From an auspicious four-round decision to start his career to fighting one of the all-time greats, Robert Guerrero picks out his most memorable fights ahead of his clash with Keith Thurman March 7 on the Premier Boxing Champions debut card airing live on NBC at 8:30 p.m. ET.
3 vs. Malcolm Klassen, August 22, 2009, at the Toyota Center in Houston
Though he first became a world champion when he beat Eric Aiken in 2006 at 126 pounds, the fight with Klassen at 130 gets the edge because Guerrero’s training regimen was compromised leading up to the bout.
“I went into the fight with a messed-up hand. I didn’t even spar the whole time. All I did was shadowbox. I went out there and just put a clinic on, just outboxed him. He was a two-time world champ and I went out there and just took his title away,” Guerrero said.
Take it he did, winning a 12-round unanimous decision.
2 vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr., May 4, 2013, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas
It’s a fight that would top any fighter’s list of the most memorable moments of their career: a chance to get in the ring and hand Mayweather his first loss.
“You’re fighting the best fighter in the world,” Guerrero said. “It was a huge deal. The experience was great. You learn a lot from fights like that. That was probably the second-biggest, most important fight of my career.”
It wasn’t to be, though. Like he has against so many others, Mayweather used his speed and defense to outlast Guerrero, coming out on top of a 12-round decision.
1 vs. Alejandro Cruz, April 22, 2001, at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California
You never forget your first time. It’s the fight that sets the table for your whole career. As an 18-year-old 126-pounder looking to make a name for himself, Guerrero came out and won all four rounds against Cruz. From there, he was off to the races.
“The biggest one was my pro debut,” Guerrero said. “Getting out there for the first time, small gloves, no headgear, not knowing anything about your opponent, never being hit with an eight-ounce glove. That pro debut is what pretty much can either make you or break you. Some guys get spooked right out of the amateurs when they get hit with a little glove. Some come out and do excellent. You can be the best amateur ever and as soon as you get to the pros, things change.
“You’ve got guys like Mark Breland, who is the best amateur ever to come out of the United States. There’s guys he was way better than in the amateurs who went on to greatness. Guys like Evander Holyfield, Pernell Whittaker. That whole ’84 Olympic team just came out and did big things. Your first pro fight tells a lot.”