Two-weight world champion Joan "Little Tyson" Guzman (33-1-1, 20 KOs) will challenge Vicente "El Loco" Mosquera (32-2-1, 17 KOs) for the interim WBA light welterweight title.
The 12-round Guzman-Mosquera fight, presented by All Star Boxing in association with Acquinity Sports, will air live on Telemundo from Kissimmee, Florida.
Guzman has been criticized for failing to continue fighting in the eighth round of his world title fight last November, after he suffered a leg injury from an unintentional foul, resulting in his first professional loss, by split eight-round decision to (76-75, 75-75-76, 75-76) to Kjabib Allakhverdiev (18-0) for the vacant WBA light welterweight championship.
Because of some well-documented weight problems in the past, the 1996 Dominican Republic Olympian has been ripped in the media, peaked with implications that he quit against Allakhverdiev.
Guzman’s promoter, Acquinity Sports vice president of boxing Henry Rivalta, has gone on record below to set the record straight:
What really happened to Guzman in the Allakhverdiev fight?
"It was a pretty even fight all the way through. On video, you can see that Allakhverdiev stepped on Guzman’s toes more than 20 times. In the eighth round, they both stepped forward, and hit their shins. Guzman broke a small bone under his knee that virtually paralyzed him. I don’t care if you’re the strongest man in the world, you can’t put any weight on your knee after an injury like that.
"Guzman also broke his right hand, back in the second round, but he didn’t complain and fought six more rounds like that. He had to stop with a broken tibia bone. He was coming on strong and had a great eighth round. Joan was only down one point and, if he was able to keep fighting, I’m confident that he would have won the fight. I thought Allakhverdiev should have been disqualified because his cornerman stepped on the mat and his promoter pounded the mat."
Why didn’t you protest the outcome?
"That was a sad day for Guzman and Acquinity Sports but we were okay with the referee’s decision. Our thinking was that Guzman fell short because of injury. He lost because he didn’t follow the game plan to box. He wanted to slug it out. Joan really wants to fight Khabib again to avenge his only pro loss. We think Joan will defeat Mosquera and become the mandatory for Allakhverdiev."
How do you feel about people in the media who’ve implied that Guzman quit?
"I’m tired of hearing and reading that nonsense. Why would a fighter who had never lost in 15 years as a pro, who was in the fight and coming on strong, quit if he could have continued? His critics don’t know, or care, how bad his injury really was in that fight. He went to the hospital and left with casts on his leg and hand. It just doesn’t make sense. Guzman’s not a quitter; he’d die in the ring.
"Guzman is strong again. He was off his leg for nearly 3 ½ months, but he’s back on track and ready for his fight against Mosquera. He’s going to show that Juan Guzman is still here. He may be 37 but how old is Bernard Hopkins?"
How about Guzman’s past problems?
"Joan recently apologized on radio to Golden Boy for not taking his career serious and to Don King for what happened in the (Ali) Funeka fight. He said he was sorry to Showtime and HBO, too. He was living in New York City and he wasn’t mentally ready to train and fight. It took him two hours to get to the gym, so he didn’t go there to work-out very often.
"Joan wasn’t responsible about his weight and training, which cost him a chance for stardom. He deserves another chance and we believe everyone will see the best from him June 28th."