By Dan Ambrose: In a battle of ring rusty welterweights, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (33-5-1, 18 KOs) weighed in at 146.6 pounds on Friday for his 10 round fight against former WBC World lightweight champion Omar Figueroa (26-0-1, 18 KOs) on Saturday night on Premier Boxing Champions on Fox from the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. Figueroa weighed in at 146.4 lbs.
This is an important for Guerrero. He wants to get back into the top 15, and get another crack at a world title. The problem is he keeps repeatedly. Guerrero is coming into the fight with 2 straight defeats. If he gets beaten by Figueroa Jr. it might be time for Guerrero to hang up his gloves and walk away from boxing. That’s one option that he might want to take.
If Guerrero is still capable of making 140 or even 135, he might stand a better chance in those divisions. Guerrero was a very good fighter when he was competing in the featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight divisions. Since moving up top welterweight, Guerrero has done very little other than beating a past his prime Andre Berto, Selcuk Aydin and Yoshihiro Kamegai. Those are Guerrero’s best wins in the welterweight division. Guerrero fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013 and got a nice payday in a fight that he hardly deserved.
Figueroa, 27, would seem to have the best chance of winning this fight, but it’s hard to know how good he’ll be after being out of the ring for 2 years. Figueroa last fought in 2015 in struggling to beat Antonio DeMarco by a close 12 round unanimous decision. Figueroa was a good lightweight, who won his fights by outworking his opponents with his high volume punch rate.
In moving up to welterweight, Figueroa is out of his league. The 5’8 ½” Figueroa Jr’s style of fighting will not work in this division. He’s not big enough and he’s definitely not powerful enough to go far at 147. Figueroa might not even get past the 34-year-old Guerrero on Saturday.
Guerrero looked totally shot at this point in his 16-year pro career. If you doubt whether Guerrero is over-the-hill, just look at his ring record since 2013. Guerrero hast lost 4 out of his last 6 fights. One of Guerrero’s wins during the last 2 years was a controversial 10 round split decision victory over Aaron Martinez. That could have been called a loss for Guerrero or a draw.
Martinez won 5 rounds on Boxing News 24’s scoring of the fight. With the knockdown that Martinez scored in the 4th, he should have been given the victory. Guerrero came into the contest the A-side fighter, and the guy that was expected to win. Martinez surprised a lot of people by taking the fight to Guerrero, and beating him in the trenches.
Guerrero did a good job of rallying in the second half of the fight, but by that point, he appeared to have lost 5 rounds. It was sad scoring by 2 of the judges, who gave Guerrero the victory by the scores 97-92 and 95-94. That fight showed clearly that things are not well with Guerrero. In his last 2 matches, he was beaten by Danny Garcia and David Peralta by 12 round decisions. Guerrero gave Garcia some problems in losing by the scores 116-112, 116-112 and 116-112. Guerrero definitely lost the fight. He complained afterwards that he’d done enough to deserve the victory. Few boxing fans agreed with him. Guerrero fought reasonably well, but not good well enough to have earned the decision.
This is a fight that Guerrero should win based on his superior size and experience against quality opposition. However Figueroa has the youth and work rate advantage. If Guerrero is going to win this fight, he’s going to need to stay on the outside and use his boxing skills. Guerrero doesn’t have the punching power to beat Figueroa Jr. by a knockout, and he definitely doesn’t have a good enough engine for him to outwork him. That was Guerrero’s problem in his last fight against David Emanuel Peralta last year in August. Guerrero was outworked by the cab driver in losing a 12 round split decision.
Peralta didn’t do anything special. He just outworked Guerrero. Peralta was hoping to use the win over Guerrero to take his career to the next level. Unfortunately for Peralta, he promptly lost his next fight in losing to Berlin Abreu by a 10 round split decision last December. Guerrero is lucky he didn’t fight Abreu, because he likely would lose to him too.
For a short period of time, Figueroa was the World Boxing Council lightweight champion from January 2014 to November 2014. Figueroa had injury problems that led to his title designation being chanced to Champion in Recess in November 2014. If Figueroa Jr. could somehow melt back down to lightweight, he could get a quick title shot against WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia. However, considering that Figueroa has grown out of the 135 pound division, I’d say his chances of ever making weight for the lightweight division is slim and none. If anything, Figueroa might end up growing out of the welterweight division and find himself having to compete against junior middleweights.
That would be a nightmare for Figueroa because he doesn’t have the power or the speed to compete with top 154lb fighters like Jermell Charlo or Jarrett Hurd. Figueroa’s best wins during his career were against Nihito Arakawa, Jerry Belmontes, Abner otto, Ricky Burns, Daniel Estrada and Antonio DeMarco. Like I was saying, Figueroa was a good fighter when he was competing in the lightweight division. But since moving up to welterweight, he doesn’t look impressive.
Also on Saturday’s card, light heavyweight contender Marcus Browne (19-0, 14 KOs) will be taking his unbeaten record to face Sean Nonaghan (28-0, 17 KOs) in a 10 round scheduled fight in the co-feature bout.
Former heavyweight world title challenger Artur Szpilka (20-2, 15 KOs) will be fighting Adam Kownacki (15-0, 12 KLOs) in a 10 round fight in the opening bout on the Fox telecast at 8 p.m.
Welterweight Jamal James (20-1, 9 KOs) battles former world title challenger Jo Jo Dan (36-4, 19 KOs) in a 10 round fight.
In junior featherweight action, Brandon Figueroa (12-0, 8 KOs) will be fighting Fatiou Fassinou (28-6-3, 15 KOs) in an 8 round fight.