By Ricardo Conde
Three-time world champion Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (26-1-1, 18 KOs) of Gilroy, CA will step back into the ring on Saturday, July 31 against four-time world champion Joel “El Cepillo” Casamayor (37-4-1, 22 KOs) of Cuba at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV in a 10-round junior welterweight bout on the undercard of “Fight of the Year: The Rematch” which is being headlined by Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez taking on Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz and will be televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View and is being presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Marquez Promotions and tickets are available at www.mandalaybay.com, www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.
We had a moment to sit down and talk to Robert Guerrero as he prepares for his upcoming bout against Joel Casamayor and here’s what he had to say:
You’re scheduled to face future hall-of-famer and four-time world champion Joel Casamayor, what is your opinion of him and give us your thoughts on this fight?
Joel Casamayor is a good friend; I’ve known him since I turned professional. I was in training camp with him for a couple years in Los Angeles under Joe Goossen. I know him pretty good; he’s a stand up guy, a good guy. It’s definitely going to be the toughest fight of my career so far. He’s a great fighter; he’s one of the best. You can’t under estimate him and he comes ready to go all the time.
How is training camp going and are you doing anything different in this training camp that you haven’t done for your previous fights?
Training camp is going great; I’m in great shape right now. It’s going good and we’ll be very prepared for the fight and I’m very excited about it. We added a few things, with Joel Casamayor being a lefty we have to implement a lot of different things. We got a good game plan down and we’re putting it all together and we’re going to be ready for July 31st.
You had received a lot of criticism after your fight with Daud Yordan, what kind of statement are you looking to make in this fight with Casamayor; will you be looking for the knockout?
I never go out there looking for the knockout, but if it comes then it comes. I’m going to be 100% prepared and go out there and put on a good show for the fans. Joel Casamayor is the biggest fight of my career so far and I got to go out there and tear it up and make a statement that I’m one of the top guys in the game right now.
In your opinion, who do you feel has been your toughest opponent to date and why?
Well, I would put everybody I’ve fought in the same category. It’s how hard you prepare for a fight that to me that’s the toughest part about boxing is getting prepared for a fight. If you’re well prepared and blessed with a lot of talent then the fights are a lot easier but if you don’t prepare right then that’s what makes the fights tough. Every fight I’ve prepared 100%, so I put everyone in the same category.
Before your fight with Roberto Arrieta, you hadn’t fought for almost a year; do you think that having been out of the ring for so long had any affect on you during the fight with Arrieta?
No, not at all. I didn’t get tired when I was in the ring. There are some things that I didn’t do that I wanted to do but other than that I felt good. I could have taken him out a lot earlier in the fight but being out for so long I wanted to get some rounds in and shake of any ring rust if there was any, so I carried him a bit longer then I got him out of there.
You have a very tough assignment on July 31st, but should you get past Joel Casamayor, any idea who you’d like to face next?
I’m hoping to get the winner of Marquez-Diaz but on the 31st I have to get past Casamayor so all the focus is on him right now.
What made you decide to move up to junior welterweight and do you have any plans on moving back down to lightweight?
Well, I am moving up to junior welterweight for this fight but if I can get the winner of Marquez-Diaz then I’d be willing to move back down to lightweight, but I’m happy to be fighting at junior welterweight for this fight. When I was at 130 pounds I wanted to unify the title but I never got the chance to so God willing everything goes well in this fight and maybe I’ll get a title shot and then I hope to get a chance to unify at some point. We’ll see what happens after this fight and then we’ll decide what the next move will be.
The junior welterweight division is full of many talented fighters, what’s your opinion of the current junior welterweight division?
It’s a strong division and I’m excited to be in it. There’s a lot of good fighters in this division, Casamayor, Amir Khan is right there, Erik Morales just came back, there’s a bunch of fighters right there and it’s a stacked division, Humberto Soto is right there too. All those guys are there and I’m excited to be in the mix. It’s awesome because you have many of the top fighters that are in it and to be able to be in the shoes I’m in to be one of those guys, I’m just excited about it.
You are signed with Oscar De La Hoya’s, Golden Boy Promotions; tell us a little bit about that and how it has helped your career?
It’s been a huge help in my career, they’re moving me towards bigger fights like Joel Casamayor more TV fights and I’m very excited about the way things are going. Golden Boy is doing a great job and I’m very happy with the way things are going with them.
Your wife has been battling a life threatening illness, can you talk to us a little bit about that, what her condition is and what kind of inspiration and/or motivation it gives you to see her continue to fight that battle?
Right now her condition is great; she’s doing so good, so I’m excited about that and since her condition has improved we decided to take this fight. So far the treatments are going really well. To see how hard it’s been for her going through all the treatments and being in the hospital, being so sick and battling for your life, it’s been very inspiring to see how tough she is. The will she has to continue living and being by her side and helping her through that battle has been very hard but still inspiring, I just love spending time with my family and enjoying every moment of it.
Is there anything you would like to tell your fans?
Yes, definitely. I’d like to thank everyone out there for all their support and July 31st please tune in because it’s going to be an exciting fight and one of the toughest fights of my career with Joel Casamayor. It’s going to be an awesome event. I’m excited about it and I can’t wait and I’m going to be 100% ready for it.