Boxing: “The Ghost” appears in Hollister

Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero does a little shadow boxing during his media day at Hollister Boxing Wednesday afternoon.

After an unimpressive win in his last fight—a split-decision victory over journeyman Aron Martinez last June that some felt Martinez actually won—Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero knew he needed to take a step back and examine what got him to the top in the first place: faith and training.
“I just thank God in the last fight I had a real rude awakening,” said Guerrero (33-3-1, 18 KO’s), who was at Hollister Boxing on Wednesday to promote his upcoming fight with Danny Garcia (31-0, 18 KO’s) on Jan. 23 at the STAPLES Center. The match is for the vacant WBC world welterweight title belt. “I really went back and assessed everything with my training regimen and I think we got it down really good.”
When asked for specifics on the major difference in his recent training camp compared to his last couple of ones, Guerrero pointed to his sparring partner in the crowd, Raymond “Tito” Serrano, a welterweight who sports a 21-3 record.
“Having great sparring is one of the things that is going to get you ready for fights,” he said. “In the past, I was bringing guys in that I could get away with a lot of stuff. I could just cruise through sparring sessions. When you’re at this top level, the championship level, you need to be on your A-game. You need someone to push you and when you make a mistake, someone who is going to make you pay. And that’s what Tito did with me—he pushed me to the limit.”
The Gilroy-born Guerrero, who now resides in San Juan Bautista, spent his six-week training camp in San Benito County. A typical day included a couple of runs up to the summit of Fremont Peak State Park in San Juan—that’s a 3,000-feet in elevation gain, folks—with sparring days at Hollister Boxing and non-sparring workout days at CrossFit Ranch in Aromas.
In addition to being confident in his training, the 32-year-old Guerrero also expressed a renewal in his faith.
“I’m spiritually prepared and staying humble,” said Guerrero, a devout Christian. “Putting God first (is the priority). I was tending to fall away from that a bit, and that’s a big key to my game plan—all the time being close to God and putting him first. Getting a little bit loud and a little bit crazy, God doesn’t like that. It’s about coming in with a humble approach and praising him and letting him glorify everything.”
Conventional wisdom says “The Ghost” is in the twilight of his career. After losing to Floyd Mayweather in May 2013, Guerrero hasn’t looked great in his last three fights. Any story on Guerrero nowadays focuses on his “struggles” the last couple of years, pointing to a decision over Yoshihiro Kamegai—a match in which Guerrero took a lot of punishment, surprising many boxing aficionados—and a split-decision over Martinez, a contest that some felt Martinez won.
In between those two wins, Guerrero lost a one-sided decision to Keith Thurman. A former featherweight and junior lightweight champion who also has won interim belts at lightweight and welterweight, Guerrero has heard the chatter that his best days are behind him along with the criticism of still having his father, Ruben, Sr., as his trainer.
Like most athletes who reach a world-class level, Guerrero has used the criticism of his dad as an extra motivating factor.
“How many world championships have I won?” Guerrero asked rhetorically. “My father has done a tremendous job and is still doing a tremendous job … We’re going to show on the 23rd what kind of trainer my father really is.”

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