Guerrero (left) wants a signature bout after beating Aydin. (Hogan)
California’s sprouting boxing gyms are like the wild weeds that cover the hills and deserts from the San Francisco Bay Area to the southern borders of San Diego County.
A number of those noisy gyms are heating up with the 100-degree temperatures.
Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, John Molina, Antonio DeMarco, Paul Malignaggi, and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez are among the many prizefighters visiting or training in the Los Angeles area.
Right now we’ll concentrate on Guerrero, Molina and DeMarco.
Guerrero visited L.A. last week and stopped by L.A. Live where he talked about his recent performance as a welterweight against pressure fighting Selcuk Aydin and future expectations as a full fledged 147-pounder.
The former featherweight, junior lightweight, and lightweight titleholder stopped by with his wife and children and brought advisor Luis DeCubas Jr. along on a warm day. We met inside El Cholo’s restaurant across the street from ESPNZone in the patio area where he described his last fight.
“A lot of people were saying that I was not ready to fight at welterweight but I felt stronger than ever,” said Guerrero, while sipping ice tea in the Mexican restaurant that had automatic water sprays cooling off customers. “It was just another day at work.”
Many critics and boxing writers wondered why Guerrero skipped over the 140-pound junior welterweight division. It seemed like the natural order of steps for a normal top flight boxer, but the Gilroy native doesn’t aspire to normal.
“I want to fight the best fighters out there,” said Guerrero, who didn’t show any visible welts or cuts from his last fight that took place less than two weeks before meeting with TheSweetScience.com. “Start lining them up.”
Guerrero said he jumped to the welterweight division because it’s packed with the most talent and it’s his goal to prove his place as a top Pound for Pound fighter is valid. Before the fight against Aydin many doubted he belonged among the elite. There are still doubters but they’re thinning out.
Among the welterweights he seeks is Floyd Mayweather Jr., who reigns as the top Pound for Pound fighter today.
“I heard that Aydin sparred with Floyd Mayweather a couple of times,” Guerrero said. “He knows Aydin is a tough guy.”
DeCubas, who also works with a number of top Cuban fighters such as Erislandy Lara, said Guerrero has broken through the barrier of doubt with his win against Aydin.
“A lot of people were saying he’s crazy to want to fight Floyd Mayweather,” DeCubas said. “The Ghost took a fight with a lot of risk and no reward. He let them (Aydin) use any gloves they wanted.”
The Ghost said that he intends to fight welterweights without giving handicaps to opponents such as demands to fight at 143 when the welterweight limit is actually 147.
“When you’re the welterweight champion you shouldn’t have stipulations to fight at 143 or 145. You got to man up.”
Guerrero is part of a Northern California movement that has seen not just himself, but Nonito Donaire and Andre Ward rise to grab recognition as top Pound for Pound fighters and world championships.
“Andre Ward was the first world champion from the Bay Area in 100 years,” said Guerrero. The first world champion from San Francisco was Gentleman Jim Corbett, who defeated John L. Sullivan in 1892. It was the first world title bout under the Marquis of Queensbury rules and to include boxing gloves.
Guerrero said that Ward came into his locker room before the fight on July 28, to wish him luck and to say he admired the Gilroy fighter for many years.
“He said I was his idol growing up,” Guerrero said. “I’ll be at his fight.”
Ward defends his super middleweight world championship against light heavyweight world champion Chad Dawson, who is dropping down in weight when they fight in Oakland, on Sept. 8.
“My brother Randy (Guerrero) makes his pro debut too,” Guerrero said.
Aside from a fight with Mayweather, other fighters Guerrero would like to meet in the ring are Juan Manuel Marquez, Manny Pacquiao and any other welterweight holding a world title.
“Line them up,” said Guerrero.
Molina vs. DeMarco
The co-main event on Sept. 8 at Oracle Arena in Oakland will be John Molina (24-1, 19 KOs) challenging Mexico’s Antonio DeMarco (27-2-1, 20 KOs) for the WBC lightweight world title.
Both appeared at a press conference in Sherman Oaks at Sisley’s Restaurant to talk about their title match.
Molina, a wiry knockout punching machine out of Covina, didn’t have much amateur experience before turning professional at age 23. In fact, his amateur experience was maybe a year or so of fights here and there. But whatever he lacked in long time boxing apprenticeship he made up with mind numbing power. His punch is the big equalizer whenever he fights.
Now nearing 30, Molina knows that his dreams of winning a world title must come immediately.
Last year, when Brandon Rios appeared at a press conference in Los Angeles to talk about defending the lightweight world title against Urbano Antillon, the Covina fighter showed up too. He asked Rios in person if he would be willing to fight.
“I don’t mean disrespect but how about fighting me next?” asked Molina to the shock of Rios and his team.
That’s Molina. He’s very eloquent and respectful outside of the ring but has full confidence in his abilities as a prizefighter.
Rios commented that he had no idea who Molina is and recently has moved up to the welterweight division and is scheduled to fight Mike Alvarado at the Home Depot on Oct. 13, in Carson, California.
Molina has no problem fighting DeMarco, who showed against Jorge Linares last year that he’s quite a handful.
Dan Goossen, president of Goossen-Tutor Promotions, which guides Molina, says that the challenger has never wavered from any fight presented.
“He’s got that heart,” said Goossen, who’s promoted hundreds of prizefighters. “He’s also got that determination to go out there and give it all he has.”
Molina has only one defeat and that occurred three years ago.
“This fight does have all the trimmings to be Fight of the Year,” admits Molina.
DeMarco is a lanky southpaw with staying power from Tijuana, Mexico. His come-from-behind knockout victory over Venezuela’s highly-touted Linares was jaw dropping. Few expected the Mexican to overcome the boxing clinic that Linares gave him the first five rounds. But he rallied and proved that his toughness is another aspect that should be considered by all challengers.
Gary Shaw promotes DeMarco and says the Mexican never loses that hunger to overcome obstacles place in his path.
“This is a kid that never gives up,” said Shaw.
The always humble DeMarco doesn’t offer challenging words.
“I’m very excited and thankful to John Molina and Goossen for this fight,” DeMarco said. “It’s for me another dream come true to be able to get another world title fight.”
Just another day in L.A.