By Sam Geraci
Coming off shoulder surgery and nearly a fourteen month layoff, three division world champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KOs) established himself as a legitimate welterweight threat by moving up two weight classes to defeat previously unbeaten Selcuk “Mini Tyson” Aydin (23-1, 17 KOs) on Saturday night at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA, over twelve hard-fought rounds to capture the Interim WBC Welterweight Title via unanimous decision with scores of 117-111, 116-112, and 116-112.
Unlike the pre-fight hype and antics at the weigh-in, throughout the press conference, both fighters were gracious and respectful of each other and their performances.
“He was strong. Very strong. I hit him with some great shots and he just kept coming,” said Guerrero when asked what Aydin did best.
Aydin, who appeared to enjoy the role of villain throughout the pre-fight hype and weigh-in, expressed that he wanted everyone to know that he is not a bad guy and that he is happy for the health of Guerrero’s wife. At times on this trip to the US, Aydin expressed that he felt like he was depicted as a bad character like Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. Aydin also acknowledged that Turkey doesn’t prepare its fighters like the US does and that he was thankful for the lessons that Guerrero taught him in the ring.
“If I would have had boxing like in the US, I would do better things. Robert is a very experienced fighter. He showed me a little and taught me a little boxing. I couldn’t really do what I wanted. I fought only with my desire. I hope I get my chance again,” said Aydin speaking through a translator.
While Aydin looks to retool in order to earn another title shot, Guerrero believes he is ready for the best and is looking to establish himself as the top fighter at 147lbs.
“Bring anybody, man. Like I said, I am looking for the best fights; it’s just trying to get these guys in the ring. I’m looking for the best fights. I’m the mandatory for Floyd now; let’s make it happen,” said Guerrero when asked about fighting Andre Berto who was ringside for the fight.
Although Guerrero has made it clear that he is looking to land a mega-fight against Mayweather, several reporters at the press conference pressed Guerrero on whom he would fight if not Mayweather and if he would consider a move to 140lbs for a big money fight.
“No. I’m the champ at 147 now. So, you know, all the guys from 135 went to 140 and nobody wanted to fight me at 135 so why even go down. It’s just a waste of time. I’m gonna stay at 147 and I know everybody’s coming up. So, the title is right here.”
In addition to expressing his desire to remain at 147lbs to fight the top fighters of the division, Guerrero also responded to questions about his surgically repaired shoulder.
“The shoulder feels great; it feels strong. You guys seen me throw an overhand. You seen me throw punches at different angles. I could never throw that before because it was always injured. A lot of people used to always say you gotta punch down a little, but I couldn’t because it always hurt. I was always compensating. They [doctors and therapists] did a tremendous job on rehabbing.”
When asked about appearing to struggle in the tenth round, Guerrero responded honestly but with confidence.
“You got to pace yourself. I went in there and stayed in there a little too long. It drains you a little bit. I took a round off, and you know, picked it up again. Like I said, I stood there a little too long. They wanted me to box, use my jab, turn him, but hey, I’ve been off a year. I’m back now.”
Going into the fight, the biggest question surrounding Guerrero was whether he could take a punch from a legitimate 147lb fighter. Based on his performance and his post-fight comments, he seems to have answered that question.
“He hit hard. He never hurt me at anytime. He got some punching power. He is one of the hardest punching guys in the division. He came to throw bombs and he landed some bombs on me. You know, I just shrugged him off and kept going.”
Based on his performance and post-fight comments, it seems as though Guerrero is content and ready to challenge the top fighters at 147lbs. In addition, with big-named opponents like Berto and Mayweather being tossed around as potential opponents, it seems as though Guerrero is going to be a mainstay at 147lbs for the near future.