Joan Guzman will be back in the ring on Friday, June 28, when 122 and 130-pound titlist faces Vicente Mosquera in Kissimmee, Florida, headlining a show for Acquinity Sports, and hoping a win will get him close to a rematch with Khabib Allakhverdiev, who defeated Guzman last year to win the then-vacant WBA junior welterweight title.
Promoter Henry Rivalta of Acqunity Sports discussed that loss, the next fight, the possible rematch, and Guzman's past weight problems in a press release interview:
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."
What's led to the change in Guzman's attitude?
"We gave him a chance to shine, making him disciplined, and realizing that he owes boxing. He understands that he needs boxing. In Miami, he runs three miles to the gym and three miles home. In his last five fights, since signing with Acquinity Sports, he's made weight without a problem. In fact, he said he was going to surprise me in his last fight, and he came in almost two pounds lighter than maximum weight in order to make a statement. People are really going to see a sharp Guzman in his upcoming fight. He's 37 and getting towards the end of his boxing career, but he's never been beaten-up, never knocked down other than a flash knockdown in his last fight."
How do you see the Guzman-Mosquera fight going?
"I respect Mosquera. I met him in Panama and have watched him fight. He's very skillful but he's going to be out-classed and out-skilled against Guzman, who will be making a statement to get his third world title.
"When a man is up against the ropes, so to speak, like Joan is right now, he's trained even harder to beat Mosquera, and position himself for a rematch with Allakhverdiev. That's the fight Joan really wants."
Aside from the Allakhverdiev rematch, assuming Guzman defeats Mosquera, who would you like Joan to fight next?
"First, we aren't looking past Mosquera, but we'd love to see Joan fight Danny Garcia or Luis Matthysse. Maybe they'd like to beat the old man up? Guzman said Amir Khan has an amateur style, but he won't fight Joan. Matthysse has the power to knockout anybody, but how can he do that to Guzman if he can't get to him?
"After the Mosquera fight, we'll see what happens, business-wise, after that fight. I can't wait to see Joan's hands raised in victory. My partner Gary Jonas and I believe in Joan. He said he was sorry to let us down after his last fight, but we told him he didn't let us down, losing controversially only because of his knee injury. Funny, I was told by a friend in the know that Guzman knocked Khalib's tooth out with an uppercut in the seventh round and he had to be pushed out for the eighth round. It certainly would have been an interesting last four rounds if Guzman had been able to continue."
Who do you like in the Floyd Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez fight?
"I don't think any Mexican style can beat Mayweather but 'Canelo' has a little different Mexican style. He showed shades of good defense against Austin Trout, but Trout's no Mayweather, who I admit is my favorite fighter. I think Mayweather is going to give 'Canelo' a boxing lesson, unless he lays on the ropes and let's 'Canelo' unload on him, and I don't see that happening.
"Floyd is one of my favorite fighters of all-time - 'Iron' Mike Tyson is my favorite -- and someday I hope to meet Floyd in person. Some people don't like him because of his image, but he's the best boxer on the planet, and he gets great pay-per-view numbers. Floyd will retire undefeated and be recognized as the greatest boxer of all time. He is the biggest name in boxing right now and has been for years. No offense to 'Canelo,' who is a great fighter and a gentleman, but he doesn't have a chance in this fight, even though he has the best chance of any Mexican to beat Mayweather.
"Floyd's dedication and sacrifices to be the best are what all young fighters should aspire to be like. I can only hope that someday a few of our fighters even come close to being the fighter Floyd is."