Does Robert 'The Ghost' Guerrero Intimidate Juan Manuel Marquez?
Having battled through a disputed draw and a questionable loss, respectively, with southpaw WBO welterweight (147 pounds) and WBC junior middleweight (154 pounds) king Manny Pacquiao, WBA and WBO lightweight (135 pounds) titlist, Juan Manuel Marquez, often has called out Pacquiao, claiming that his rival fears the prospect of facing him in a third bout.
A southpaw former two-time IBF featherweight (126 pounds) and one-time IBF super featherweight (130 pounds) titlist, lightweight contender, Robert Guerrero (28-1-1, 18 knockouts), has similarly sought an initial match up with Marquez (51-5-1, 38 KOs), being the mandatory challenger to Marquez's WBO belt.
"In the past, I've tried to be respectful about it and I've tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. But I think that he just doesn't want to get into the ring with me," said Guerrero. "You know, boxing is supposed to be about making big prize fights, and it's just too bad. I guess that the warrior has left him, and that he's kind of hanging by a thread."
In November, Guerrero was at ringside when Marquez rose from a third-round knockdown to score a ninth-round knockout over WBO interim king Michael Katsidis in an HBO televised, Golden Boy Promotions clash.
In the aftermath of his triumph over Katsidis, Marquez mentioned Pacquiao, yet again, or, perhaps a move to junior welterweight (140 pounds), where he could perhaps challenge WBA king Amir Khan (24-1, 17 KOs) in an attempt to become the first-ever Mexican fighter to earn a crown in a fourth weight class.
But a disappointed Guerrero did not hear Marquez call out his name.
"I'm the No. 1 contender and the mandatory to fight him. He'll honor every other mandatory but when it comes up to me being the mandatory, he's quiet like a church mouse. I guess I'm like that owl waiting in that barn waiting for those field mice to run by," said Guerrero.
"But that's funny, because I've earned the right to be there. But when I got into the mandatory spot, and my name was mentioned, he never acknowledged me," said Guerrero. "But every other fighter, it seemed got named except me. There's a reason for that. Obviously, he doesn't want to fight."
Riding a 12-fight winning streak that includes nine stoppages, Guerrero last suffered defeat by a December, 2005 split-decision to Gamaliel Diaz, whom Guerrero stopped in the sixth round of their June, 2006 rematch.
On the under card of Marquez's main events, Guerrero has dominated his past two bouts, scoring two knockdowns in November's unanimous decision over Vicente Escobedo (22-3, 14 KOs), and, himself, rising from a final-round knockdown during July's unanimous decision rout of former four-time world champion and Cuban Olympic gold medalist Joel Casamayor (37-5-1, 22 KOs).
Marquez owns a September, 2008, 11th-round knockout of Casamayor, who was stopped for the first time in his career -- this, when he Casamayor was coming off of a March of 2008, 10th-round knockout of Katsidis.
"After his last fight with Michael Katsidis, I actually got into the ring and shook his hand and looked him in the eye because I had just won the mandatory fight, and I said, 'Congratulations on your win,'" said Guerrero.
"That's how I am with everybody. I look everybody directly in the eye when I talk to them," said Guerrero. "I shake their hand and look them in the eye. I do that every time that I talk to him or anyone else. I do that because he's a man and I'm a man, but, you know, some people get intimidated by that."
Like his fighter, Guerrero's manager, Bob Santos, believes that Marquez is simply avoiding him.
"Let me clear the air. Guerrero has earned the right to fight Marquez and HBO would get behind this bout. Outside of Pacquiao and [Floyd] Mayweather, Marquez will make more money fighting Guerrero then he would with anyone else. So money isn't the issue," said Santos.
"The fact is that Marquez knows Guerrero will beat him. Honestly, Marquez has become that fighter he's always complained about when he was avoided by [Marco Antonio] Barrera and Morales," said Santos. "My main objective is to keep Robert busy. He'll be fighting in April on HBO, and [Golden Boy Promotions CEO] Richard Schaefer foresees him fighting again in June."
The 37-year-old Marquez (pictured, above at left) is likely for an all-Mexican bout on April 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas opposite the 34-year-old, three-division king Erik Morales (51-6, 35 KOs). Guerrero is to face an opponent to be determined on the under card.
"I've come to the realization that Marquez absolutely wants no part of me. I'm his mandatory, and he's choosing to fight Morales. I don't want to hear any nonsense that I don't have a big enough name, or that he's not going to make the money that he wants fighting me," said Guerrero.
"I'm a three-time world champion, I've fought on national TV numerous times, and, more importantly, I believe this is a fight the fans want to see. So I'm not going to wait around for Marquez," said Guerrero. "I'm just going to move forward with my career and strive for that fourth world title. I take him avoiding me and not willing to fight as a victory. And if Morales wants to step into the ring with me, then please send me the contract."
Despite his frustrations over the situation with Marquez, the 27-year-old Guerrero described a recent meeting with Schaefer as having been positive.
"Their goal is to keep me active.They said that my next fight will be on April 9, regardless of what the outcome is with Marquez and Morales. I'm seeking the biggest fights out there," said Guerrero.
"I mentioned to Golden Boy if they couldn't make the Marquez fight, then make the Morales fight or the Pacquiao or Mayweather fight," said Guerrero. "Richard Schaefer said that if they can make the fight with Morales or Marquez, then they'll do it, because HBO wants to see it. I'll step over Marquez and fight whoever. There are talks of me fighting for a [vacant] WBO belt."
Santos could forsee a move to 140 pounds, where Khan, or, even WBO and WBC king, Tim Bradley (27-0, 11 KOs) could become possibilities.
"Realistically, he's big and strong and could fight any of those guys at 140 pounds because he's bigger than a lot of those guys. Robert's got one of those bodies that can fight in and around multiple weight classes," said Santos.
"As long as he's fighting at a high, high level, then people are going to demand those Amir Khan fights and those Timothy Bradley fights," said Santos. "Marquez is not the be all and end all. So it's about putting him on that path of ascending to up that pound-for-pound list."
Guerrero is beginning to think that he would have a better chance landing a bout opposite Mayweather or Pacquiao before one against Marquez.
"I just don't think that Marquez wants it anymore," said Guerrero. "I'm just a young, strong, fast big guy, and he's seen that because I've fought on some of his under cards. It's like he's looking for every excuse not to fight me and looking for any way out."