The thing about ghosts is, even though you may not see them, you have a sneaking suspicion that they are around. The thought alone sends chills down spines.
Though he won’t be in the ring for at least a few more months, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero is making sure his presence is known.
Three months after surgery to repair a partially torn left rotator cuff, Guerrero is ahead of schedule with his rehabilitation and hasn’t been hesitant to proclaim his preferred date of reappearance inside the ropes.
The five-time world champion has diligently, vociferously and relentlessly hit the public relations circuit over the past month or so, laying the groundwork, stirring the pot and talking the talk. It’s working, too.
“That’s one of the things (about the job), you have to let people know everything is going well and focusing on lining up that next fight,” Guerrero said in a recent phone interview.
From the Latin Grammys to the Manny Pacquiao/Juan Manuel Marquez bout Nov. 12, to TV and radio cameos, to a weeklong press tour in Mexico City this week, Guerrero has supplied inquiring minds with one clear message: He wants Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 5 at the MGM Grand.
“He’s the best fighter out there and, you know me, I’m always talking about fighting the best,” Guerrero said. “I would love to fight (Manny) Pacquiao too. But more realistically this fight with Mayweather can happen.”
Guerrero isn’t grasping at invisible straws with this proposal, either. A blockbuster bout between Pacquiao and Mayweather has hit more snags than a fishhook dragged on the bottom of a river, driving boxing pundits batty in the process. And with the Marquez and Pacquiao seemingly heading toward a fourth meeting sometime (Pacquiao holds a 2-0-1 edge in the previous three fights, including a majority decision win Nov. 12) in 2012, it doesn’t appear that encounter will happen any time soon. (That can change, of course.) So as of now, Mayweather (42-0-0), who has already said he will fight May 5, needs an opponent. As has become habit with the Gilroy native, Guerrero’s hand is up and a challenge offered, and now he waits. But not quietly.
Guerrero has taken every opportunity to promote himself as the prime contender, hoping the seed he plants sprouts into the chance for which he has patiently waited. A poll question asking boxing analysts to hypothetically pick a winner between The Ghost and the seven-time world champ Mayweather, if the two should find themselves toe-to-toe. Of the 22 responses from various boxing writers, promoters and fighters, Mayweather had the edge 14-6 with two pick-em’s.
“It’s me putting the seed out there for the media and all the fans that there’s a possibility that I could be getting into the ring with Floyd Mayweather,” Guerrero said. “It’s all there for me and that May 5 card.”
Despite his last big fight never materializing after he suffered the shoulder injury one week before a scheduled world title bout against Marcos Maidana on Aug. 27 in San Jose, Guerrero sees this new opportunity as a way to get back into action without skipping a beat.
“It’s not so much a restart, but more of picking up where I left off,” he said. “I’m still young, I’m 28, and still one of the top fighters. I’ve done more than some of these champions who are 34 or 35. I’m pumped up. I can’t wait to get back in the ring.”
Guerrero (29-1-1) is working with Lisa Giannone of Active Care: Center for Sports and Orthopedic Rehabilitation and Training and said the May 5 date is well beyond his expected full-recovery timetable.
“I’ve had layoffs like this before and jumped right back in,” Guerrero said.
“I’m the type of guy that doesn’t worry, I just go out there and do my thing. I want to jump right back. A lot of people are like, ‘hey, don’t you want a tune-up fight?’ No way. I have a lot of faith in the strength and conditioning I’m doing with Lisa and the recovery has just been amazing.”
The Ghost said most of the workouts are tuned to very specific muscle sets in the shoulder, which will essentially provide long-term stability and strength.
“I’ve got full rotation in the shoulder. The strength is coming back incredibly fast,” Guerrero said. “The main focus is working with Lisa in building that shoulder back up. Everything is going according to plan and I’m ahead of schedule.”
As for boxing, Guerrero said he is working on that jab that served him so well in his last bout against Michael Katsidis in April – a unanimous decision victory.
“My jab is already tough for these guys,” Guerrero said. “I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when all of this is said and done.
Though nothing is official, and there aren’t any negotiations in the works, the speculation is entertaining in and of itself. But if Guerrero has his way, May 5 would be the day the showcase it.
“A fight with Mayweather is very possible,” Guerrero reaffirmed. “Gilroy’s son is blowing up. Gilroy better be ready for this. God willing, May 5, that day comes up and I can take care of business and show the world why I am the best.”