By Luis Sandoval
At the Tropicana Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Solo Boxeo made its return in Las Vegas after a 17 month hiatus much to the delight of boxing fans who were glad to welcome it back inside the Tropicana. That wasn’t the only return of the night as Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero was also making his reappearance to the ring since August 2009. Guerrero decided to walk away from the squared circle in order to be with his wife who had her third relapse with fighting leukemia last year. With her now looking to make a successful recovery, Guerrero was ready to step back in the ring and put his career back on track.
If ring rust was a worry for Guerrero, he showed no signs of it as he put on a dominant performance against tough veteran Roberto Arrieta (35-16-4, 16KOs). Both men started off slow with Guerrero working his jab and Arrieta looking for counter opportunities with not much action. Things quickly changed as Guerrero landed a hard straight left that put Arrieta down in the 2nd round. Arrieta would beat the count and Guerrero continued to work behind his jab again showing both composure and discipline.
Round 3 was more of the same as it seemed Arrieta was waiting for counter opportunities and retreating more than he was fighting. The Ghost would begin to be more active and it paid off as he landed another straight left that put Arrieta down for the second time in the fight. While Arrieta didn’t appear hurt, it was obvious Guerrero’s punches had some power behind them.
As the fight progressed, Guerrero began closing the gap with increasing his output and landing continuous straight lefts and looping right hooks. Arrieta was in full defense mode as he wasn’t throwing much and anything he did wasn’t landing or having any effect on The Ghost. Round 6 proved to be a big round for Guerrero as he appeared to be landing at will with combinations. He looked strong, fast and on top of his game as his opponent was overwhelmed and outgunned.
It all proved to be too much for Arrieta who was once again dropped with a vicious straight left in the opening seconds of the 8th round that had him visibly hurt. This time Guerrero would jump on him and land another flush straight left that made the ref waive the fight and gave Guerrero the 26th victory of his career.
It was an impressive performance by Guerrero even if it wasn’t against a top level opponent. His performance tonight gave promise for things to come and what his impact could be in the Lightweight division. In his post fight comments, Guerrero thought his performance tonight would set him up for a bigger fight and the fight he had in mind was the winner of Juan Manuel Marquez and Juan Diaz which was recently announced. It was great to see the return of not only one of boxing’s best outlets in Solo Boxeo, but the return of a promising Lightweight in Robert Guerrero.
Much talked about East LA prospect Frankie Gomez (2-0, 2KOs) made his television debut against Ricardo Malfavon (0-2, 0KOs) in a 4 round Welterweight bout. Gomez put his hand speed on display early as he threw combinations and tagged his opponent with a big overhand right. Gomez would prove to have power behind his speed as he landed a hard right hand that dropped Malfavon as he was punching in the 2nd round. hand punching. Malfavon was hurt and slow to get up but managed to beat the count. Gomez wasted no time jumping on him and unloading a barrage of punches that forced the ref to put a halt to the fight.
In a Featherweight affair, one half of the Velasquez twins was in action tonight as featherweight Juan Velasquez (10-1, 5KOs) took on journeyman Robert Guillen (5-7-3, 1KO). Velasquez made easy work of his opponent who suffered a cut on his forehead after a clash of heads in the first round. Velasquez swept all 4 rounds and received a unanimous decision victory with scored of 40-36 across the board.
In the last bout of the night, 2008 Olympic Bronze medalist Deontay Wilder took on Alvaro Morales who had fought as recently as last week at the Arreola-Adamek card. By looking at both men, you’d expect Wilder dominate Morales but it turned out to be an exciting affair as Morales came to fight. Wilder pumped his jab and landed some shots but Morales had success and the crowd erupted anytime he landed. In the 3rd round however, Morales would go down but referee Jay Nady waived it off as a push. Morales seemed to be shook up and even though he got up to continue fighting, his corner threw in the towel.
Helping kick off the return of Solo Boxeo, Abner Cotto (6-0, 4KOs) would take on Californian Juan Sandoval in a four round Lightweight bout. Cotto would pitch a shutout by winning a unanimous decision with scores of 40-36 across the board.
Junior lightweights were in action as Las Vegas’ own Toddy Junior looked to get a victory in his hometown over Rene Torres . In the first two rounds, it looked like he would get just that as he came out aggressive throwing hard right hands and shots to the body.
Junior’s punch output put Torres on the defensive until the 3rd round when he came out attacking. Torres began coming forward and landing flush right hands that bloodied Junior’s nose. Torres would finish strong the last 2 rounds winning the exchanges in the middle of the ring and turning the tide. The judges scored it 39-37 and 38-38 twice as the fight was declared a majority draw.