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Boxing Interviews: Archives
Q&A with Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero
“Boxing is like second nature to me.”
Mar 14, 2004 By Brent Hedtke
Not since Chuck Wepner’s paper thin facial tissue earned him the alias “The Bayonne Bleeder” has a fighter’s ring moniker been more fitting. With his virtually impenetrable defense and lighting fast hands, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero has left more than a few of his opponents looking and feeling like they’ve just seen an apparition of some kind.
Guerrero first laced up a pair of gloves at the tender age of nine and has not looked back since. He put together an outstanding amateur pedigree that saw him earn nearly every award a young fighter can, except for “Best Dressed”, which he would undoubtedly have won as well, had it been it available. Since turning pro at the age of 18, Guerrero has an undefeated record of 11-0 with 4 KO’s and he’s earned himself a spot on the Goosen-Tutor promotional roster.
Guerrero will step into the ring this Sunday at the Penchanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California, for the first time since his two-minute trouncing of Jose Luis Tula last June. He will square off against the rugged Julian Rodriguez, (13-9-1, 7 KO’s) who has gone the distance with Jose Luis Valbuena and Jose Aguiniga.
With Lennox Lewis retired and Oscar De La Hoya putting in his two-week notice, many outside of the sport are predicting the demise of the “Sweet Science.” But with Robert Guerrero heading up the new class of superstars, those skeptics can rest easy knowing that the sport of boxing is in good hands.
The Ghostbusters had the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man to contend with and now the featherweight division has Robert Guerrero. And you can bet it will take more than a couple of former Saturday Night Live alumni with supercharged vacuum cleaners to get rid of this ghost.
Doghouse Boxing recently had the pleasure of talking with Robert and here’s what he had to say about his upcoming fight with Julian Rodriguez, his plans for the future and hangin’ with Vin Diesel.
How’s camp been going Robert?
It’s been going great. Very good.
What do you know about Julian Rodriguez?
I know he’s a good, solid Mexican fighter that likes to stay right there in the pocket and I’ve just been preparing really well for this fight. I’ve been out here with Joe Goosen for nine weeks. I was (Diego) Corrales’ number one sparring partner.
How was it working with Diego?
It was great. It was a really great experience.
How is the elbow doing?
My elbow is a 110%. It’s been healed since December. It was actually healed before that, but my doctor asked me to take extra time off, just to be sure. Because you know, it’s my elbow and I use my arm a lot so I can’t take chances on stuff like that. You have to be a hundred percent sure that it’s good.
Can you tell us exactly what happened with your elbow when you injured it?
I was sparring and I hyper-extended it. I was sparring with a 160 pounder because all the guys at my weight don’t want to spar with me anymore. So I had to get in with a big boy. There’s a lot of wear and tear when you get in the ring with those big guys.
You started fighting at a considerably young age. What got you into the sport of boxing?
My family has always been a boxing family. My Grandfather was a fighter. My Father was a fighter. My Uncles were fighters and my brothers were fighters. I was raised in the sport. I grew up in the gym with my dad and my brothers. Boxing is like second nature to me.
How important do you think it is for fighter to have a strong amateur background?
It’s good to have the amateur background, fighting nationally against a lot of different guys. When you get to the pros you face a lot of different styles. You face guys out of Mexico and other places and you need that experience to learn how to adjust and execute in different fights. Basically it helps to learn how to adjust and how to deal with the different styles. That’s why I think it plays a big role in turning professional. It’s like kindergarten. You go to a pre-school or kindergarten to prepare you for your schooling in the future.
What was your transition from the amateur ranks to the professional ranks like?
I actually felt better fighting as a pro than as an amateur because the style I had was more of a professional style. I couldn’t do the little touch and move style. I like to stick my shots in there really hard. I made that decision to turn pro and I’m glad I did.
Three of your four knockouts have come in your last three fights. What’s been the difference in those fights?
Just working with Joe Goosen. The first part of my pro career I trained down where I was at (Gilroy, Ca) and I had no sparring. It was dead down there. So when I got out here to Los Angeles, it was like a whole new world to me. The experience, the sparring, all the different techniques. I had that amateur style in me still and I was fighting with pros. Basically I was just fighting on talent. But now that I got with Joe Goosen, he’s been showing me all the ropes and all the little tips on how to sit down on my punches and really plan where to put those shots on the other fighter.
You seem to have surrounded yourself with a very small, close knit team. Has that approach helped you as opposed to working with a number of different trainers and coaches at once?
Yes, it has. When Joe works with a fighter, all of his time and effort goes directly to you. He doesn’t take time away to go work with this guy and work with that guy while you’re in the gym. He puts in a specific time for you and that time is just for you. He’s a perfectionist. He makes sure everything is right. That’s what makes him a great trainer.
Being 5’10”, do you make 126 lbs. very easily?
Oh yeah, easy. I could make 122, but I feel really comfortable at 126 because that’s where it’s at right now. That’s where the heat is at and that’s where I want to be.
So you have no plans of moving up any time soon?
Well, what I want to do is sweep out the 126 lb. division and then move up to 130 and then so on and just get as high as I can get.
You’re body does not look like the average featherweight’s body.
Yeah, a lot of people look at me and they have a hard time believing that I can make
122 lbs. When I look at myself too I’m like, “man, I don’t look like a 126 pounder.” And when people see me they think I’m a welterweight. They’re like “you gotta be 135, 140 lbs.” and I’m like “no, I fight at 122, 126 lbs.” They’re always like “c’mon, quit lying.” (laughing) I guess I just got one of those freakish bodies.
With Oscar De La Hoya getting close to the end of his career, people are looking to guys like you, Francisco Bojado, Daniel Ponce De Leon and others as the new class of boxing superstars. Does that put any added pressure on you?
Yes, it does. Those guys like De La Hoya, once they’re out it’s all about us, the new guys. And I’m right there. I wanna be the best out of that whole bunch. I’m just gonna work hard, stay straight and focused and just do it.
On your website (www.theghostguerrero.com) there are some pictures of you with stars like Vin Diesel and Jay Leno. Are they friends of yours?
Yes, they come out to the fights and they like to watch me. It’s cool you know, seeing guys like that coming and wanting to watch me. It makes me feel good. It makes me want to work harder and put on a better show. Not just for them, but for the people out there that work hard and they come out and want to see a good fight. That’s when I come in and I work hard. I work hard to put on a great performance for them and that’s what it’s all about.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2004?
I’m fighting this Sunday and then on April 23rd or 24th I have a main event on Fox Sports in Miami. Then on June 3rd I have a Shobox date on Showtime, but I don’t know where that is going to be at yet.
Is there anything else you want to say to the readers?
Yes, I would like for all the Doghouse Boxing readers to visit my website (www.theghostguerrero.com) if you want to find out information about me. You can find out when I’m fighting, there’s merchandise on there and bios on me. It’s a big year for me and I’m gonna put on great show for everybody.
Writers note: Doghouse Boxing would like to thank Robert and his team, especially Mario Serrano and Bob Santos, for taking the time to chat with us.
"Robert Joseph Guerrero"
Professional Record: 11 fights; 11+ (4 KO’s)
- 2001 -
+ (Apr-22-2001, Indio) Alejandro RAMIREZ 4
+ (Sep-29-2001, Miami) Javier GONZALEZ kot 3
+ (Nov-2-2001, San Antonio) Oscar ROSALES 4
- 2002 -
+ (Jan-26-2002, Pembroke Pines) Arthur TREVINO 4
+ (Feb-8-2002, Temecula) Joaquin CANDELARIO 4
+ (Mar-10-2002, Henderson) Roberto ENRIQUEZ 4
+ (Apr-14-2002, Las Vegas) Marcos BADILLO 6
+ (Jul-3-2002, Monterey) Freddy CASTRO 6
+ (Dec-20-2002, Miami) Jose Alfonso RODRIGUEZ kot 2
- 2003 -
+ (May-4-2003, Coachella) David Vasquez ko 1
+ (Jun-8-2003, Las Vegas) Jose Luis TULA kot 1
Email questions or comments to Brent at: email@example.com