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June 19, 2021

Talk doesn’t faze Ghost

Trash talk comes with the territory when one makes a living
beating another man to a pulp, but Robert

The Ghost

Guerrero wasn’t about to be baited at Thursday’s press
conference in Houston.
Meeting Malcolm Klassen (24-4-2, 15 KOs) in person for the first
time, Guerrero finally got a chance to see what he will be up
against Saturday when the Gilroy native tries to dethrone Klassen
of the IBF junior lightweight title in a three-fight card being
televised at 6:45 p.m. on HBO’s Boxing After Dark series.
HOUSTON – Trash talk comes with the territory when one makes a living beating another man to a pulp, but Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero wasn’t about to be baited at Thursday’s press conference in Houston.

Meeting Malcolm Klassen (24-4-2, 15 KOs) in person for the first time, Guerrero finally got a chance to see what he will be up against Saturday when the Gilroy native tries to dethrone Klassen of the IBF junior lightweight title in a three-fight card being televised at 6:45 p.m. on HBO’s Boxing After Dark series.

“I respect you as a boxer. I’ve seen your fights – I’ve seen a couple of your fights – and you’re not in my class, bro,” Klassen said.

Guerrero was first to speak at the media session, leaving him without a rebuttal. Afterwards, Guerrero shook off the insult.

“The guy was doing a little trash talking, but you know how it is,” he said. Guerrero added that “come fight night, he’ll find out.”

A victory would give Guerrero (24-1-1, 17 KOs) his third career title while also placing him in a unique category of champs who have held belts in two divisions. Guerrero relinquished the IBF featherweight title last year to move up to the 130-pound weight class. The addition of a few pounds to his 5-foot-8 frame, as well as coming off a six-week camp in the 10,000-foot elevations of Big Bear, has Guerrero feeling stronger than ever.

“It’s a whole different animal being out there in Big Bear,” he said. “Just the way I feel going into the weigh-in – I feel incredible. I’ve never felt like this, ever.”

Despite standing just over 5-foot-5, Klassen’s confidence was on full display Thursday and it can be traced to the South African’s recent results after a rough start to his career. Going 7-3-1 in his first 11 fights, Klassen, 28, has only lost once since 2001. His most recent defeat came in a 2007 split-decision awarded to Mzonke Fana (29-4, 12 KOs), who recently won an IBF eliminator bout to earn the right to face Saturday’s victor. Klassen responded to the loss by recording knockouts in his last five fights. The string of victories and a title earned in his most recent bout, a seventh-round knockout of Cassius Baloyi, most likely have given Klassen the assurance to boast about his abilities over Guerrero’s.

“I sized him up. He’s a much shorter guy,” Guerrero said. “But he came in confident. I know he’s ready to fight. He’s a two-time world champion. I know he’s ready to go.”

Guerrero added that he’s also ready to go.

“I guess a lot of guys take kindness for weakness and they find out in the ring,” he said. “Fight night, that’s where I’ll do my talking – in the ring.”

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