By Jake Donovan
Recent rumors have made the rounds of an all-Dominican showdown between 140 lb. contenders Joan Guzman and Victor Cayo, to occur sometime next year and presumably with a title shot at stake.
Both fighters are coming off of wins in their native Dominican Republic. Guzman returned to the ring after a one-year hiatus, scoring a first round knockout over Florencio Castellano in their ESPN-Deportes televised bout last month, two weeks after Cayo rebounded from a mid-summer knockout loss to Lamont Peterson with a quick stoppage in a tune- up fight.
Cayo’s loss to Peterson was a major setback, as his conqueror is now set to challenge unified titlist Amir Khan this weekend in his hometown of Washington D.C. Anxious to get back in the mix, Cayo’s handlers have turned to the media to float the possibility of facing Guzman, with the claim that his countryman is currently pricing himself out during negotiations.
News of this made its way back to Guzman’s camp, with the first reaction being that of surprise.
“I have never heard from anyone in Cayo’s camp regarding such a fight,” stated Jose Nunez, who has served as Guzman’s manager since 2004. “It’s hard to price ourselves out of a fight when no offer was ever made.”
Guzman and his team aren’t ruling out the possibility of such a fight – which would be huge in the Dominican Republic.
For the moment, however, the undefeated former two-division champion has his eye set on bigger opportunities - chief among them, the winner of this weekend’s HBO-televised headliner in D.C.
“I will be in attendance for the Amir Khan-Lamont Peterson fight this weekend, and hope to have the opportunity to challenge the winner,” Guzman (31-0-1, 18KO) informed Boxingscene.com.
The announcement will be undoubtedly met with cynicism, since Guzman was already in position to face Khan last year. The Dominican blew that chance by first showing up well above the contracted weight limit for his tune-up with Jason Davis (not the first time he struggled at the scales), then testing positive for a banned diuretic to nullify what would’ve been a second round knockout.
The sequence of events proved to be the last straw with Golden Boy Promotions, by whom Guzman has been promoted on and off for the past five years.
Alienating an entire industry hit home for Guzman, who is out to prove that he has finally learned his lesson. His conditioning for his most recent fight was, he believes, the first step in such a journey.
“I could’ve taken my last fight at welterweight and just coasted through camp,” Guzman states. “I wanted to show that I am serious about my career. I want to win a title at 140 lb. and chose this fight to show that I can easily make the weight and look good, while pursuing the big fights.”
The win over Castellano was aired live on ESPN Deportes, who was reportedly pleased with the ratings for that evening. So much, that Guzman has been offered the opportunity to return in February, whether solely on the Spanish feed or doubling up with ESPN2 as part of its Friday Night Fights series.
“ESPN Deportes stated how pleased they were with the ratings and offered us a date in February,” Nunez reveals. “We would prefer a big fight, but if not will gladly look forward to returning to ESPN, where we really worked well together for Guzman’s fight last month.”
Guzman’s handlers are keeping the date open in the event that they are unable to secure a big fight, in which case they have no problem sliding in a fight with Cayo. All that Cayo’s camp has to do, is actually give Guzman and his team a call, rather than theorize the possibilities of the fight falling through without even first discussing it.
“We’re looking for name fighters. We’d rather fight the guys that beat Cayo (Peterson, and Marcos Maidana) than fight Cayo himself. We welcome the fight if it means leading to a bigger fight, but he is by no means our top priority. But if they want the fight, they know where to find us.
“Guzman will take on any opponent. We’ve never rejected any reasonable offer for a fight and are willing to fight anyone as long as it gets us to where we want to go.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]