Robert Guerrero won world titles at 126 and 130 and interim titles at 135 and 147, and has shared the ring with some top fighters over the years. But at 36, it’s been a while since “The Ghost” has been considered a serious contender, and frankly speaking, it looked like it was all over for him the last couple of times anyone really saw him fight.
Those fights, a 2016 loss to David Peralta and a 2017 wipeout at the hands of Omar Figueroa Jr, looked like the end of the trail for Guerrero. In fact, he announced his retirements two days after he was mowed down by Figueroa. In that fight, Guerrero gave his usual hard-nosed effort, but a younger, fresher fighter who threw a lot and could take shots was just too much for him.
It seemed as good a time as any for Guerrero to hang up the gloves, but after a year away, he got the itch again, returning to fight last December, beating club fighter Adam Mate by second round stoppage, and he returned again in March, stopping Hevinson Herrera, another journeyman.
Guerrero (35-6-1, 20 KO) is now set to fight on Sept. 28, when he laces up on the big Spence-Porter undercard from Los Angeles’ Staples Center. He’ll be facing Jerry Thomas (14-1-1, 8 KO), a 30-year-old low-level scrapper out of Kansas.
“I feel great right now,” Guerrero said at a media workout. “Everything has been going smoothly and I can’t wait to just go to work out there. All the hard stuff is done, now it’s just maintaining and staying ready.
”I’m excited for this opportunity. I’m well prepared and ready to go. It’s like any other fight. You leave no stone unturned, execute your game plan and do what you have to do to win.”
Thomas’ biggest fight to date came in Aug. 2016, when he lost an eight-round split decision to Danny O’Connor in Topeka.
On paper, you can sort of see what PBC are probably thinking here — they’ve got a lot of top welterweights, and rehabbing Guerrero and putting him on a winning streak potentially gives them someone else to throw back into the mix. Guerrero has already lost to Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia, yes, but he still has a little name value, and, frankly, not every fight is going to be a bonanza that fight fans are dying to see. That’s never been boxing and it’s never going to be.
”The fans are going to get what they always get from me,” Guerrero said. “I’m going to come to fight, take care of business and leave everyone with something to remember.”
At the same time, Guerrero says he’s now aiming to fight smarter. As he moved up in weight, Guerrero abandoned a lot of his boxing approach and became something of a mauler, a surprising move that worked out well against Andre Berto in 2012, when Guerrero won a grueling war, but did him no favors in the losses that followed, nor in a very narrow split decision win over Aron Martinez in 2015.
”In a lot of my fights, I just walked guys down,” he said. “I’ve had guys like Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia fighting just to hang in there, and I wasn’t even fighting to my full potential. I was just walking them down. But my skills are boxing, that’s how I fought at the lighter weights. I got away from what I was good at.”
Guerrero’s been a pro for 18 years now with plenty of success. Odds are against him, if we’re being honest, becoming a top welterweight contender again, but if he can put together a run, he’s with the right promotional company to get another crack if nothing else.