By Lem Satterfield
Newly-crowned southpaw WBA and WBO interim lightweight titlist Robert Guerrero has a lot going for him in the future.
Not only is the 28-year-old Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 knockouts) coming off of an April 9, victory over Australia's hammer-fisted Michael Katsidis (27-4, 22 KOs) that earned Guerrero his fourth, and, fifth career title belts, but he earned his 13th consecutive win during a run that includes nine stoppages, thrusting himself into conversations that he may be on the cusp of being considered among boxing's premiere fighters, pound-for-pound.
On Friday, May 6, in Las Vegas, the night before eight-division king, Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs) defends his WBO welterweight belt against Shane Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs) at the MGM Grand Hotel, Guerrero will receive the The Bill Crawford Award for Courage In The Face of Adversity from the Boxing Writers Association of America at the organization's annual dinner.
On May 15, Guerrero will also be celebrated by his hometown of Gilroy, which will name a special day in his honor.
The BWAA's award, meanwhile, is being bestowed upon Guerrero as a result of his support for his wife, Casey. For in March of 2010, Guerrero chose to pull out of a scheduled clash with Katsidis in order to be with Casey during her recovery from a bone marrow transplant, a move that often involved him driving 50 or so miles from the hospital to their home in Gilroy, Calif., to care for their two young children.
While in Las vegas, however, Guerrero hopes that he runs in to 37-year-old WBA and WBO regular champion, Juan Manuel Marquez (52-5-1, 38 KOs), who rose from a third-round knockdown to stop Katsidis in the ninth round of their November bout.
For just as Marquez is pursuing a third bout with Pacquiao, against whom he has battled to a draw, and a split-decision loss, respectively, in 2004, and, 2008, so is Guerrero chasing a mega bout with Marquez, to whom he is the mandatory challenger.
"At this point, you know, I'm always trucking for the fight. Personally, I would like to win the title from the champion. I don't like vacated or stripped titles. I think that a fight with Marquez is well-deserved," said Guerrero, who already has been a two-time IBF featherweight and one-time IBF super featherweight champion.
"If he gets the Manny Pacquiao fight and vacates the title, then I'll have to take it the way that it comes. But I'm always rooting to fight the champion because I want to fight the best," said Guerrero. "I want to show the world my God-given abilities to be the best by beating the best. You've got to fight the best to be considered the best, but sometimes, you know, it's tough to get the best into the ring."
So how will Guerrero convince Marquez to fight him if he comes face to face with the Mexican, three-division titlist in Las Vegas?
"I'm going out there with my wife, so, you know, maybe I'll run into Marquez. Then I'll maybe shake his hand, look him in the eyes, see if he wants to do it or say, 'Let's do it,'" said Guerrero, adding that Casey will join him at the BWAA dinner, after which they might attend Pacquiao-Mosley.
"I think that I was blessed to fight for five world titles and to be victorious in winning them," said Guerrero. "You know, I think that the fight with Marquez should be there."