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Robert Guerrero: I should have boxed Aaron Martinez from the beginning

Robert GuerreroBy Dan Ambrose: #10 WBA 147 pound contender Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (33-3-1, 18 KOs) only now fully realizes that he should have elected to box his opponent Aaron Martinez (19-4-1, 4 KOs) last Saturday rather than exchanging with him in their fight at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

The 32-year-old Guerrero chose to stand and trade with Martinez, who isn’t known for being a big puncher, and it almost cost Guerrero the fight. He was knocked down in the 4th round, and he barely won the fight by a 10 round split decision by the scores of 97-92, 95-94 for Guerrero, and 95-94 for Martinez.

To be sure, a lot of boxing fans thought Guerrero lost the fight. Guerrero just got lucky with the scoring, and he was even luckier that his knockdown in the 4th came at the end of the round rather than in the beginning or middle.

“Just standing there and trading with the guy. I should have just boxed him from the beginning,” Guerrero said via jh12sports. “But you know me; if you hit me, let’s go. For a lot of guys this is their big opportunity. This is the guy’s World Series. They’re going to try and hit a grand slam, and give it all they’ve got. Every time someone fights me, they train extra hard,” Guerrero said.

Referee Ray Corona could have easily have halted the fight after Guerrero went down in the 4th. Guerrero stayed down until the count of 7, and he took a big gamble that Corona wouldn’t stop it.

Like I said, the 33-year-old Martinez wasn’t a big puncher, but he was able to throw so many punches with Guerrero trapped against the ropes, he was able to still hurt him. Guerrero was letting Martinez trap him against the ropes and get off his shots. It was clear from the start that Martinez had the better inside game, and was able to throw a lot more punches than Guerrero was capable of throwing. It’s surprising that a veteran fighter like Guerrero was so slow in making adjustments to his game. Guerrero didn’t turn things around until the 5th, and by the time he had already appeared to lose the first four rounds.

The victory for Guerrero showed that he’s not the same fighter that he was five years ago when he was beating guys like Joel Casamayor, Roberto David Arrieta and Vicente Escobedo. Guerrero has clearly aged and isn’t the fighter he was back then. If Guerrero is going to have any future success at 147, he’s going to have to learn to box from the center of the ring, use his jab and stay off the ropes. Guerrero is never going to have the punching power that guys like Kell Brook and Keith Thurman possess, but he’s still good enough to beat a lot of the contenders in the welterweight division if he fights smart and avoids going toe-to-toe with them.

Guerrero’s fight against Aaron Martinez, who is little more than a 2nd tier fighter at best, showed that Guerrero does not have the power or the skills to fight in toe-to-toe battles in the 147 pound division. Guerrero was fine at that type of fighting when he fought at super featherweight and lightweight, but at welterweight, he doesn’t have the fire power to be fighting like that. If he chooses to continue to be stubborn about wanting to get in the trenches with every welterweight he fights, I can’t see Guerrero lasting too much longer at the top tier. He’s going to start taking a lot of defeats and will wind up as a 2nd tier guy. The fact that Guerrero now has had to go life and death with two mediocre fighters in Aaron Martinez and Yoshihiro Kamegai, tells you that Guerrero needs to change his game quickly if he wants to continue to fight at the top tier.

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