Guerrero-Kamegai slugfest deemed one of year's best

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Robert Guerrero fought just once in 2014, but those 12 rounds he spent in the ring were some of the most exciting in boxing last year.

The 31-year-old Guerrero (32-2-1), a four-division world champion, was severely tested by relatively unknown Japanese fighter Yoshihiro Kamegai (24-2-1) before walking away with a severely swollen left eye to go along with a hard-earned unanimous-decision victory at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, on June 21. Making his first ring appearance since a lopsided loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May 2013, Guerrero was favored to easily dispose of Kamegai in their 147-pound bout. That changed when the hard-charging Kamegai opened up a big cut over Guerrero’s left eye in the sixth round, forcing the California native to fight the second half of the bout with his eye nearly closed. Despite the pronounced swelling and large laceration, Guerrero landed some of his best shots in the final round of their 12-round slugfest, earning the victory with judges’ scores of 116-112, 117-111, 117-111. While neither fighter knocked the other one down, their punishing back-and-forth action led numerous media outlets to name the bout as one of the best of 2014. "I fell into that banging again, and that's something I've got to work on," Guerrero said afterward. "I wanted to box on the outside, but I have a habit of banging away and exchanging."

Robert Guerrero

Guerrero's epic battle as voted one of the best "slugfests" of the year.

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