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Spence vs Porter: Robert Guerrero and Joey Spencer primed for FS1 prelim bouts

Veteran Robert Guerrero and prospect Joey Spencer will be featured on Saturday’s FS1 prelims.

Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

This Saturday night’s big PBC FOX pay-per-view from Los Angeles kicks off at 9 pm ET, but there will be a pair of prelim fights airing at 7:30 pm ET on FS1, too, with the featured fighters on opposite ends of the career spectrum.

First up will be 19-year-old junior middleweight Joey Spencer, a young fighter that Premier Boxing Champions are clearly quite high on. He’ll take on 29-year-old Massachusetts club fighter Travis Gambardella in a fight scheduled for four rounds.

In the featured prelim fight, Robert Guerrero, a 36-year-old welterweight veteran, looks to continue a comeback that began in Dec. 2018, facing Kansas fighter Jerry Thomas.

For Spencer, it’s another chance to turn some heads on a big night for PBC.

“People have expectations from me having this exposure at a young age, but I like it,” he said. “It’s going to prepare me for the pressure of future fights better than others might be. I’m happy with the way I’m progressing.”

Spencer (8-0, 6 KO) is still a long way off from contention on paper, but is hoping to start fast-tracking himself.

“In a perfect world, I’ll be a top contender by this time next year. Hopefully, I’ll be talked about with the other champions. That’s the dream and that’s what I’m working for.”

Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions

Gambardella is coming into this fight with no pressure or expectations. The native of Revere, Massachusetts, turned pro in Mar. 2017, when he was already 27. He drew in his first outing, and again in his fourth, and has otherwise been a winner in a series of low-level bouts.

“I can’t express how excited I am to be here. This is the biggest stage I’ve competed on and I’m very thankful for the opportunity,” he said.

“This is a dream come true. I got this fight because of what I’ve done in my career so far. This is the biggest moment of my life. Everything I’ve worked for the last 15 years comes into this.”

Guerrero (35-6-1, 20 KO) looked done two years ago. In fact, he was done — he was beaten up in a valiant effort against Omar Figueroa Jr, stopped in the third round, and retired two days later.

But about 16 months later, Guerrero was back in action. His two wins since his return have been against lower-level opposition, experienced journeyman types, and if anything this fight with Thomas (14-1-1, 8 KO) may not even be as risky as either of those were. This time, “The Ghost” will be on TV on a fairly big stage, looking to show he still belongs.

”I just love this sport,” Guerrero said. “When you’re a junkyard dog, that’s what you are. You want to go out and fight. I’ve been feeling great and I can’t wait to go make it happen.”

Guerrero says he’d gotten complacent before, but that he feels hungry once again.

”I’ve had a great camp in Las Vegas. In past years, I wasn’t even having a strong training camp like this,” he said. “When you’re at this top level, you can’t leave any stone unturned, and I was leaving them unturned. Now, it’s time to take care of business on Saturday.”

Thomas, 30, is being doubted, and it’s not hard to understand why. He’s fought his entire pro career in Topeka and Kansas City, which is not exactly a hotbed for high-level boxing. In his biggest career test, he lost a decision to Danny O’Connor in Aug. 2016, and O’Connor was never quite a contender.

“I’m grateful to be here with an opportunity to fight Guerrero and show everyone what I’ve got,” Thomas said. “I’m expected to lose, but I’m not going to. I’m here to win and I expect to win.”

Thomas has respect for Guerrero, and knows that he’s in with the best opponent of his career — and he hopes to be the one to end Robert’s run in the sport.

“It’s a little surreal to be in a fight against Roert Guerrero. He’s a warrior, so this is going to be a great fight,” he said. “But I think his career is coming to an end and I have an opportunity to make that happen.

“I really didn’t think my career would ever be here, but I’ve been ready for this forever. Now is my opportunity to put on a show, and it’s going to be a good one.”

Guerrero is hoping an impressive win will put him back in the mix with PBC’s heavier hitters at 147.

”I want to jump right back into these big fights. There’s a stacked welterweight division and it continues on Saturday night. This fight puts me right back in line.”

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