There’s a long and occasionally contentious history of fathers training their sons in boxing. Books could be written about the relationship between Roy Jones Jr. and Sr. Shane Mosley fired his father, Jack, twice. For Robert and Ruben Guerrero, though, the seas that were stormy for others have been placid in Gilroy, California.
“It’s great training with my father. Just being there with him every day. Being able to win world championships with my father, it’s great,” the younger Guerrero said. “I love working with him all the time and just being with him all the time. It’s your father. You only have limited time with your parents. To have my father by my side with everything, it’s probably one of the biggest joys in my career.”
As Robert gets ready to face Keith Thurman at the Premier Boxing Champions debut on March 7 at MGM Grand Garden Arena, he’ll turn to his father for the steady guidance he’s been getting all his life.
Robert started hanging around the gym at 5 years old as Ruben was training his other sons how to box. Robert hung around, and hung around and hung around until Ruben started training him at the age of 9.
“He didn’t want to do no basketball, no football. He always wanted to be a boxer. He was natural,” Ruben said. “I didn’t have to worry about him coming to the gym. He was always in the gym.”
It’s a relationship and a closeness that hasn’t changed much over the years. When Robert gets up and wants to train, his father is there. When Robert wanted to incorporate CrossFit into his workout, Ruben eventually relented, despite his early skepticism. And when it comes time to lay down the discipline? Ruben is ready to bear down on his son.
“It’s about respecting each other and knowing my father is looking out for my best interests,” Robert said. “You’ve got to respect that and know it’s for your own good. He treats me like a man, not like I’m a kid. I am his son, but he treats me like a man. When it’s time to let me know I’ve got to do this or that, he’s stern about it and he’s on it all the time. It is great having your father there to kick you in the butt a little bit.”
That’s not to say there aren’t times they don’t butt heads. But whenever a disagreement flares up, it doesn’t last long. And the reason for that is simple.
“I’m the boss, I’m his dad,” Ruben said. “Whatever I say, goes. Even if I’m right or wrong, he still goes with me. He knows how I’ve been getting him there since he was a little kid. He appreciates what I’ve done for him.”