive fighter with excellent speed. At five feet 10 inches and a 71-inch reach and still growing, Guerrero is not only physically imposing for a featherweight, but can hurt an opponent with either hand.

“Physically, Guerrero reminds a lot of boxing people of Oscar De La Hoya,” says Manager Bob Santos. “De La Hoya began fighting at 130 lbs., but continued to move up in weight class. I see Guerrero doing the same thing. He is very powerful, and will continue to get bigger and stronger in the next few years.”

Guerrero (11-0, 4 KOs), of Gilroy, Calif., since hooking up with trainer Joe Goossen, has knocked out each of his past three opponents inside of two rounds, including two in the opening stanza. In his last start, the promising southpaw registered a first-round TKO over Jose Tula on June 8, 2003, in Las Vegas.

In the Tula fight, Guerrero wasted little time or energy in knocking out his more experienced opponent in the first round.

“My last fight against Tula was probably my best performance,” Guerrero said. “He is a solid fighter, and had just gone 12 rounds with William Abelyan, the current world-rated No. 1 contender.”

When asked what his first-round knockout over Tula meant, Guerrero replied, “I have a good punch. It also says I have speed and power. Tula has been in with some top guys. I also fought David Vasquez, who went 10 rounds with Danny Romero, and I knocked him out in the first round too.”

Guerrero’s victory over Vasquez was most impressive, considering his opponent had squared off against such world-class fighters as Romero, Paulie Ayala and Jesus Salud. Considered an upset to some, the victory was just another in a line of impressive wins.

Starting his boxing career at age nine, Guerrero became a spectacular fighter at a very young age. During an impressive amateur career, Guerrero won the gold medal at the National Junior Olympics at age 15, and was the youngest competitor at the 2000 United States Olympic Trials. Raised among a family of fighters, Guerrero turned pro on April 22, 2001, and registered a four-round decision over Alex Ramirez in Indio, Calif.

In winning numerous amateur titles throughout the country, Guerrero often times was voted outstanding fighter in these tournaments. One such event was the national Junior Olympics, in which Guerrero, at the tender age of 15, captured the gold medal before a national television audience on ESPN.

Guerrero followed this accomplishment by becoming the youngest competitor at the Olympic Trials. The California native, who turned 16 on the day of the deadline, lost to eventual bronze medallist and then 21-year-old, Clarence Vinson.

In his professional debut on Apr. 22, 2001, the 18-year-old Guerrero displayed the patience of a veteran in cruising to a four-round decision.

After a few professional bouts, Guerrero moved to Los Angeles to work with trainer Joe Goossen in his legendary Van Nuys, Calif., gym. Although he is in only his fourth year of punching for pay, Guerrero already has fought on many high profile cards, impressing television audiences and boxing experts with his tremendous hand and foot speed.

It was his speed that earned him the nickname, “Ghost.”

“I got that (my nickname) when I was just starting boxing at nine years old,” Guerrero said. “I was in the gym sparring, throwing these real quick combinations. Then I would side step and be on the other side of the guy hitting him from that angle, and then side step again and land more punches. Also, I am real light skinned for a Mexican. So, after that, everyone would say, ‘This kid is like a ghost. You cannot catch him. You cannot see him. One second, he is hitting you from over there, the next he is hitting you over here, just like a ghost.’ So, they kept calling me "Ghost," and it just stuck.”

Looking forward to a championship down the road, Guerrero has no preference whom he fights on his way toward a world title.

”I want to fight them all,” Guerrero said. “To be the best, you have to fight the best. That is how I feel about it.”

Guerrero is on the rise in the lightweight division and warns anyone who dares interfere with his quest to become a champion.

“Look out for me, I am coming,” Guerrero said. “My fire is lit, and I am coming to burn down everything in my path.”

Article posted on 16.01.2004



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