By Jason Pribila: For those who have been receiving the hundreds of press releases over the years on Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KO), it would seem that the Gilroy, CA native has been on boxing’s main stage for years. For everyone else, Guerrero arrived on Saturday Night at the Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario, CA when he dropped Andre Berto (28-2, 22 KO) twice en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Guerrero entered the ring as an underdog despite this being Berto’s first fight in over a year. Those who favored Berto pointed to the fact that this was only Guerrero’s second fight above lightweight. However, from the opening bell Guerrero imposed his will on an unsuspecting Berto. The southpaw landed several crisp left hands, one of which would eventually buckle Berto. When Berto held onto his foes right hand, Guerrero pounded away with is free hand until Berto fell to the canvas.
Another left hand found its target, and suddenly Berto found himself down four points on the scorecards with a rapidly closing right eye. Berto didn’t necessarily have the look of a fighter with ring rust, but rather a fighter whose body wasn’t used to absorbing blows.
Guerrero kept the pressure on, and surprisingly was able to maneuver Berto to the ropes at will. His punch output plateaued, but his accuracy remained at or near 50% connect rate.
Berto would have his moments fighting off the ropes, and nearly turned the fight around in his favor in a spirited ninth round. Berto found a home for a right hook to the body combined with an uppercut. Guerrero was able to remain on his feet, but the damage had been done. Between rounds, Guerrero told his father that he could not see out of his right eye.
Drama arrived along with the championship rounds as each fighter was suddenly vulnerable. Guerrero dug deep. He threw and landed more punches and increased his lead on the scorecards in the tenth and eleventh rounds.
Berto went for broke as each fighter exchanged in the middle of the ring. Guerrero was prepared for the task and outworked Berto to the final bell.
The crowd was on their feet applauding the heart showed from each fighter. The scorecards reflected the action that took place in the ring, as each judge turned in a score of 116-110 for Guerrero.
Following the fight, Berto complained about the officiating; and Guerrero called out Floyd Mayweather.
Cue the press releases as I’m sure we’ll hear more about Mayweather – Guerrero than fights that are actually signed, until Mayweather decides his next move.
Keith Thurman (19-0, 18 KO) seems to be the next Al Haymon client who will have his development televised by HBO or Showtime. Although there is still a lot to learn about Thurman, there was no question that former welterweight titlist Carlos Quintana (29-4, 23 KO)was equipped to find out the answers. Thurman stalked Quintana from the opening bell. Quintana tried to move and offered a pawing jab in an attempt to prevent Thurman from cutting off the ring. He had moderate success until he got caught with the weekend’s second best left hook to the body. Quintana beat the count, but any thoughts he had of putting up serious resistance had been beaten out of him.