Fighting for the second time in the same calendar year for the first time since 2012, Robert Guerrero (33-3-1, 18 KOs) rebounded from a tough loss to Keith Thurman in March to edge the gritty Aron Martinez (19-4-1, 4 KOs), who proved himself to be an underdog with bite at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, on Saturday.
In some ways, it was a tale of two fights: When the action took place in the center of the ring, it was generally to Guerrero’s advantage, as he used his height and reach advantage to pick Martinez apart.
“I’m one of those guys that I once I start exchanging on the inside, I tend to like it a little bit too much,” Guerrero said of being lured early into a firefight with Martinez. “My team gets a little bit mad at me. I had to get back on my game and start boxing him.”
The action got going in earnest in Round 2, when Guerrero and Martinez stood toe- to-toe and traded on the ropes, with both fighters working the body hard in some grueling infighting.
Guerrero staggered Martinez with a hard left uppercut.
The uppercuts continued in Round 3, as Martinez landed his share, hammering Guerrero with combinations to close the round as Guerrero’s nose began to bleed.
Martinez continued to press the action in Round 4, scoring a knockdown at the end with hard body shots and then combinations to the head.
But the momentum of the fight began to swing back in Guerrero’s direction in Round 6, when he fought more from the outside.
Martinez went on the attack again in Round 7, though it was to Guerrero’s benefit, as he used Martinez’s aggression against him, throwing and landing far more punches, many of them combinations, as they traded in the center of the ring.
Both fighters had their moments in the latter half of the fight, but it was Guerrero who was able to control the distance, outland Martinez and pull out a split-decision win in a feisty back-and-forth battle.
“There’s a lot of things that I did that I shouldn’t have done,” Guerrero said. “I should not have stood in there and just exchanged, but I just had to stay on my game, work behind my jab and work on a little more boxing."
Ultimately, the fight lived up the StubHub Center’s rep for hosting action fights.
“I don’t know what it is about this arena, man,” Guerrero said afterwards. “It just makes you want to stand there and trade.”
Also on the card, undefeated heavyweight prospect and former Olympian Dominic Breazeale (15-0, 14 KOs) scored his fifth knockout in a row when he stopped Yasmany Consuegra (17-1, 14 KOs) after a pair of knockdowns in Round 3.
Although Breazeale started slow, eating a buffet of right hands from Consuegra in Round 1, he rebounded to score a knockdown with a cupping right hand in Round 2. Breazeale finished the job a round later, scoring his 14th KO in his 15th pro fight.
In a 126-pound title fight, Jesus Cuellar (27-1, 21 KOs) savaged veteran Vic Darchinyan (40-8-1, 20 KOs).
Cuellar stepped on the gas from the opening bell, throwing punches in bunches, and earned an eighth-round stoppage after knocking down Darchinyan, who was able to get back on his feet but not fully recover.
For complete coverage of Guerrero vs Martinez, visit our fight page.