Sunday, June 04, 2023  |



Guerrero did himself no favors

Fighters Network

Just before the start of the fifth round of James Kirkland’s systematic mugging of Joel Julio on Saturday night, HBO analyst Max Kellerman posed a rhetorical question to blow-by-blow man Bob Papa: If Kirkland had been cut early in the fight by a headbutt, in front of his hometown fans, would he have chosen to stop fighting?

It was an obvious reference to Robert Guerrero’s no-decision against Indonesia’s Daud Yordan in the opening bout of the telecast, which ended in the second round when Guerrero told the ringside physician he couldn’t see out of his right eye.

“No,” Papa replied.

He was right. You get the sense a hammer to the thorax wouldn’t convince Kirkland to surrender, which is one reason he will get lots of exposure and good buzz and ever-bigger paychecks, at least until he runs into someone who can push him backward a bit.

Guerrero? Not so much. He flat-out surrendered for no pressing reason and fight people don’t forget that. The ringside physician was by all appearances in no great rush to stop the fight and at one point while examining the cut appeared to want to defer to referee Jon Schorle. Exasperated, Schorle told him, “The fighter says he can’t see.”

With that, it was over and most of the 6,500 fans at The Tank, the majority of whom were there to see Guerrero, erupted into boos. I couldn’t blame them. Their man had just waved a white flag without even giving his corner a chance to work the cut.

From a pragmatic point of view, Guerrero’s decision made sense. In just a round-and-a-half of fighting, Yordan had demonstrated that not only wasn’t he the pushover he was advertised to be, but in fact was likely to make things difficult for Guerrero.

It very well might have turned into a long, grueling affair, the type that only the most determined and sadistic fighters enjoy. Faced with that possibility, Guerrero made a decision that most of us would make. But most of us aren’t prizefighters.

Guerrero is not entirely to blame. The rules that enable a fighter to quit and have the fight termed a no-decision or prematurely forced to the scorecards encourage it. And Guerrero, of course, is not the first guy to take advantage.

Remember when Hector Camacho Jr. was cut by a butt against Jesse James Leija, immediately fell apart and then claimed he couldn’t see? He came out with a loss disguised as a no-contest.

Ironically, Leija, who along with the rest of us questioned Camacho’s heart that night, did the same thing next time out when he was cut against Micky Ward. Knowing he was ahead on points and that Ward would get stronger as the fight went on, he claimed impairment too and was awarded the technical decision win.

The most recent example in a bigger fight was Hasim Rahman’s clear capitulation against James Toney when a headbutt opened a cut over Rahman’s eye that could have been treated with a postfight SpongeBob band-aid.

It’s been said many times and more eloquently than this that the ring reveals the true nature of a man's character. It certainly was true Saturday night, and not to Guerrero’s benefit.

Some miscellaneous observations from last week:

Kirkland so discombobulated Julio with pressure and power that by the second round, Julio, typically a fine technical fighter with good skills, had lost all form, throwing wide, telegraphed punches and frequently losing his balance. It’s going to take a heck of a fighter to beat Kirkland.

The more shots Julio took Рand he took a lot Рthe better his corner said he was doing. Were they trying to get him killed?

If the losing fighter doesn’t complain about a stoppage in the moments after the deal is done (and sometimes even if he does), how can anyone else? Mike Arnaoutis offered not a peep of protest after referee Ray Balewicz pulled Victor Ortiz off of him in the second round. That’s good enough for me. ÔǪ

Was it me, or did Ortiz completely lose focus at the end of his interview with Kellerman? 

HBO should give Lennox Lewis a pay raise. And it should be contingent on Lewis never speaking again during an HBO telecast. 

Delvin Rodriguez is going to have trouble against any fighter who can reach his chin. So unless he’s going to be fighting the cast of “Little People Big World,” I’m dubious about his chances for long-term successÔǪ . ÔǪ

So Edwin Valero has hired Robert Alcazar to be his head trainer. Why didn’t he just go with Chris Rock or Dave Chapelle? They’re about as qualified as Alcazar is, plus, they’re funny. ÔǪ

I still don’t understand why Marco Antonio Barrera decided to fight Amir Khan, but since
he did, I’m picking him to win. Mostly for old times’ sake.