By Chris Robinson
On Saturday night , Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero produced a stirring victory as he twice dropped Andre Berto while engaging in a physical war of wills with the former champion inside of the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, Calif.
After twelve heated rounds that saw him give and take his share of flush punches, Guerrero would walk away with a unanimous decision victory after all three scorecards read 116-110 in his favor.
Often a shrewd assessor of talent in the ring, longtime HBO analyst Larry Merchant had no choice but to give Guerrero his just due.
“I thought Guerrero fought a hell of a fight,” Merchant told me on Sunday night. “Surprised me a little that he could be that tough and strong at [147 pounds]. Good for him. He used his quickness on the inside and beat Berto up.”
Perhaps most impressive about Guerrero was just how much mental fortitude he showed while in the trenches, as he absorbed several vicious uppercuts from Berto. For Merchant, seeing Guerrero survive and thrive amidst such savagery was telling.
“It was also a little surprising how well he took shots at that weight,” Merchant stated. “I don’t know how many times he’s fought at ’47, not a lot. I think of him as a smaller guy. You just have to give him high marks for seizing the opportunity.”
Guerrero has now gone back to calling out the man regarded as the sport’s premiere pound for pound talent, Floyd Mayweather Jr., in hopes of landing his biggest payday and a chance at defining his career.
And while Guerrero’s victory over Berto is worthy of a certain kind of praise, Merchant has a hard time getting excited about a match with Mayweather.
“Anything is possible,” Merchant said when asked if that fight might be on the horizon. “I hope that Mayweather is shooting for bigger game, which would be [Manny] Pacquiao and possibly [Saul] Alvarez. Beating Berto is a very good win, but it doesn’t automatically put you in that game. But I don’t blame him for calling Mayweather out. Mayweather’s where the money is.”
During his post-fight interview with Max Kellerman, Berto expressed his displeasure as to how referee Lou Moret handled the often-dirty contest and he didn't seem too gracious towards Guerrero.
Simply sour grapes, feels Merchant, who took a swipe at Berto when asked what was next for him.
“I hope he goes to have his eyes and his ribs checked, as well as his brain, because of how delusional he was after the fight,” Merchant quipped. “You would have thought the referee beat him up.”
Chris Robinson can be reached at [email protected], www.Twitter.com/CRHarmony, and www.HustleBoss.com