By David Robinett
Photos: Armando Roldan
It was a homecoming Tuesday for former IBF featherweight champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, who was in San Jose with NABO and USBA junior welterweight titlist “Vicious” Victor Ortiz to announce their HBO Boxing After Dark tripleheader at HP Pavilion in San Jose on March 7, 2009. Guerrero, (23-1-1, 16 KOs), who lives and trains in nearby Gilroy, California, talked about how important it was to him to be fighting so close to his hometown.”I finally made it out to the bay,” said Guerrero. “I’ve been talking about making it out here for years. A big HBO show coming to San Jose for the first time is what Bay Area sports fans have been waiting for. I can’t wait to showcase my talents for my hometown fans on March 7th.” Playing the role of comic relief, the affable Ortiz, (23-1-1, 18 KOs) added, “I’m happy to be fighting in San Jose, people have been asking ‘Vic, when are you coming to the Bay Area?’ and I didn’t know what to say until I realized they call San Jose the ‘Bay Area’, I’m from Kansas you know [laughing].”
Guerrero and Ortiz talked about their growth and maturation as fighters, in particular recent sparring sessions: Guerrero with Shane Mosley and Ortiz with Oscar de la Hoya. Both fighters also acknowledged the opportunity to capture some of the spotlight from their more established peers, and the need to impress on the upcoming card.
“Its going to be exciting having Victor out there, myself, and Kirkland,” explained Guerrero. “We’re the young up and coming fighters and its time for us to take over, it’s a new era.”
“I promise the fans that they’re going to see the best of me on March 7th,” said Ortiz. “I’m on a great card with great fighters and I’m excited about coming back to California to fight.”
Guerrero also spoke about his opponent on March 7th, relatively unknown Indonesian prospect Daud “Cino” Yordan, (15-0, 10 KOs), admitting that he did not have a wealth of information on his opponent.
“I’ve seen a little bit of tape, about four rounds,” said Guerrero. “He’s a good boxer, he’s fast, a sharpshooter. I know he’s coming to fight and he’ll be ready.” The 21-year-old Yordan was recently signed by Golden Boy Promotions, which in a press release described him as having an “aggressive, hard-punching style.” Guerrero explained that he’ll continue to try and learn more about the Indonesian before their bout, but would not focus too much on Yordan’s prior matchups.
“We’ll get as much information as we can [about Yordan] and cover all angles, but we’ll work on everything,” said Guerrero. “Sometimes you can get in with a guy who fights one way but ends up showing you a different style in the ring. Having a variety of sparring helps out a lot with preparing for that. But, I’m a boxer-puncher, I come to fight all the time. If I have to change it up I can change it up.”
Ortiz was less philosophical about his opponent on March 7th, Greek junior welterweight “Mighty” Mike Arnaoutis, (21-2-1, 10 KOs), a boxer who is expected to try and keep some distance between him and the explosive Ortiz.
“Well first off its two left-handers so that makes it a little weird, but I’ve been sparring with some great fighters, some fighters who are really slick so I’ll be ready. I’m not expecting an easy fight, but I’ll be ready if it goes twelve rounds.”
Although neither was in attendance, it was announced that the headlining fighters on the HBO telecast would be James Kirkland, (24-0, 21 KOs), and Joel Julio, (34-2, 31 KOs), in a ten-round junior middleweight bout that few figure will go the distance. A fourth bout, on the untelevised undercard, features undefeated local heavyweight Ashanti Jordan (7-0, 6 KOs) facing off against Hermann Binek (7-1, 6 KOs).
After the fighters finished talking about their opponents, Guerrero was asked again about the importance to him of fighting in San Jose, as well as his relationship with new handler Golden Boy Promotions, after a lengthy arbitration to cut ties with Goossen Tutor Promotions.
“Everything is different [with Golden Boy Promotions],” explained Guerrero. “You’ve got somebody that’s working hard for you. Sometimes you can work hard for somebody but you don’t get that returned, but with Golden Boy its been like a happily family.”
“I’ve been trying to get a fight in San Jose for years,” continued Guerrero. “And here I’ve only been with Golden Boy for three months and I’m already fighting on HBO in San Jose at the HP [Pavilion], a fight I’ve been trying to get for the longest time.”
Guerrero also talked about his hope for future fights in the Bay Area. “I’ll do what I do best and give it all I got, and hopefully we can show HBO we’re also a fight town too. I really believe the Bay Area is an untapped market for boxing and its just about getting great fights and great fighters like myself, Victor Ortiz, James Kirkland…having big HBO cards and having events, not just fights, but events.”
Before wrapping up, a reporter in attendance alluded to a previous fight where Guerrero likened his hunger to that of a “cockroach”. Asked if he was still “hungry like a cockroach”, having won and defended a title belt, Guerrero answered, “Now I’m hungry like a pack of cockroaches.” Guerrero explained, “There’s nothing hungrier than a cockroach. You get a junkyard dog, you feed him, and he’s full. But a cockroach is always hungry, and that’s what you have to be, you have to be hungry all the time because as soon as you’re not hungry in this game, you’re done.”
The March 7th HBO Boxing After Dark tripleheader at HP Pavilion in San Jose, California will be presented by Golden Boy Promotions and begins at 10:00pm ET/PT (tape delayed on the West Coast).