THE GHOST FILES: Guerrero says he feels ‘fast, sharp, strong’ as Maidana looms three weeks away

Robert Guerrero works on his hand-eye coordination.

There were a few indicators Robert

The Ghost

Guerrero was back in home-sweet-home Gilroy on Thursday.
There were a few indicators Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero was back in home-sweet-home Gilroy on Thursday.

After his morning run, a pit stop at his aunt’s house for some homemade tortillas kicked off the day the right way.

“I can’t resist those,” Guerrero said.

In the ring at Net Fitness in downtown, Guerrero pressed stop on the rap music and turned the radio dial to 98.5 KFOX for some classic rock. As he began his warm up, Bob Seger’s Turn the Page, a song about a weary road warrior, hit the airways and set the tone for Guerrero’s workout.

It may not be Big Bear, but being back in Gilroy isn’t a break.

“We are still in training camp,” The Ghost’s trainer and father Ruben Guerrero said. Robert looked up adding, “It’s just another day of work.”

With three weeks to go before climbing inside the ropes to face world champion Marcos Maidana on Aug. 27 live on HBO Boxing After Dark from San Jose’s HP Pavilion, the five-time world champion returned to the Garlic Capital for a quick two-day stay. But neither day is an off day – not at this juncture.

Preparation for what figures to be an all-out slugfest is an unrelenting, unyielding task. But knowing the opponent, who will be in the opposite corner, is prepping just as vigorously, is motivation in and of itself to push harder.

“Robert says he wants to fight the best,” Ruben said. “This is the top of the top. Nobody wants to fight (Maidana.) Every punch he throws he wants to rip your head off. That makes you feel like you have to train harder. There is a mountain to knockdown and that is going to take some work.”

With no time to waste, Guerrero hit the gym by 9:30 a.m. dancing around the canvas, shadow boxing to get the blood flowing. Looking bulky and built, Guerrero is hovering around 152 pounds and will slim down beginning next week in lieu of the official weigh in.

“His body looks incredible right now,” Ruben said. “Look at him. He is all muscled up already. He is a full-fledged 140-pounder. And that’s what we want. He is so quick right now. He can spar 30 rounds.”

The hour-and-a-half workout included five rounds in the ring with Ruben sporting the training pads and Guerrero planting shot after shot into the center of the leather.

“I feel real fast, sharp. I feel real strong. I’ve never felt this way for a fight,” Robert said. “Last time I felt this good is when I fought Katsidis. And, actually, I feel better – way better.”

Fighting at his second weight class of 2011, the calculated move up to the loaded 140-pound division from 135 pounds has hinged on The Ghost paying a considerable amount of attention to his diet, avoiding sugars and loading up with protein using five meals per day.

“I eat a lot of salmon, lot of steak, vegetables, rice. Keeping it really clean,” Robert said.

Not shy in showing off his physique, which he credits to all-natural workouts of push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and dips, Guerrero flexed for a gym patron, who asked the champ what he had been eating.

Robert’s reply, “rocks.”

The rocks were left off the menu Thursday, but the scheduled lunch equaled the weight of some larger pebbles – a three-pound piece of salmon, barbecue style.

“Adjusting the diet and having the right protein, the right carbs,” Robert said. “My manager Bob Santos he also does nutrition so he makes the adjustments according to how I’m weighing, how I’m feeling. He is doing an incredible job. You can see by the way I am looking.”

After a sparring session today, it’s back to Big Bear for the final two-week stretch prior to his return to the area for the week leading up to the bout, which is usually filled with interview obligations and fight formalities.

“You are just as good as your last fight,” Guerrero said. “You have to have that drive to get in there and be the best. That’s what motivates me to get out there, focus and work hard. I want to be the best. My main focus is on being ready. This is champion fighting champion. It’s going to be a big event, but you have to stay focused.”

— Tickets for the Aug. 27 showdown between Robert Guerrero and Marcos Maidana are on sale online at Ticketmaster.com, the HP Pavilion ticket office or by calling (800) 745-3000.

Prices run $26, $62, $127

and $252.

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