By Keith Idec
The best boxer in the Bay Area left HP Pavilion extremely impressed with Robert Guerrero’s performance Saturday night.
Undisputed super middleweight champion Andre Ward, Guerrero’s friend, sat ringside for Guerrero’s gritty 12-round unanimous decision victory over previously unbeaten Selcuk Aydin. Ward watched from close range as Guerrero, a southpaw tactician coming off a 15-month layoff and left shoulder surgery, fended off the relentless, rugged Turkish contender to win the interim WBC welterweight title in San Jose, Calif.
The 29-year-old Guerrero (30-1-1, 18 KOs, 2 NC), of nearby Gilroy, Calif., was easily able to out-box the heavy-handed Aydin (23-1, 17 KOs) from safe distances, but he often preferred to fight the dangerous brawler on the inside and took Aydin’s most powerful punches well. The former 126-pound, 130-pound and 135-pound title-holder won by wide margins on all three scorecards (117-111, 116-112, 116-112).
Ward tweeted this assessment of Guerrero’s gutsy showing: @GHOSTBOXING is my hero!! This guy came off a 15-month layoff & rotator cuff surgery against that guy??!! You are the man Rob!!
The 28-year-old Ward (25-0, 13 KOs), who’s training for his own difficult fight against WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (31-1, 17 KOs, 2 NC) on Sept. 8 in Oakland, Calif., knows exactly what it’s like to go 12 rough rounds against a relatively unknown, physical, rule-bending opponent while trying to impress his hometown fans.
The Hayward, Calif., native was able to overcome Cameroon’s Sakio Bika (30-5-2, 21 KOs) in a November 2010 fight in Oakland, where Ward had to be careful to not get knocked off track by a hungry underdog. The 2004 Olympic gold medalist beat Bika in even more convincing fashion (120-108, 118-110, 118-110) before going on to record career-changing, back-to-back decision wins against Arthur Abraham (34-3, 27 KOs) and Carl Froch (29-2, 21 KOs) in Showtime’s “Super Six World Boxing Classic.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.