By Ryan Maquiñana
A month has elapsed since WBA/WBO interim lightweight champion Robert Guerrero tore the rotator cuff in his left shoulder, causing the cancellation of his August fight against WBA junior welterweight “regular” titlist Marcos Maidana in San Jose.
After undergoing arthroscopic surgery with renowned Dr. Michael Dillingham in Redwood City, Calif., Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KOs) completed a period of rest and has commenced physical therapy with San Francisco-based specialist Lisa Giannone of Active Care.
BoxingScene caught up with the 27-year-old native of Gilroy, Calif., to get an update on his recovery, his thoughts about bypassing the 140-pound division in favor of Golden Boy’s welterweight tournament, and why he thinks he has the recipe to beat Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao.
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BoxingScene: It was reported that you have full motion in your left arm. What have you been able to do with it so far in physical therapy with Lisa Giannone?
Robert Guerrero: I’ve just been resting and this week, I’m starting off slow. Even though I have full rotation, I feel real good. I talked about it with Dr. Dillingham. We’re taking it really slow, just working on the bike, getting my cardio out there, stuff like that, so when we have to get back in the gym, we’ll be ready to go.
BoxingScene: Has Dr. Dillingham advised you about certain do’s and don’ts, especially since there are always the concerns of overexerting yourself and re-aggravating the injury?
Robert Guerrero: He said don’t use it too much and to lay off of it, strengthen it, and stretch it. Just take it one day at a time.
BoxingScene: Is there a definite timetable for your return?
Robert Guerrero: Not yet. I want to get back by the beginning of the year. I go back to the doctor in three weeks to see how everything is going with Dr. Dillingham. We just have to be patient.
BoxingScene: BoxingScene.com reported that Golden Boy is proposing a welterweight tournament with an indeterminate number of fighters. So far the names that have popped up are Devon Alexander, Andre Berto, Lucas Matthysse, Marcos Maidana, and you. Would you want to participate, and would you be in favor of it being single elimination or round-robin like the Super Six?
Robert Guerrero: I think it should be single-elimination. With a round-robin, the Super Six is still going on for two years. Other than that, I personally think champions should fight champions. We shouldn’t need a tournament to make fights like that happen, but I’ll do it.
I walk around at 150, and other fighters have moved up from 135 before to become champs. I’m a throwback where I’ll fight anybody. I don’t pick and choose. That’s what the fighters need to do to hype boxing back up where it should be.
BoxingScene: Would you prefer to draw Maidana first since you had to pull out of the August 27 date with the injury?
Robert Guerrero: I’ll fight anyone, but I’d want to fight [Amir] Khan, the [WBA] super champ at 140. That’s a bigger fight.
BoxingScene: Khan fights Lamont Peterson on December 10 for the last time at 140 pounds before moving up to welterweight next year. You have quite a bit of history outside the ring with him, whether it was a proposed fight between you two falling through, or the controversy where he said on Twitter that you took step-aside money from Maidana and faked your injury (Khan recanted his comments and apologized.). You’ve called him a “Khan” (con) artist. Can you elaborate on that?
Robert Guerrero: Yeah, he said one thing in that he’d rather fight Guerrero because he’s a fighter and not a runner, and then he turns around and fights Zab Judah. He says a lot. He throws my name around a lot, but why won’t he sign the contract to fight me after he said all that? It’s out there.
BoxingScene: Of course, the biggest fights at 147 pounds are those involving Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Are you worried at all about missing out on an opportunity to fight either of them if you were contractually bound by a welterweight tournament?
Robert Guerrero: That’s the only thing. Having that option out there, and not being able to take it because you’re stuck in a tournament would be tough. But we’ll see what’s out there. My main focus right now is getting back to 100 percent. I’ll fight anybody. I don’t care who it is.
BoxingScene: You said you want to move up to 147 and fight Floyd Mayweather next year. Why do you think you’ll be able to pull off the victory, especially after the way he vanquished another hard-hitting southpaw in Victor Ortiz?
Robert Guerrero: You’ve got to have speed, power, good footwork. You have to put it altogether. Victor Ortiz has good punching power, but he was slow on his feet. You got to have a combination of everything, having the right gameplan and working hard. You have to also be mentally focused all the way through. I really believe in my abilities and that I’ve been blessed with tremendous talent. It’s just a matter of getting in with the right fighter to showcase these skills to show everyone that I’m the real deal.
BoxingScene: Juan Manuel Marquez will be fighting Manny Pacquiao at welterweight in November, and you were chasing him for the better part of a year and a half at lightweight. Why do you feel he chose not to fight you?
Robert Guerrero: I chased him for a year also at 130 pounds, so I pretty much chased him for two and a half years. He’s getting on the older side. He’s been in my shoes also, not being able to get the big fight with [Erik] Morales and [Marco Antonio] Barrera. He’s right there, and he’s taking advantages of the opportunities to make big, big money fights to be set for the rest of his life, so I don’t blame him for that.
Being a young, strong, fast fighter, a left-hander, I would’ve given him a lot of problems. He decided to go the safe route to get the Pacquiao fight. Congratulations to him. He’s going to get paid, and I would’ve taken that fight instead of a Marquez fight, too. (Laughs)
BoxingScene: Speaking of Pacquiao, you two used to spar at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood. What most do you remember about that?
Robert Guerrero: He’s a tough fighter. We only had two rounds and Freddie Roach stopped it. Pretty much, I went out there and did my thing and got some work. I used my range very well with him. I didn’t let him in at all and kept him on the outside, but sparring is sparring. The only way you know is if they make the fight and we get down on it.
BoxingScene: Is there anything you want to tell the fans out there?
Robert Guerrero: I’ll fight anybody, and hopefully when I’m back, if they give me a chance, the best will fight the best out there. I’ll do it hands down, no questions asked, so I hope to be back at 100 percent and make it happen. There are so many fights out there. Mayweather, Pacquiao, Khan, even Bradley. Everybody says they ain’t afraid of no “Ghost.” Well, it looks like the big names are because no one wants to give me a fight.
Ryan Maquiñana is the boxing correspondent at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. He’s a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Advisory Panel. E-mail him at [email protected], check out his blog at www.maqdown.com or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.