“The Ghost” is Down, But Not Out

Gilroy’s Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero connects with a punch

Friday night in Lemoore, Robert Guerrero went through something
he has never gone through in his boxing career.
He lost.
Friday night in Lemoore, Robert Guerrero went through something he has never gone through in his boxing career.

He lost.

Did the lower-ranked Gamaliel Diaz pull off a title upset that probably shouldn’t have happened? Yes. Does it hurt “The Ghost’s” position as the North American Boxing Federation’s second-ranked featherweight? Yes.

But that’s a good thing.

Guerrero was about due for a loss. Beating up on fighters that merely show up for an exhibition is no way for “The Ghost” to become the sport-changing fighter that some believe he could be. Challenges, and those that have the potential to be record-damaging, are necessary.

Even though all the hype surrounding Guerrero would like us to think differently, it’s not like “The Ghost” was going to pull a Rocky Marciano and go through his career undefeated.

Guerrero is only 22 years old. And as Guerrero’s publicist Mario Serrano pointed out, a lot of the ranked boxers – from flyweight to heavyweight – are at least a few years older. That’s not a coincidence. They took their lumps early to get to where they are now.

Need more reasons? How about four: Archie Moore (24 career losses), Roberto Duran (16), Willie Pep (11) and Evander Holyfield (8). All lost their share of fights and still established themselves as some of the best fighters the sport has ever seen.

Boxing isn’t like baseball, basketball, football or a lot of other sports where a championship can hinge on one game, one play, one mistake. Boxing doesn’t have a season. So in reality, there’s always tomorrow – if you’re willing to work for it.

One of the most interesting things about the fight Friday was how Guerrero handled himself. After Diaz was announced the winner, “The Ghost” put a smile on his face for the fans, was cordial and at least showed the appearance of optimism, despite losing. In his trailer, he expressed disappointment in the decision and was frustrated with some of the not-so-clean moves Diaz had pulled.

But ultimately, Guerrero placed the blame on himself. He said he didn’t press the action or take more body shots the way his trainer John Bray wanted. Guerrero knew he didn’t do what he had to do to win, and he accepted it.

Guerrero’s losing brings one main question to mind: Does this mean he’s not as good as everyone says he is?

Even though he probably wouldn’t admit it, “The Ghost” may have asked himself the same thing in the days since the fight.

That’s what losing does.

After all the training and preparation that has worked and been successful for so long doesn’t work, it’s only natural to wonder.

But for now, there’s really no reason to do that. Guerrero showed maturity in his first loss. Had he not done that, then you could question the future of “The Ghost”.

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