The Ghost Guerrero and Marcos Maidana officially announced their
Aug. 27 showdown at a news conference Thursday in San Jose. Full
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After feverishly lobbying for a big-name opponent with little response in return, a welcomed twist left five-time world champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero with the choice between two high-profile candidates for his next fight: proven veteran Erik Morales or the ferocious Marcos Maidana.
Guerrero chose the latter, the “tougher” challenge in the two prospective counterparts, setting up a 12-round WBA super lightweight world title bout for Aug. 27 at HP Pavilion in San Jose.
Guerrero, the WBO and WBA interim Lightweight world champion, and Maidana, the current WBA interim Super Lightweight world titleholder, made the proceedings official Thursday, engaging in colorful formalities – the mandatory face-to-face picture pose included – at a news conference in front of an electric crowd at The Grill restaurant inside the site of their duel, which will be featured on HBO’s Boxing After Dark.
“I’m just super excited for this fight,” Guerrero said. “It’s just going to make me step up to the plate and be a playmaker. It’s going to be a war.”
Through popping flashbulbs and impromptu webcam interviews, both fighters acknowledged that their styles – Maidana (30-2) a relentless punisher and Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KOs) a shifty, fluid fighter with surprising power – attract the best in each and should create an active 12 rounds in the ring.
Maidana, who hails from Argentina, spoke in only Spanish and said through a translator that he has been watching film of Guerrero in preparation.
“He is very technical, he is very fast and he has long arms,” Maidana said. “I’m very happy to be fighting a top-level fighter again. Robert Guerrero is a very good fighter and I only like fighting the best. As you well know, I always come for everything or nothing.”
Twenty-seven of Maidana’s 30 victories as a pro have come via knockout. He carries the reputation and the credentials as one of the heaviest punchers in the game.
The Ghost saw a similar fighter in Michael Katsidis in his last bout April 9. Katsidis consistently came forward against the Ghost, and Guerrero countered by doing his damage inside and backing out to avoid the repercussions as much as possible. The game plan will stay the same this time around.
“I can box a guy on the inside, I can box a guy on the outside. I can do a number of different things in the ring,” the southpaw Guerrero said. “The one thing that’s nice about this fight is, Marcos Maidana is one of those guys that keeps coming and our styles match up to make a great fight. You get the classic boxer like me and a puncher like Marcos Maidana.
“It’s being smart and being ready. You have to be well prepared especially with a puncher like Marcos Maidana. Everything has to be right. You have to be on your toes and on your ‘A’ game all the way through.”
Guerrero’s troubles landing a marquee matchup have been a thorn in the Ghost’s camp for more than a year now. Golden Boy Promotions vice president and Matchmaker Eric Gomez, who emceed the day’s festivities, said Guerrero coming up empty-handed wasn’t due to a lack of offerings on the part of the Ghost’s promoters.
“We offered Robert to a number of fighters,” Gomez said. “I can’t say for sure what their reasoning was, but the chance of losing to a guy like Robert is risky.”
Faced with the choice of Morales and Maidana, the choice became clear, Guerrero’s manager Bob Santos said.
“We told HBO, we are going to take the tougher of the two,” Santos said. “I think in doing this fight, it sets the tone for everybody that he is one of the best fighters in the world, period. It sets that tone to HBO, it sets that tone to the regular boxing fan, and it makes a statement. Robert needs to get his just due. And taking a fight like this, there is no doubt, this will give it to him.”
In the last two years, Maidana has gone toe to toe with current WBA Welterweight world champion Victor Ortiz – a Maidana technical knockout win – and WBA Super Lightweight champ Amir Khan – a unanimous decision loss.
“There is no doubt in my mind we are facing one of the most devastating punchers in the weight class,” Santos said.
Guerrero has bided his time throughout 10 years as a pro, steadily climbing the ranks. The step up to the next rung on that proverbial ladder toward the elite level is, to date, the biggest leap in the 28-year-old’s career.
“He has been knocking on the door of becoming an elite fighter,” Gomez said. “A win against Maidana will put him among that list of the pound-for-pound best in the world.”
A triumph Aug. 27 would slide Guerrero into the mandatory position to face the winner between Amir Kahn and Zab Judah (July 23) for the outright WBA Light Welterweight crown. It could also budge other doors that have been hard to pry open to this point – more title fights and such.
As he did prior to facing Katsidis, Guerrero will leave Gilroy to train for the fight, heading to Big Bear for six weeks starting Monday. Guerrero greatly benefited from an extensive regimen in Las Vegas leading to the April bout. Nothing, other than the location, will change, Guerrero’s trainer and father, Ruben Guerrero, said.
“It’s going to be even better,” said Ruben Guerrero, who added that there was a 90-percent chance The Ghost will win by knockout. “Robert’s in top shape already. All we have to do is work on his speed. His power’s there. He won’t have to make weight and he will be a tough as a mule.”
Tickets for the Aug. 27 showdown go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. online at Ticketmaster.com, the HP Pavilion ticket office or by calling (800) 745-3000. Prices range from $26, $62, $127 and $252.