By Miguel Maravilla
Photos: Gene Blevins – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy
Former two-time world champion Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KOs) and current interim WBC welterweight champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (30-1-1, 18KOs) faced off at the kickoff press conference Tuesday afternoon in Los Angeles at the Clive Owen Theater at the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live. They officially announced their welterweight showdown for Guerrero’s interim WBC welterweight title which will take place November 24 at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California live on HBO World Championship Boxing.
Getting things started Tuesday afternoon was Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer as he welcomed the media. “This is the best showdown at 147,” he stated. “I am really pleased we put this fight together on a great weekend. This is a ‘thank you’ to the fight fans on Thanksgiving weekend.”
“We have two warriors, former champions and when you have two fighters of this caliber fighting each other you know you have a special event,” Schaefer added.
Robert Guerrero was in good spirits and sounds ready. “I believe I can knock him out,” said ‘The Ghost.’ “I want to send him home hurting and damaged. They don’t give me the credit I deserve, so I just have to keep winning. I wanted to find one of the strongest guys out there that no one else wanted to fight to prove I’m the best.”
Andre Berto followed. “I am excited,” he said. Everyone that knows my story. I went through a hell of a year. I am hungry. This is what I needed. I am looking forward to November 24. I know Robert is excited and he is coming to fight but I am also coming to fight.”
Robert Guerrero is coming off a unanimous decision win over then undefeated WBC number one contender Selcuk Aydin winning the interim WBC welterweight title, last July in San Jose, California. Prior to his fight with Aydin, the ghost was inactive for over a year as he won a unanimous decision over Michael Katsidis back in April of 2011. A showdown with Marcos Maidana was then set for August of 2011 but Guerrero suffered a rotator cuff injury which held him back forcing him to recover for nearly a year. Guerrero now prepares for Andre Berto, a fighter that has also seen his share of inactivity.
“I am excited to be back in the ring so quick. I got the ring rust off that last fight with Aydin who is a tough guy and was the mandatory to Berto, Ortiz and Mayweather for three years,” Guerrero told Fightnews.com. “Berto is a slick guy. He’s very relaxed in the ring. A hard pucher, so we have to take advantage of that.”
The 2004 Haitian Olympian Andre Berto will return to the ring for the first time in over a year, since September 2011 when he won the IBF welterweight title by fifth round TKO over Jan Zaveck. Berto later vacated the IBF title to pursue a rematch with Victor Ortiz which was a fight of the year candidate. The rematch with Ortiz was set early this year for February. An injury to Berto would postpone the fight with Ortiz to June, interestingly Berto later tested positive for a banned substance and the fight with Ortiz was off. Now Berto will leave his positive test for a banned substance and the Victor Ortiz fight in the pass as he now looks forward to his fight with the “Ghost” Guerrero.
“He is a crafty southpaw. He always comes to fight and throws a lot of punches but we are ready for whatever he brings,” Berto told Fightnews.com.
Both fighters have also agreed to do random drug testing for their upcoming bout as Berto had his issue last year with a banned substance. Guerrero suffered a decision loss to Orlando Salido back in November of 2006, the bout was later declared a no-contest after Salido tested positive for steroids.
“I have been in with a fighter that has been on steroids before. That’s no joke. That’s why we pushed for the drug testing. The California State Athletic Commission has assured us to step their game up. They will take care of business and that’s what makes me comfortable being able to focus on what I have to do and him not being sauced up,” Guerrero told us.
Berto commented, “I am doing things different. I can’t reveal any secrets. We are going to be ready and sharp. This fight means everything. Within this last year I learned a lot, certain things happen. I have been blessed to work my way out of it and I am excited to be back.”
Berto vs. Guerrero will headline the HBO World Championship Boxing triple header on Thanksgiving weekend. Also on the card Cuban WBA Interim Lightweight champion Richard Abril (17-3-1, 8KOs) coming off a controversial decision loss to Brandon Rios will take on the undefeated Sharif “The Lion” Bogere (23-0, 15KOs) of Uganda, for Abril’s WBA Lightweight title. Keith “One Time” Thurman (18-0, 17KOs) and former world champion Carlos “Indio” Quintana (29-3, 23KOs) will square off in a twelve round junior middleweight bout. One thing is certain boxing fans will be treated to an exciting night of boxing Thanksgiving weekend.
“I am excited to get back in the ring and show my talent November 24 you will see the same fast strong Andre Berto,” Berto told Fightnews.com.
Guerrero told us, “Expect me to come to fight hard as always. You will see a ready and strong Robert Guerrero. Expect a great fight and me to come out on top.”