OAKLAND – Sitting in the dressing room in the cavernous underbelly of Oracle Arena, Gilroy’s Randy Guerrero thought his turn was next on four or five different occasions. As if all the weeks of training and preparation weren’t tough enough, the task of shouldering the anticipation that thickened with each passing hour, would stir any professional into a frenzy.
But Guerrero, who had to wait until after the main event of Andre Ward and Chad Dawson ended to make his way to the ring Saturday night in Oakland, hardly wavered.
It was well worth the wait to get to the first 12 minutes of his professional boxing career.
And finally, at 9 p.m., four hours after the first fight of the evening, the bell sounded and Guerrero settled into his featherweight fisticuffs against another making his debut, Juan Urbina of Santa Ana.
Guerrero, 20, and Urbina let it all on the line for four, three-minute action packed rounds, which ended in a majority draw 39-37 (Guerrero), 38-38, 38-38.
“I had my gloves on all night. At first I was ready, and then I had to wait. I warmed up a bunch of times,” an adrenaline-charged Guerrero said afterward. “That was the first day of my new job. Four hours of hard work.”
The challenge Urbina posed was a welcome experience, Guerrero’s father and trainer Ruben Guerrero said, adding that a cakewalk in a debut fight can send mixed messages as to how tough making it at the professional level can be.
“That was a tough kid,” Ruben said. “(Randy) did excellent. He hasn’t fought in almost two years. He looked great. He took a lot of ring rust off. I’m going to work with him a little bit more and he will be ready to go for his next one.”
Among the family ringside was big brother and WBC Interim welterweight world champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, who couldn’t sit still, bobbing and weaving with every move Randy made.
“I’m always nervous watching my younger brother,” The Ghost said earlier in the afternoon. “It’s that thing, not having any control of what’s going on in the ring, it gets to you. When I walk into the ring, I’m excited and ready to go because I have control of what goes on. It’s different when you’re on the outside looking in.”
The activity inside the ring rarely ceased. To the enjoyment of the fans who stuck around to watch, Guerrero and Urbina traded shot for shot in every round. And their effort was reciprocated with roaring applause – during and after.
“All the people sticking around was unexpected,” Randy said. “I thought it was going to be just family. But I guess the word travels fast around Gilroy and the South Bay. It was exciting.”
Guerrero came out the aggressor in the first round, but he said he quickly realized that he was locked into a battle. Both boxers landed quality combinations, relented and landed some more. Guerrero staggered Urbina in the third round, and each threw punches until the final bell.
“Fighters from Los Angeles are always the toughest,” Guerrero added. “They are always training, always in the gym. I think I should have used my reach more than just stayed in there. I should’ve boxed more. But, hey, what can I say, I’m still undefeated.”