With fighter-trainer relationships tested regularly by expectations, emotions and the heat of battle, few father-son unions are able to reach the highest level of boxing. And even fewer are able to sustain their success.
But that’s not the case for former two-division world champion Robert Guerrero and his father, Ruben, who has guided his son’s career from its inception.
“I treat Robert like a man, and he does the same to me,” Ruben Guerrero said. Likewise, Robert said he has “respect at all costs for my dad.”
Robert Guerrero (32-3-1, 18 KOs) will once again have Ruben in his corner Saturday when he faces Aron Martinez (19-3-1, 4 KOs) in a 147-pound bout at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, in a fight airing live on NBC.
“In our [Mexican-American] culture, we respect our fathers,” Robert Guerrero said. “When you’re a kid growing up, he’s the head of the household. If you get out of line, it’s not going to be nice."
Guerrero is returning to the ring for the first time since losing a unanimous decision to Keith Thurman in Las Vegas on March 7 in the debut of the Premier Boxing Champions series. It was during that fight that the Guerreros had a rare disagreement on Robert’s strategy in the ring.
“Robert just started off slow against Thurman,” said Ruben, whose son was floored in the ninth round. “Once he picked it up, he finished strong. Now that we’re fighting back to back, he’ll be a better fighter."
Robert Guerrero admits that father knew best versus Thurman.
“I’m not one to run in my fights,” he said. “But I started off slow against Thurman, and that was a mistake.”
In May 2013, Guerrero lost a unanimous decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr., who is also famously trained by his father. After Mayweather defeated Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas last month, Floyd Mayweather Sr. denounced his son for not being more aggressive in the ring.
Ruben Guerrero said he would never publicly admonish his son like that.
“If me and Robert ever have a disagreement,” he said, “then we’ll talk about it when we’re alone.”
Robert Guerrero concurred.
"We’re never going to show our emotions in public," he said. "We don’t roll like that.”