Friday night’s featherweight clash between Robert
Guerrero and Gamaliel
Diaz could be Guerrero’s toughest challenge to date.
Friday night’s featherweight clash between Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero and Gamaliel “El Platano” Diaz could be Guerrero’s toughest challenge to date.
The North American Boxing Federation (NABF) Featherweight Title fight certainly has all the ingredients. The Ghost (16-0-1, 9KO’s), ranked as the No. 2 World Boxing Council (WBC) featherweight is undefeated. But Morelia, Michoacan native Diaz (9-5-2, 9KO’s), the No. 7 WBC featherweight, has won 16 consecutive bouts.
“He’s basically been undefeated for four years. In his last two fights he went to Japan and came back with victories, which is hard to do in another country,” Guerrero told BoxingTalk.com Monday. “Diaz is coming game and it’s going to be a good fight.”
Guerrero and Diaz fight tomorrow in Lemoore at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino (formerly the Palace Indian Gaming Center), where the Ghost has won his last two fights.
“(Diaz) is a tough, tough, tough fighter,” said Guerrero’s trainer, former U.S. National amateur heavyweight champion John Bray. “The guy’s got good boxing skills. He is going to be probably the most noteworthy opponent that Robert has faced.”
The timing for that caliber of challenger looks to be right, since the 22-year-old Guerrero is coming off what Bray calls his “most productive camp since we’ve been together.”
The Ghost has spent the past eight weeks training with Bray at the Northridge Athletic Club, but also sparred other fighters at Freddie Roach’s gym in Hollywood, one of the world’s premier boxing gyms.
“He’s starting to really grasp the whole concept of boxing and setting guys up,” Bray said. “Good fighters capitalize on all the mistakes. But great fighters make you make the mistakes.”
That’s a key concept Bray sees Guerrero becoming more and more comfortable with.
One move that ultimately doomed Sammy Ventura in the Sept. 16 fight was the Gilroy southpaw’s newly-developed right jab. The right-handed Diaz is also known for being able to set fighters up with his jab. According to Bray, Guerrero has spent his time at camp further developing those skills, among others.
“He’s not using his tools like size and strength, but boxing,” Bray said. “There are a lot of big, strong guys out there. But the guys that are going to win and last and have longevity know how to use the jab, set things up.”
Tomorrow’s fight, which will be televised on regular Showtime at 8pm and on Showtime west (SHOw) at 11pm, could be the last before Guerrero tries for a major world title, which he told BoxingTalk.com he would like to see happen early next year. Bray sees the fight as the next step in what will be a long and exciting career for the young fighter.
“This kid is going to be the next big thing, the breakout guy that’s going to get the general public back interested in boxing,” he said.