Boxing: Guerrero is ready for Thurman

Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero

AROMAS—Tucked away in a gym in Aromas, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero is hard at work preparing for Keith “One Time” Thurman.
Music blared through the gym as Guerrero jumped rope in the ring and threw punches at the speed bag. Though he was surrounded by his team—including his vocal father Ruben Guerrero—“The Ghost” remained focused on the task at hand: handing Thurman his first loss. Guerrero boasts a record of 32-2-1 with 18 knockouts to his opponent’s 24-0-0 mark, which includes 21 KOs.
“When you’ve got a guy like Thurman, who’s got a lot of knockouts, who comes in undefeated, who everyone is just so hyped about, they come to fight,” the Guerrero said. “They come to fight, they bring everything they’ve got, especially since it’s for a title. It’s the main event on NBC. That stuff right there just brings the stuff out of fighters.”
The two fighters will go toe-to-toe in the inaugural bout of the Premier Boxing Champions series main event at 5:30 p.m. March 7 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. On the line is the WBA Welterweight title, currently held by Thurman.
This is Guerrero’s first fight since beating Yoshiro Kamegai by unanimous decision in June 2014. Before that, he hadn’t fought since losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May 2013.
“The Ghost”, who has four titles across four weight classes, has made the jump to 147 pounds after beginning his career at 122. While he’s maintained his power punches—he delivered 411 to Kamegai—critics have accused him of losing his speed, a claim he doesn’t necessarily dispute. But what he may lack in speed, Ruben said, his son makes up for in versatility.
“Robert, he can do it all,” Ruben said. “He can box, he can brawl, he can be a dirty fighter, he can do whatever he wants to do. It all depends what he’s (Thurman) going to bring the table. Whatever he brings to the table, we’re going to match whatever he’s got and we’re going to be ready.”
Another thing that Guerrero has over Thurman is experience. The Gilroy boxer has 11 more bouts under his belt than the 26-year-old Tampa-native. And he’s hoping that will be evident when the bell sounds.
“Experience plays a big role in everything, but also it’s how you react,” Guerrero said. “You got to go out there and be able to fill in the blanks when he comes and (with) what he brings and what he does. You’ve got to be able to capitalize on some different things, be able to change things up. That’s where the experience is going to come into play.”
With the announcement of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao’s long-awaited bout for May 2, all eyes will be on the winner of Guerrero-Thurman as a potential match-up for either Mayweather or Pacquiao. Guerrero said he feels Thurman is overlooking him and already believes he’ll be the next to take on Mayweather, but warned the young boxer not to get ahead of himself.
“He’s already counting his check in the next fight. He’s talking about Mayweather,” Robert said. “From past experiences, you’ve got to look at what’s in front of you now. You got to be ready all the time—no matter who it is. So, to overlook a type of fighter like myself, it’s kind of a slap in the face. It gets you a little bit heated.”
Since signing with the PBC and Al Haymon, Guerrero said he basically has the freedom to decide how frequently he wants to fight. He said he’s looking to being in the ring more often and possibly fighting in the Bay Area again. “The Ghost” hasn’t fought locally since beating Selçuk Aydin at the then-HP Pavilion in San Jose in July 2012.
“The fanbase here in great. Boxing is alive back here in the Bay Area,” Guerrero said. “That Levi’s Stadium was built, so that would be a great place.”
But for now, the focus remains on Thurman. 
“To me, once he feels Robert’s power, I think he’s not going to be “One Time” Thurman, he’s going to be “Run Time” Thurman,” Ruben said. “I’m just telling you, he doesn’t know what he’s getting into. He signed that contract and that’s the worst mistake he made. You know what? We’re glad he made that mistake because we’re going to show the world who’s the real champion.”
Fights will be broadcast on both NBC and NBCSN. For more information and to view a schedule of other fights, visit premierboxingchampions.com, facebook.com/premierboxingchampions or twitter.com/premierboxing.

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