Guerrero knew Adrian Valdez was going to be tough. But maybe not
Valdez took Guerrero as close to the limit as possible in a
tightly fought contest before the Gilroy featherweight scored a
technical knockout with just 1:55 left in the 12th and final round
of Friday night’s NABF title bout in Lemoore at The Palace Indian
Lemoore – Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero knew Adrian Valdez was going to be tough. But maybe not this tough.
Valdez took Guerrero as close to the limit as possible in a tightly fought contest before the Gilroy featherweight scored a technical knockout with just 1:55 left in the 12th and final round of Friday night’s NABF title bout in Lemoore at The Palace Indian Gaming Center.
“I knew coming into the fight (Valdez) was going to be real tough,” said Guerrero minutes after the fight. “That’s why we were ready for 12 … the title was on the line, anybody coming to fight for a title, they’re coming in shape, because it’s a title shot.”
Guerrero (15-0-1) controlled the early rounds of the fight after a first round that saw both fighters feeling each other out. Low blows were traded – one from Valdez in the 8th and one from Guerrero in the early part of the 12th – with time called in each instance but little damage done.
By the 10th, Guerrero found himself with an opponent that was getting stronger despite getting cut in the 4th and being on the receiving end of a barrage of flurries from the taller, stronger Ghost. Guerrero went back to the body in that round, continuing that attack in the 11th.
By the 12th, after the time stoppage, Valdez was reeling against the ropes as Guerrero launched an all out assault. Opening up the cut below Valdez’s right eye, blood flew as Guerrero moved in for the kill and referee Marty Sammon of Santa Clara stopped the fight 1:55 into the last round.
Guerrero’s trainer John Bray was surprised by the resiliency shown by Valdez, of Juarez, Mexico.
“I don’t think anybody expected to see a fight like this,” said Bray, whom Guerrero credits with turning a brawler into the ring scientist he believes he is today.
Early on, Guerrero seemed on his way to another quick knockout. By Round 2, the partisan crowd of 1,700 was chanting, “Gilroy, Gilroy, Gilroy” as their favorite son began picking up his feet and working the body. In the 3rd, a deadly Guerrero combination knocked Valdez to one knee.
The 4th and 5th rounds saw Guerrero stalking his opponent, opening up the cut and working Valdez consistently and often.
In the 6th and 7th, it was a different Ghost, however, as Valdez regained some of his composure. Guerrero dropped his hands in Round 7, seeming to want to sucker Valdez in for counterpunches rather than following up on the offensive.
In the 8th, Valdez came out swinging – the 8th and 10th were probably the only rounds the Mexican fighter won. Turning in his best round of the night, Valdez surprised both Guerrero and the crowd, putting the Ghost on the run on several occasions.
But in the end, Guerrero was too big, too strong and too well trained for his opponent. The knockout came far later than anybody expected, but come it did.
For Guerrero, the successful defense of his North American Boxing Federation featherweight belt means now he’ll have some precious time to spend with his new daughter, Savannah Rose.
“I’m going to go home and see my new daughter,” he said happily after the fight, “and then get ready for the next one.”