Boxing: Gilroy’s Guerrero preps for Martinez

Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero gets his gloves secured before training at the CrossFit Ranch Thursday in Aromas. 

AROMAS—Over the last few years, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero has lived up to his nickname, but not in the sense that he’d like. While he’s maintained his boxing spirit, Guerrero has been more like an apparition with his appearances in the ring being few and far between.
But not anymore.
Less than three months after his loss to Keith “One Time” Thurman by unanimous decision, Guerrero is back. He’s preparing to take on Aron Martinez in a Premier Boxing Championship bout on NBC at noon June 6 at the StubHub Center in Carson—the first time he’s fought twice in the same year since 2012.
Guerrero (32-3-1, 18 KOs) said he’s focused on staying active by being in the ring more often as he looks to transition from ghost to a power-punching poltergeist.
“Previous fights before (Thurman) when I was active, it was just right out the gate, firing combination after combination,” Guerrero told the Dispatch. “Once that first bell rang, I just put my foot on the gas and not let off. Not being in the ring for long periods of time, you start to fade away from that.”
The 32-year-old Gilroy boxer is facing a must-win situation. He lost his last two out of three fights, falling to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May 2013 before rebounding with a UD over Yoshihiro Kamegai in June 2014. Guerrero became a fan favorite following his tenacious performance in the 12-round bout with Thurman, but said he needs to secure a ‘W’ to keep his career off the ropes.
“To lose two in a row, it’s bad in the boxing game. That’s when everyone starts saying it’s time to retire or hang ‘em up,” Guerrero said. “A win’s always important. I’m going to come out, take care of business and do what I do best. I feel good; I feel sharp.”
His opponent, the 19-3-1, 4 KO Martinez, is in a similar situation, having lost his last fight by total knockout to Josesito Lopez on April 24, 2014. Martinez has also lost two out of his last three fights, recording his last victory by majority decision over Alberto Herrera in April 2013.
Guerrero has studied the Los Angeles boxer’s previous bouts and knows he can expect a lot of exchanges and that he should be on the lookout for Martinez’s wayward use of his head and elbows.
Delivering shots to Martinez will be key. Guerrero noted that his opponent has the tendency to “coil up like a snake” when hit and he intends to aggravate him. That being said, “The Ghost” isn’t underestimating him.
“It seems like every time somebody fights me it’s like their championship fight,” he said during a break in training Thursday at the CrossFit Ranch in Aromas. “They come like 10 percent better than they are at their best shape and they give it their all because it’s their chance to do something in boxing.”
This is the sixth fight for Guerrero since making the jump to welterweight and he’s proven he can take a punch. Thurman connected for 211 punches and caused visible damage to Guerrero’s face, which required stiches over his eye. Even so, the boxer said those hits don’t faze him.
“I’ve been blessed with a great chin,” Guerrero said with a laugh. “But my dad always tells me, ‘don’t test it. Move your head’.”
Guerrero’s father, Ruben, even got in the ring with his son Thursday and held a punch shield for him as he preps himself for what could be a defining fight in his career.
For Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, this fight is all about being as active as possible. He wants to ensure that when the bell tolls on June 6, he’ll be ready.
“When you have live fire in front of you, it changes everything,” he said, comparing himself to a baseball player. “You can hit off the pitching machine all day, but as soon as you get somebody in there throwing curveballs and changing the speed and hitting different spots and angles, that’s where guys start getting froze up.”

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