Aron Martinez literally had Robert Guerrero on the ropes early in Saturday’s 147-pound battle.
Punishing right hands from Aron Martinez caused swelling beneath Guerrero’s left eye after two rounds, and Guerrero’s nose began to bleed after a series of uppercuts in Round 3. After Robert Guerrero was knocked to the canvas in the fourth, his father and trainer, Ruben Guerrero, had seen enough.
“I told him to dig deep and stay off the ropes,” the elder Guerrero said of his between-rounds instruction to his son. “I said, ‘don’t fight his fight. Use your jab more, and fight your way out. Box him outside in the middle of the ring.’”
That direction set up The Moment for Guerrero at the 1:43 mark of the sixth round, when the southpaw’s right hook to the body followed head shots comprised of a right jab and straight left.
The sequence sparked a sweep of the final five rounds by Guerrero, who won a 10-round split decision at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
“I would tell Robert to get back to using his right jab and digging to the body with that right hook like we just saw there," NBC ringside analyst BJ Flores said after Guerrero’s flurry. "He’s a good boxer who has got advantages on the outside. He needs to use those advantages to get back into this fight.”
Guerrero rallied to win 97-92 and 95-94 on two judges’ scorecards, while judge Max DeLuca awarded Martinez a 95-94 decision.
“I made this fight way harder than it needed to be," Guerrero said. "Once I started boxing, I started dominating and pulled out the victory.”
Guerrero faced an emotional burden entering the fight, which he dedicated to his 29-year-old cousin Rachelle Rose Perez, who died on May 29.
“I know my son, and he wasn’t 100 percent there in the first couple of rounds because there was a lot on his mind with the family affairs,” Ruben Guerrero said. “We tried not to let it get to him and to keep him focused. He came back like a warrior, did what he had to do and won. It wasn’t the way that we wanted, but we got the win.”
For complete coverage of Guerrero vs Martinez, visit our fight page.