Nothing comes easy for Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero.
His first blemish came when he fired one punch too late and was given a draw.
His first loss came when a rugged Mexican opponent pulled out his win-at-all-costs bag of tricks that was allowed by the referee.
Then another loss was thankfully reversed to a “no contest” when the opponent was found with traces of steroids in his system following the title fight.
One more thing: he’s not the only Ghost. There’s a pretty good fighter from Ohio who also has dibs on the moniker.
But that’s OK.
Guerrero defends his IBF featherweight title against Jason “The American Boy” Litzau (23-1, 19 KOs) at Tachi Palace on Friday Feb. 29. The fight, co-promoted by Goossen-Tutor and Main Events, will be televised on Showtime.
The kid from Gilroy has always fought with a lot of heart. Right now he especially needs it with his wife suffering from leukemia.
“She’s doing fine,” said Guerrero (21-1-1, 14 KOs), who learned of her affliction before his last title defense that ended in a quick first-round knockout over Martin Honorio last November in Tucson.
Guerrero never has it easy.
He first lost the IBF title to Orlando Salido when that fighter was detected with steroids in his body, and the sanctioning committee didn’t give him back his title. Instead Guerrero was forced to travel to Denmark to face that country’s hero Spend Abazi in his hometown Copenhagen.
Guerrero demolished him in nine rounds.
In his next title defense the young southpaw found out his wife had cancer within weeks of stepping in the ring. He bombed out Honorio in less than a minute.
No doubt he’s the Murphy’s Law of boxing. But he uses his fists as equalizers.
Now he faces a taller, faster fighter than all of those he’s ever fought before in Minnesota’s Litzau. Plus the kid can also crack with the best of them.
“I’ve been watching Jason Litzau for a while,” said Guerrero, 24, who trained in his native Gilroy for this fight under his father’s guidance. “I’m familiar with his style. I’ve watched his fights on television.”
Litzau finally meets one of the top featherweights in California which is loaded with featherweights and lightweights.
“I’ve fought in California a few times. Sometimes they cheer sometimes they boo,” said Litzau who’s always conscious of American troops in the Middle East and sends them greetings and letters. “I’ve seen Guerrero fight a few times.”
The quick-punching Litzau has fought four times in California and expects a rugged fight against the IBF titleholder in his native state. But he promises to bring his own equalizers when he fights.
“I try to leave everything in the ring. I have to give it my all. Our troops are over there dying so I have to give my best,” said Litzau, 24, who corresponds regularly with US troops overseas. “What makes me fight that way is knowing how good I have it here.”
Too bad there has to be a loser.
“It’s going to be a great fight,” said Bob Van Syckle, who manages Litzau. “Both guys like to leave everything in the ring. I’m always holding my breath when Jason’s fighting.”
Guerrero has already evaluated Litzau long ago and knows what to expect against the explosive fighter.
“Jason is a slick fighter and a big counter-puncher,” Guerrero said. “He can punch.”
Litzau has also evaluated Guerrero and figures it’s time to find out where he stands among champions.
“We’re both boxer-punchers,” Litzau said. “I expect a great fight.”
One thing is certain; when Guerrero fights nothing comes easy.