Staring straight through each other’s eyes, the clasp was quick and the only sign of good natured-ness during the pre-bout formality packed with a palpable tension broken only by a slew of well-timed, sarcastic and seething verbal jabs.
For two fighters who consider themselves men of few words, the trash talk flowed freely, adding anticipation leading into the 12-round brawl for the vacant WBC Interim welterweight world title Saturday night in San Jose.
“I am going to do what I’ve been doing for the past 20 years – walk through my opponent. I have beaten everybody who has crossed my way,” said Aydin, who has on a few occasions threatened to break Guerrero’s jaw. “Guerrero said he is hungry for this fight. I am going to feed him with my fists.”
Aydin (23-0, 17 KOs) was accompanied on the dais by trainer Conny Mittermeier. Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KOs) had father and trainer Ruben Guerrero and manager Bob Santos to his right.
“Did you notice that during the conference call the other day he was screaming crazy things,” Guerrero said, referring to a media call last week in which Aydin refused organized participation. “Now we are face to face, he says he is a man of few words. He is a man of nerves right now.”
Ruben, who said he gladly fills the role of the hyped-up pitch man for Robert, added his typical flare to the proceedings, taking the podium with a vengeance.
“Robert is ready. We are ready for 20, 30 rounds. If these guys think they came to win, they must be dreaming. They better wake up,” Ruben barked. “We are going to put a clinic on this guy. We are going to take him out.”
There will be little time for talking Saturday during what is assumed to be an all-out war between two highly focused professionals.
Neither has waivered from his respective game plan heading into the fight. Both have expressed confidence in their training camps and are dead set on proving the other wrong in the ring.
“Selcuk is in top shape,” Mittermeier said. “We know we have a strong opponent, we know we have a very big test ahead of us. But we are here to win the fight and we will win the fight. Selcuk has never been in such great shape.”
As both men spoke, it was clear that the mudslinging was to be recycled as fuel. The fight is career-defining for both Turkish-born Aydin, a No. 1-contender for the last two years, and for Guerrero, who jumps two weight divisions to make his debut at welterweight. The winner, too, becomes the mandatory challenger for Floyd Mayweather Jr. at 147 pounds.
“I came here to win this fight,” Aydin said. “We know what our opponent can do, but we know even better what we can do and I am here to take the belt back home. I know exactly what I am doing in the ring and I know what I have to do to win this fight. I will show it all, and you will all see that come Saturday night. I will show you what I am all about.”
Guerrero, who will engage in his first fisticuffs in 15 months, said he has never been in the kind of shape he is in right now. He alluded to his repaired left shoulder, which underwent arthroscopic surgery in late August 2011 after an injury forced the cancellation of a fight with Marcos Maidana that was slated for Aug. 28 of last year.
Guerrero said that that specific injury had been hampering him all his career, but is now completely behind him.
He also said that he is 100-percent mentally centralized on being a boxer now that his wife Casey Guerrero is fully recovered from cancer.
“You guys were getting half of me mentally,” Guerrero said.
And to the topic of his jaw, Guerrero re-iterated his anxiousness to see if that comes to fruition.
“With Aydin’s style and my style, it’s due for an explosion,” he said. “He said he is going to break my jaw – I’m waiting for that. All I know is that just motivated me to train harder. I just can’t wait.”
• Casey Guerrero, who had a bone marrow transplant in January 2010, and Robert met the donor Katharina Zech, who is from Germany, earlier this year. Zech has spent the past two weeks with the Guerrero family and will be ringside, along with Casey, on Saturday night.
“A woman from Germany saved my wife’s life,” Guerrero said. “Everyone needs to go to bethematch.org. We need more people on that donor list.”
• Guerrero vs. Aydin is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Arena-Box Promotion and sponsored by Corona, DeWalt Tools and AT&T. The Showtime Championship Boxing telecast will air live at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast.) Preliminary fights will air live on Showtime Extreme beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Tickets, priced at $252, $127, $62 and $26, are available for purchase at the HP Pavilion ticket office, by calling 1-800-745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.