Guerrero tops undercard featuring top prospects
Robert Guerrero is eager to resume his career after an 11-month hiatus from boxing. He faces Edel Ruiz on Saturday on the Antonio Margarito-Shane Mosley undercard. Photo / Tom Hogan-hoganphotos.com
The undercard for the Antonio Margarito-Shane Mosley welterweight title fight will be a showcase for a few of the better prospects that Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions, the co-promoters of the card, have recently signed.
However, one of the young standouts on the undercard is a bona fide contender who has the potential to develop into one the stars of the sport.
Robert Guerrero, the 25-year-old former two-time featherweight titleholder recently signed by Golden Boy Promotions, gets back into action against tough Mexican journeyman Edel Ruiz after an 11-month layoff.
Guerrero (22-1-1, 15 KOs), who sat out most of last year while waiting out his contract with former promoter Goossen Tutor, will make his junior lightweight debut Saturday night.
“I haven't fought in almost a year,” he said, “but I never stopped training. I can't wait to get back into the ring.”
The Gilroy, Calif., native’s co-manager and conditioner Bob Santos says the 20,000 fans that pack L.A.’s Staples Center will witness a much stronger and more powerful version of Guerrero than they might have seen at featherweight.
That’s saying something. Before his layoff, Guerrero was coming off three consecutive impressive TKO victories against solid opposition – a ninth-round stoppage of Spend Abazi in Denmark, a one-punch stoppage of usually durable Martin Honorio and an eighth-round bludgeoning of prospect Jason Litzau.
Guerrero’s ring success in 2007 was tempered with the devastating discovery that his wife had leukemia. However, tests conducted just this week revealed that her cancer is almost in total remission, no doubt lifting a very heavy weight from the friendly boxer-puncher’s heart.
Golden Boy has big plans for Guerrero, who is scheduled to headline a March 7 HBO-televised triple header, possibly in the San Jose area, which is near Gilroy. But first the talented southpaw has to get by Ruiz (31-21-4, 22 KOs).
The most promising prospect on the undercard might be 2008 Russian Olympian Matt Korobov (2-0, two KOs). Top Rank CEO Bob Arum has no problem telling the media that the Cameron Dunkin-managed two-time world amateur champ is a future star. Arum’s enthusiasm is understandable. Korobov, who takes on Indiana-based Mexican Roberto Florentino (3-3, three KOs), fights with the confidence, competence and fluidity of a 20-0 contender.
Other prospects on the undercard include:
— Flashy, but fierce lightweight Adrien Broner (5-0, five KOs), the Shelly Finkel-managed amateur star from Cincinnati who has four first-round KOs to his credit, takes on Jose Alfredo Lugo (10-6-1, five KOs), a tough spoiler who went the distance with 140-pound prospect Danny Garcia in his last fight.
— Twenty-year-old featherweight Jerry Belmontes (5-0, one KO), a popular fighter from Corpus Christi, Texas, will face East L.A.’s Jesus Hernandez, an unbeaten (7-0, two KOs) Los Mochis, Mexico native who was brought up on the Southern California club circuit.
— Mexico City’s junior lightweight standout Juan Carlos Salgado (18-0-1, 13 KOs) takes on Los Mochis’ always-game .500 journeyman Cristian Favela (17-17-6, 10 KOs).
Doug Fischer can be reached at [email protected]