Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero engaged in a back and forth battle with Yoshihiro Kamegai and emerged victorious, following a year long absence from the sport.
Following a year long layoff, Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero stepped back into the ring after his one sided defeat to Floyd Mayweather Jr. A series of contractual disputes kept the former super featherweight champ sidelined for many months, but upon return, the 31 year old Guerrero proved that he is still a top caliber fighter. The fighter who welcomed ‘The Ghost’ back to the ring was Yoshihiro Kamegai, a 24-1 (21 KO’s) veteran who was making his fourth appearance on U.S. soil.
The action started from the opening bell, with neither fighter feeling out the other. Robert Guerrero began fighting at range and had a substantial advantage but midway into round 2, Guerrero chose to play into Yoshihiro Kamegai’s game by allowing the Japanese fighter to close the distance and make it an inside fight.
A fight quickly ensued, as both fighters began trading blows at close quarters. Robert Guerrero looked to be the stronger of the two and was landing with more authority, but Kamegai was having much more success than he was when the fight was contested at range. A lot of body shots and uppercuts from both fighters.
In round 4, Kamegai’s face was beginning to show signs of wear from the previous exchanges, but he had his best round, as he dug in with hard body shots and kept Guerrero up against the ropes for the majority of the round. A grueling pace was maintained, and although Robert Guerrero was mixing up his punches a bit more, Kamegai did some excellent work to the body, with right and left hooks.
‘The Ghost’ came out in round 6 attempting to box in the center of the ring, using his long punches to keep Yoshihiro Kamegai at bay, but Kamegai closed the distance and took the fight back to the ropes. During an exchange, Kamegai drew blood by landing a solid right uppercut which cut the left eye of Guerrero, swelling ensued.
Going into round 7, Robert Guerrero’s eye was looking in bad shape but it didn’t stop him from having a quick start, being far more effective in the first half of the round. Despite his success in the opening half of round 7 and 8, Guerrero seemed to run out of steam midway through and Kamegai would come back with attacks of his own. Many of these rounds were extremely close.
Guerrero performed well in rounds 9 and 10, just being the more active fighter. His conditioning allowed him to push the pace and keep the fight at a more comfortable distance, where he had more success with his combinations.
The tide had shifted in Robert Guerrero’s favor for a couple of rounds but Yoshihiro Kamegai still had some energy saved up and he put it to use in round 11 – landing the more telling punches and pushing Guerrero back to the ropes. Big comeback round for the Japanese fighter.
The 12th round ended just as any classic slugfest should. Both fighters showing heart and determination after having battled at a high intensity for 11 rounds. Round 12 was a close round, both fighters met in the center of the ring and traded back and forth as they had done all night long. The fight went the distance. The ringside judges scored the bout 116-112, 117-111, 117-112, all three in favor of Robert Guerrero.
With the win, Guerrero’s name and status remain intact, but in his performance this past weekend he showed that there are still a lot of flaws in his game and the road back to the top might not be an easy one, but he will certainly have his name tossed in with many of the stars around that weight class. An interesting fight that could be made would be a match between Guerrero and WBA champion Keith Thurman. But with ‘The Ghost’ looking to capitalize on his name, he might look to staging a fight with WBO welterweight champion, Manny Pacquiao.
The fight had been discussed in the past, but the major hurtle was always the promotional situation between Goldenboy and Top Rank promotions. With the cold war now starting to thaw with Richard Schaefer’s departure, a fight between Guerrero and Pacquiao could happen this fall, and it would certainly be an interesting fight that could have fight of the year potential. Robert Guerrero is back and his return has made one of the best divisions even better and more interesting.