Two men with a combined win-loss record of 58-2, who are both on a mission to distinguish themselves as the welterweight division’s best, will try and send that message against one another Thanksgiving weekend. So Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero and Andre Berto went through the formalities of making their Nov. 24 bout official Tuesday, delighting boxing pundits at a news conference in Los Angeles.
“I know Berto is coming to fight and he’s hungry, but so am I,” the Gilroy native Guerrero said. “I’m always hungry. I’m hungry all the time, because I want to be the best in the world, not just a world champion. I don’t want to settle. I want to be the best. “I believe I can knock him out. I want to send him home hurting and damaged.”
The 12-round welterweight clash, which will be televised on HBO, is Guerrero’s second appearance at 147-pounds. The six-time world champion, and current WBC interim welterweight titleholder, had been close to landing another fight, but negotiations with Timothy Bradley were severed.
“They don’t give me the credit I deserve, so I just have to keep winning. I wanted to find one of the strongest guys out there that no one else wanted to fight to prove I’m the best,” Guerrero said.
Berto, a two-time world champion, appears to be that man.
“I want to make statements with my fights, not take tune up fights,” Berto said. “I know the level of fighter that I am and that’s what I expect from my opponents too.”
Berto has not been in the ring since 2011, and spent the last few months trying to separate himself from out-of-the-ring troubles.
Berto (28-1, 22 KOs) held the WBC welterweight title from June 2008 to April 2011, successfully defending it five times before succumbing to Victor Ortiz by unanimous decision.
A rematch was scheduled with Ortiz for last June but was canceled when Berto tested positive for a banned substance. Berto was issued a boxing license by the California State Athletic Commission in August.
“Sometimes you have to go through tough times, sit back, appreciate what you have in life and move forward,” Berto said. “I went through a hell of a year for me. Now I’m back to the basics. This is what I needed.”
Guerrero has repeatedly thrown his name into the mix, challenging champions from 135 pounds through to 154 pounds, often finding such assertions unanswered and ignored.
“Robert Guerrero is one of the most underrated champions in the world,” Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer. “I can’t understand why he’s not at the top of the pound for pound list.”
Questions around Guerrero’s durability at 147 seemed to be answered in his unanimous decision victory over heavy-hitting Selcuk Aydin on July 28. But Berto’s trainer Tony Morgan said Guerrero has yet to encounter a punch powered by his man.
“Guerrero is a great fighter, but he’s never been hit by someone as hard as Berto can hit in the 147 (pound) division,” Morgan said. “He can call himself whatever he wants (“The Ghost”), but at the end of the night, he’ll be calling himself a loser.”
Guerrero is holding his training camp in Las Vegas, accompanied by father/trainer Ruben Guerrero and co-manager/nutritionist Bob Santos, among others.
“We’re going to be 100-percent ready for Berto, and I promise it’s going to be a great fight,” Ruben Guerrero said. “We’re going to have the advantages in all aspects against Berto. Robert is hungry like a lion. He’s going to swallow him up on November 24.”
The fight will be in Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario.
o Undercard: will be a junior middleweight bout between Keith Thurman and former world champion Carlos Quintana; a 12-round battle between WBA interim lightweight world champion Richard Abril and No. 3-rated WBA lightweight contender Sharif Bogere for the WBA lightweight world championship.
o Tickets priced at $200, $100, $75, $50 and $25.