COMMENTARY | After years of toiling and striving, Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero has finally arrived. With a career-best win over Andre Berto in his back pocket, Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs) has more momentum, name-recognition and credentials than ever before. So while he has long been clamoring for a chance at a mega-fight against the likes of Floyd Mayweather, the difference is that now he deserves it, and nobody can honestly argue otherwise.
"This is that next step to greatness. Wanting to be great in the sport, wanting to be one of the pound for pound best fighters and wanting to be a legend in the sport," Guerrero told me in a recent interview.
"Right now I got 'Pretty Boy' on my radar. I know I have the style that could end his unbeaten record and give him his first loss," he said.
With his HBO-televised victory over Berto, Guerrero's desire to face Mayweather is no longer unwarranted, it's fully legitimate. Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer has made public comments on Guerrero's push for Mayweather, noting that preliminary discussions about the fight have begun.
Even Mayweather's former close confidant 50 Cent seems to think that Mayweather vs. Guerrero is the fight we'll see. "I think it'll probably be Floyd vs. Guerrero... [Mayweather] took Ortiz after he beat Berto. He'll probably do that again," he told me in a recent interview.
I currently rate Guerrero as the number 3 ranked Welterweight in the world, right behind Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Not only is he coming off his best and biggest victory, he has quietly built the kind of resume for himself that has historic proportions.
"I've won championships in four different weight classes. Six world titles," Guerrero says. Of course, it must be mentioned that two of those division titles, including his current Welterweight title, were interim straps. But nonetheless, it's an impressive accomplishment.
Only two other fighters in history can lay claim to winning championships in the Featherweight and Welterweight divisions. Some guys named Henry Armstrong and Manny Pacquiao, and Guerrero has at least ostensibly joined their ranks. "Interim" or not, it's an extremely impressive feat.
Equally important, at least in Mayweather's eyes, is that Guerrero's current interim belt has the letters "WBC" written on it, and the full version of that championship belongs to Mayweather himself.
"Floyd's got a decision to make, either step in the ring with me, or give up his title," Guerrero said.
Of all fighters, certainly Mayweather is in a position where he doesn't need to fight for sanctioning body titles. However, Mayweather has always had eyes for the green belt of the World Boxing Council.
He has had 20 official title fights in his career, from Featherweight up to Junior Middleweight. In 18 of those 20 contests, the WBC belt was at stake, and it would have been 19 if Zab Judah hadn't lost his title to Carlos Baldomir prior to facing Mayweather in 2006. So why would Mayweather forgo his much-coveted WBC championship, and lose it outside the ring, when he could simply fight a guy he'd be favored to beat in a lucrative and high-profile HBO Pay-Per-View event?
A fight between Mayweather and Guerrero would also provide exciting, back-and-forth action. Guerrero is more than happy to wade inside and make things uncomfortable for his opponents, as the world saw when he battled Berto toe-to-toe, forehead-in-chest, in a punishing and grueling affair.
Guerrero can force the action and maintain a lofty work rate, or he can lay back and look for opportunities. He's physically strong, he's extremely confident, and he can both take and give a good punch. He's a versatile fighter, he's a southpaw and he has a rangy frame.
All of this adds up to a combination which could theoretically puzzle any caliber of opponent, Mayweather included. And while many fans think of Mayweather as a cautious, defense-first boxer, he actually thrives and puts on his best displays against fighters who are willing to be aggressive and mix it up.
So unless you're talking about Mayweather facing Pacquiao, or perhaps Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, is there anybody else you'd rather see share the ring with him?Guerrero need not limit his pursuit of a mega-fight to Floyd Mayweather, though. Should that fight not be put together, he's more than open to squaring off against Manny Pacquiao, or Juan Manuel Marquez for that matter, another opponent he has been chasing down for several years.
"Obviously I'll be watching the Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez fight closely and I'll be ready to take either one of them out," Guerrero said in a recent statement to the press.
Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, was recently asked about a fight between Guerrero and Pacquiao. He revealed that Pacquiao and Guerrero have sparred in the past, and that they were competitive sessions.
"[Pacquiao vs. Guerrero] would be a great fight," Roach said, noting that as long as a financial deal could be made, they would be open to taking that match.
The Ghost has the resume, the style, the story, the WBC belt and a large contingent of supporters in his corner. Sounds like the case is closed, to me at least.
Jake Emen runs the boxing news website ProBoxing-Fans.com, where you can find breaking news stories, interviews, rankings and more. You can also follow Jake and ProBoxing-Fans.com on Twitter, @ProBoxingFans.
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