By David Robinett
Moments after an unintentional clash of heads in the seventh round in his bout again Efren “Huracan” Hinojosa, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero felt a familiar sensation over his left eye. “You can tell when you’re cut because it feels warm [there],” explained Guerrero. “I felt it right away, and inside I smiled a little.” In a fight aimed at gaining redemption for a controversial no-contest months earlier, where Guerrero advised the referee he could not see after suffering a cut over his right eye against Daud Yordan, the tension was palpable as the hometown crowd waited to see how their fighter would react to a somewhat poetic déjà vu. To their relief, Guerrero remained unfazed.
“I just relaxed and kept working,” said Guerrero. “When you get overexcited you run into more cuts, headbutts, and things like that so I just wanted to stay focused.” At the end of an exciting seventh round, Guerrero walked back to his corner noticeably smiling, clearly recognizing that all eyes were on him and the trail of blood streaming down his left cheek.
Up to that point, Guerrero had been in control against Hinojosa, even though he was fighting at lightweight for the first time in his career due to the demands of Hinojosa, himself a natural lightweight who took the fight on less than a week’s notice. Their bout was the main event on an abbreviated card televised on ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights” from HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.
The southpaw Guerrero started off well, constantly flicking out his right jab as Hinojosa unsuccessfully tried to slip by Guerrero’s jab and land his own right hand. As Hinojosa became more aggressive in charging forward, Guerrero did a nice job of ducking under several of Hinojosa’s punches. In round two, Guerrero began to catch Hinojosa more coming in, particularly with his left hand.
Guerrero’s jab started to lose a little bit of its snap in round three, and Hinojosa took advantage by landing a couple of solid right hands, but Guerrero answered back with several straight left hands and left hooks, rocking Hinojosa repeatedly. The higher weight appeared most noticeable with the effect of Guerrero’s punches on Hinojosa. Guerrero, who has good power, rocked Hinojosa throughout the fight but Hinojosa never appeared badly hurt by punches that surely would have more seriously damaged fighters a weight class or two lower, where Guerrero normally fights. Guerrero acknowledged the weight difference but did not appear to have any difficulty adjusting.
“I felt I did everything right,” said Guerrero. “He got a couple of good shots in even though I slipped a lot of it, but I wasn’t hurt. I knew he was going to be tough but I felt good, I felt strong in there.”
After answering his critics in round seven, Guerrero used his boxing skills to continue to control the game Hinojosa in round eight, circling Hinojosa and using his jab and straight left hand. Guerrero punctuated the round with a ripping left hook to the body just before the bell. Between rounds, Hinojosa complained of an arm injury and referee Dan Snell stopped the fight on the advice of the ringside physician. With the win, Guerrero improves to 24-1-1, 17 KOs, while Hinojosa drops to 30-6-1, 17 KOs.
“It felt good to get in the rounds, I haven’t had that many rounds in a couple of years,” Guerrero acknowledged. After the fight Guerrero’s co-manager Shelly Finkel told reporters ringside that he had completed a deal for Guerrero to challenge Malcolm Klassen for the South African’s IBF junior lightweight title on August 22, 2009, in Houston, Texas, to be televised by HBO.
Garcia Crushes Miranda!
Undefeated prospect Danny Garcia, (13-0, 8 KOs), easily dispatched challenger Pavel Miranda, (18-4, 10 KOs), before scoring a TKO at 56 seconds into the second round of a scheduled eight-round welterweight bout. Garcia started strong in round one, alternating a powerful left jab with a fast lead left hook. Miranda tried to counter but Garcia was able to duck under Miranda’s slower punches, particularly Miranda’s left hook.
Garcia scored his first knockdown seconds into round two, connecting with a short left hook followed by a powerful right hook. Miranda beat the count but appeared unsteady, immediately latching onto Garcia to try and buy some time. However, the first right hook that connected after action resumed dropped Miranda again and referee Ray Balewicz decided he had seen enough and waved off the bout.
In Other Action
Local heavyweight prospect Ashanti Jordan, (10-0, 7 KOs), bounced back from a dreadful performance last month to win an entertaining six-round majority decision over Andrae Carthron, (2-2-1, 1 KO), by scores of 57-57, 59-55, 59-55. Unlike Jordan’s last bout, a win where both fighters combined to land less than a dozen power punches for the entire fight, Jordan and Carthron maintained a steady pace for most of the six rounds before tiring late, with the inexperienced Carthron loading up on nearly all of his punches while the more tactical Jordan countered effectively with both hands.
Carthron appeared to dispense with his jab almost from the start, and while the crowd appreciated his home run swings, Jordan was able to duck and dodge effectively and pepper Carthron with short jabs and straight hands while Carthron was off balance and out of position. Nevertheless, Carthron, who himself appeared exhausted at times, appeared to have the stamina advantage and as Jordan began to tire over the last two rounds, Carthron landed several of his punches, nearly all big looping hooks, but also all arm punches by this stage due to fatigue. Carthron’s big punches were entertaining but by round six there was not enough behind them to drop Jordan, who was able to hold on for the victory.
In the opening bout before the ESPN2 telecast, heavyweights Yohan Banks, (2-2-2, 1 KO), and David Johnson, (5-21-5, 6 KOs), had their contest ruled a technical draw when referee Dan Snell stopped the bout at 1:07 of round two after Johnson complained of vision problems due to a cut caused by an unintentional headbutt.
The final bout of the evening was a rare rematch of two fighters who made their pro debuts in their previous bout. Cruiserweights Henry Wells and Anthony Johnson, who debuted three weeks ago as heavyweights, tangled again as Wells tried to avenge his majority decision loss to Johnson. Alas, there would be no redemption for Wells as he lost to Johnson for a second time, this time by an even wider margin, 39-37, 39-36, 40-35, in a bout that was much closer than the official scores indicated. Wells was much busier than in their first bout, ducking and weaving past the taller Johnson to land left and right hooks past Johnson’s soft jab. But Johnson was able to neutralize Wells inside during several stretches, either tying Wells up or crouching low to deliver his own effective body punches and two-handed uppercuts. A Johnson flurry that coincided with a Wells slip just before the bell in round one was ruled a knockdown and was likely the difference in the fight, as the round could have gone to Wells prior to that.
Bouts featuring undefeated prospects Carlos Velasquez, Juan Velasquez, and Eloy Perez fell through, with Perez’s opponent unable to secure documentation to leave Mexico and no explanation given for the bouts involving the Velasquez twins. The remaining five bouts were presented by Golden Boy Promotions.