By David L. Hudson Jr.
In Newark, New Jersey, on November 6th, two young lightweight warriors Robert “the Ghost Guerrero and Vincent “Chente” Escobedo square off with the winner expecting a world title shot. Escobedo, who sports a record of 22-2, finds his first opportunity for an HBO-televised fight against Guerrero, who is 27-1. Between the two pugilists, they have lost a total of three fights – all by split decision.
“Everything is on the line,” Escobedo says. “I believe Robert feels the same way. I can’t wait. This means everything to me.” Guerrero, who has a long winning streak, echoes Escobedo’s sentiments, saying that “this should be a great fight. I go into every fight as a champion.”
Guerrero is coming off an impressive, lopsided decision victory over Joel Casamayor, who once was mentioned among the very best in boxing. He knows that a victory could propel him to yet another world title. “I do not take Vincent lightly,” he said. “I know what he can do – we fought three times in the amateurs and he won the last fight.”
Escobedo is stepping up in class in facing Escobedo. The last time he stepped in class he lost to Michael Katsidis in a split decision. “I feel I am better prepared for this opportunity. I lost that fight to Katsidis based on experience. He was more experienced than me and it showed.”
The two fighters share mutual respect for each other, having traveled to amateur tournaments and even squaring off three times in the amateurs with a 2-1 split for Guerrero, who first won a world professional title – the IBF featherweight crown – in September 2006. Guerrero has not lost a fight since he dropped a split decision to Gamaliel Diaz back in March 2006.
“I’m excited to be facing a top-level fighter like Robert,” Escobedo said. “With all respect to Robert, it is going to be a good, tough fight. … I am glad to have the opportunity to be in there with one of the best. ..I’m going to leave it all in the ring for all the fans.”
Promoter Oscar De La Hoya said: “At Golden Boy, we try to make the best fights possible. It is going to be a great fight.”