By Lyle Fitzsimmons
Believe it or not, I’m just like anyone else.
I hear the stories about Robert Guerrero and his considerable family devotion, and I find it impossible not to wish them all the best.
I hope he wins some fights and makes some money. I hope his wife gets the care she needs and stays healthy. And I hope they retire together and have a prolonged happily ever after.
The only time those things are compromised is when he opens his mouth.
Because the more the “Ghost” talks… the more his bravado should scare his loved ones.
Case in point: The aftermath of Saturday’s Showtime main event.
Instead of accepting kudos for a scorecard win over Turk slugger Selcuk Aydin and downplaying the garish jewelry presented to nearly everyone in a World Boxing Council top 10 these days, he added gallons of wordy fuel to an already ill-advised fire.
First, with all due respect to afterglow endorphins and the schoolboy giddiness of a Steve Farhood interview, any 29-year-old with a shred of grounding would concede that a two-defense reign at 126 pounds and precisely one full-fledged title win since doth not a quadruple crown make.
Perhaps his promoter – that well-dressed California kid who owns a magazine and has his own iffy six-division claim – could have schooled him on that one in advance.
At any rate, Guerrero’s assertion that an Aydin win made him the first Mexican-American with belts in four classes would clearly have been his dumbest talking point most nights.
This time around, though, it gets pushed down the list.
When he draped the cheesy strap across his shoulder and used it to launch yet another baiting of a fighter who’s actually achieved status past 130 – one Floyd Mayweather Jr., if memory serves – dumb zoomed past stupid and headed straight for pathetic.
And in doing so, might have turned his feature-length fairy tale into an abruptly short story.
While I don’t begrudge a money-hungry wannabe lunging for the sweetest financial plum, the manner in which Guerrero went about it Saturday made him look like a small-timer with a tenuous grasp on reality.
I know he wants the payday. I know he’s got to chase it.
But seriously, folks, when he locks the front door each night along the garlic-encrusted streets of Gilroy, Calif., does he really think the legit five-division champ over whom he’s obsessing has more than passing knowledge of his existence?
And has he deluded himself to a point where he figures a consensus pound-for-pounder would respond to a juvenile “if he wants this (meaningless sanctioning-fee sponsored) belt, he can come and get it” threat, when that consensus pound-for-pounder’s last fight netted him a cool $32 million?
I’ve got news for him… he shouldn’t and it won’t.
Or if I were him, I’d hope like hell that’s the case.
Because if the opposite is true and his obsession is indeed aware of the foolishness, it could lead to far uglier nightmares than Malcolm Klassen, Spend Abazi and Eric Aiken ever conjured.
Not that the South African, Albanian and American from whom he previously won titles aren’t the stuff of epic terror, but even the most ardent Guerrero fan would cop to the fact that an unbeaten Mayweather – even at 35 and exiting jail – is a little more worthy of the night sweats.
Not to mention if he’s motivated enough to look good.
If Floyd Inc. agrees on the Golden Boy needler for an autumnal coming-out party, it’ll surely be with an eye on a subsequent pay-per-view bonanza next spring at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
And if his drive on fight night involves making an impression on the Canelo Alvarez, Sergio Martinez or Manny Pacquiao ilk, then the specter of the limited Aydin – whom Guerrero claimed afterward was the toughest fight of his life – would suddenly seem a lot less preparatory in nature.
No offense, Ghost… but it’s really no contest.
It’s somewhat reminiscent of Mayweather and another loose-tongued welterweight interloper, who looked at his foe’s training routine, assessed his own hell-bent-for-leather style and surmised that he was good enough, smart enough and tough enough to take “Money’s” coveted 0.
Instead, he ran into a psyched-up champion on a showcase night and was pummeled with violent precision before his own unbeaten status vanished via 10th-round TKO.
That guy’s name was Ricky Hatton… and he’s never been the same.
Guerrero’s got a better back story.
But an ending with an irritated elitist, an overmatched foe and a career-altering assault – big payday notwithstanding – perhaps isn’t quite what he bargaining for.
And if it were me, I’d hope Clark County Detention Center doesn’t have cable.
* * * * * * * * * *
This week’s title-fight schedule:
IBO super middleweight title – New York, N.Y.
Thomas Oosthuizen (champion) vs. Rowland Bryant (No. 35 contender)
Oosthuizen (19-0-1, 13 KO): Fifth title defense; Third fight in the United States (2-0, 0 KO)
Bryant (16-1, 11 KO): First title fight; Unbeaten since 2009 (2-0, 2 KO)
Fitzbitz says: “Rising champion should impress in New York showcase.” Oosthuizen in 8
IBF junior flyweight title – Mazatlan, Mexico
John Riel Casimero (champion) vs. Pedro Guevara (No. 4 contender)
Casimero (16-2, 10 KO): First title defense; Second fight in Mexico (0-1, 0 KO)
Guevara (18-0-1, 13 KO): First title fight; Sixth fight in Mazatlan (4-0-1, 3 KO)
Fitzbitz says: “Challenger at home for title shot, but in over his head.” Casimero by decision
NOTE: Fights previewed are only those involving a sanctioning body's full-fledged title-holder – no interim, diamond, silver, etc. For example, fights for WBA “world championships” are only included if no “super champion” exists in the weight class.
Last week's picks: None
Overall picks record: 323-109 (74.7 percent)
Lyle Fitzsimmons has covered professional boxing since 1995 and written a weekly column for Boxing Scene since 2008. He is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter – @fitzbitz.