Erik Morales-Marcos Maidana, Robert Guerrero-Michael Katsidis Set
Southpaw lightweight (135 pounds) Robert Guerrero, of Gilroy, Calif., will meet Australia's Michael Katsidis in an HBO pay per view televised bout on April 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on the under card of a Golden Boy Promotions main event featuring three-division titlist Erik Morales of Mexico and former WBA interim junior welterweight (140 pounds) titlist Marcos Rene Maidana of Argentina, Guerrero's manager, Bobby Santos, said during a phone call to Fanhouse.
A former two-time IBF featherweight (126 pounds) and one-time IBF super featherweight (130 pounds) titlist who is nicknamed, "The Ghost," the 27-year-old Guerrero (28-1-1, 18 knockouts) was slated to face the 30-year-old Katsidis (27-3, 22 KOs) in March of 2010 before pulling out of their clash to care for his wife, Casey Guerrero, who has since recovered from a life-threatening battle with leukemia thanks to a bone marrow transplant.
Casey was at ringside for her husband's most recent wins over 2004 Olympian Vicente Escobedo, in November, and for July's unanimous decision rout of former four-time world champion and Cuban Olympic gold medalist Joel Casamayor.
The card will also include a middleweight (160 pounds) bout during which 39-year-old southpaw former world champion Winky Wright (51-5-1, 25 KOs), of Saint Petersburg, Fla., will be ending a nearly two-year ring absence against 28-year-old Matthew Macklin (28-2, 19 KOs) of England.
Macklin is riding an 11-fight winning streak that includes six knockouts since last suffering defeat by 10th-round knockout against Jamie Moore in September of 2006.
Santos said that southpaw junior middleweight (154 pounds) contender, James Kirkland (25-0, 22 KOs) is likely for the card as well, this, assuming he gets beyond a schedule March 5 return to the ring on the under card of an HBO televised bout between Mexico's 20-year-old WBC welterweight (147 pounds) silver belt titlist Saul Alvarez (35-0-1, 26 KOs) and England's 29-year-old Matthew Hatton (41-4-2, 16 KOs), who is the younger brother of former world champion, Ricky Hatton.
Kirkland was released from Bastrop Federal Prison, in Bastrop, Tex., in September after having pled guilty to a charge of gun possession in April of 2009. Kirkland spent time in an Austin, Tex., halfway house.
But Kirkland was pulled out of potential spot on the under card of an HBO televised Dec. 11, main event that featured WBA junior welterweight champ Amir Khan (24-1, 17 KOs) of England scoring a unanimous over Maidana.
Guerrero was at ringside in November when 37-year-old WBA and WBO lightweight (135 pounds) titlist, Juan Manuel Marquez (51-5-1, 38 KOs) rose from a third-round knockdown to score a ninth-round knockout over then WBO interim king, Katsidis, and still is the WBO's mandatory challenger to face Marquez.
In the aftermath of his triumph over Katsidis, however, three-division champ, Marquez, attempted to make a bout with the 34-year-old Morales (51-6, 35 KOs).
When the Marquez-Morales negotiations failed, however, Morales-Maidana (29-2, 27 KOs) was made instead, said Santos, this, after Morales refused to face Guerreo.
"What took place was that, obviously, the April 9 date, HBO, and, Golden Boy, they obviously wanted Marquez-Guerrero, but Marquez wanted no part of it," said Santos.
"They kept saying, Morales, Morales. And then, they said, 'Well, let's do Morales-Marquez,' but they couldn't come to an agreement," said Santos. "Then they brought up the notion of Morales fighting Guerrero, and, basically, Morales said, 'Let me look at some tape."
After examining the video of Guerrero, Santos said that Morales elected, instead, to face Maidana.
"I was told by that Morales said that Guerrero was just 'too young, too fast and too good, and, I think that I have a much better chance at beating Maidana than I do Guerrero, and, I will not fight Guerrero, but I'll fight Maidana,' said Santos.
"So I just find that it's fascinating that Morales would rather fight a junior welterweight and a former junior welterweight world champion than Guerrero," said Santos. "Golden Boy said directly to me that Morales feels that he has a better opportunity and a better chance at beating Maidana than he does Guerrero."
Santos said that he is hoping that the WBO will eventually strip Marquez for avoiding Guerrero, and to order Guerrero to then face a mandated opponent for the vacant crown.
"I do believe that there is a big chance that Katsidis and Guerrero could maybe be for the WBO championship, considering that we've been the mandatory for a while now. And it's getting to a point that they've contacted him and asked, 'are you going to end up fighting him or are you not going to do it," said Santos.
"I think that Robert took care of his wife, and he gave up his title and vacated it because he didn't think that it was right to hold up the title," said Santos. "So if he could do that last year against Katsidis, then, obviously, maybe Marquez will do the prudent thing and the right thing and leave the title vacated, and, if not, then he's going to have to fight Guerrero at some point, which he just absolutely has refused to do."