By Lem Satterfield
BoxingScene.com has sought the opinion of 10 boxing insiders for their thoughts on who will win Saturday night's clash between southpaw lightweight Robert Guerrero, of Gilroy, Calif., and Australia's Michael Katsidis for the interim WBO and WBA belts from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
A former two-time IBF featherweight and one-time IBF super featherweight titlist who is called, "The Ghost," the 27-year-old Guerrero (28-1-1, 18 knockouts) was slated to face the 30-year-old Katsidis (27-3, 22 KOs), who is nicknamed, "The Great," in March of 2010.
But Guerrero pulled out of their match up to care for his wife, Casey Guerrero, who has since recovered from a life-threatening battle with leukemia thanks to a bone marrow transplant.
Guerrero was at ringside in November when 37-year-old WBA and WBO lightweight king, Juan Manuel Marquez (51-5-1, 38 KOs) rose from a third-round knockdown to stop then-WBO interim champion Katsidis.
Below are the results of the poll of insiders.
Bob Canobbio, CompuBox.com
Robert Guerrero W 12 Michael Katsidis: Robert Guerrero's the busier fighter, throwing 76 punches per round in the nine fights of his that have been tracked by CompuBox. That's compared to 63 punches per round for Michael Katsidis.
Guerrero averaged 33 blows per round with his jab, which is a punch he'll need to hold off Katsidis. Katsidis' opponents landed 44 percent of their power punches, which is eight percent higher than the weight class average.
Steve Farhood, Showtime Boxing Analyst
Robert Guerrero W 12 Michael Katsidis: This figures to be the toughest fight of Robert Guerrero's career, but I always thought his potential was enormous, and I'm not jumping off the bandwagon now.
Guerrero has a lot of tiger in him, and that'll allow him to match Michael Katsidis' ferocity. This could be a vicious fight.
Guerrero has more skills, and assuming no one gets stopped on cuts -- a big assumption -- I like him on points.
Norm Frauenheim, 15rounds.com
Michael Katsidis W 12 Robert Guerrero: I'm going with Michael Katsidis by decision over Robert Guerrero. There is so much to like about Guerrero. He is a good guy and a better story. He has solid ring skills.
But Katsidis has displayed nasty toughness against some of most skilled tacticians of the day, including Juan Manuel Marquez. Marquez beat Katsidis, but I’m not sure many other lightweights can.
Guerrero figures to score early, but Katsidis' stubborn pressure will prevail in the later rounds.
Thomas Gerbasi, BoxingScene.com
Michael Katsidis W12 Robert Guerrero: I think the wars over the years have toughened Michael Katsidis up as opposed to taken something away from him.
So I can see him breaking Robert Guerrero and pounding out the decision win.
Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports
Robert Guerrero W12 Michael Katsidis: To me, this is the Fight of the Night. Robert Guerrero is the best all-around fighter, but he's moving up against a strong guy in Michael Katsidis.
Still, I feel like Floyd Mayweather that "skills pays the bills" and in this one, the skills belong to Guerrero. Tough fight that could go either way, but there is more reason to side with Guerrero, so that's where I will go.
Steve Kim, MaxBoxing.com
Michael Katsidis W 12 Robert Guerrero: In what is the best fight of this card, I like Michael Katsidis to overcome an early deficit and get inside on Robert Guerrero late.
From there, Katsidis will swarm him with activity and pressure. Kats by decision.
Jack Loew, trainer of Kelly Pavlik
Robert Guerrero W 12 Michael Katsidis: You know, Michael Katsidis is one of my kinds of fighters. He's exciting and he's a banger and he's just my type of guy. But I think that it's Robert Guerrero's turn.
Guerrero can punch also and he's a nice boxer. I think that Guerrero wins it by either a unanimous decision if not a late-round stoppage.
Kieran Mulvaney, ESPN Boxing and Reuters
Robert Guerrero W 12 Michael Katsidis: In complete contrast to the main event, THIS is what a boxing match up should be about. Two very evenly matched fighters, with contrasting styles and strengths.
I am having a very hard time picking this one. Clearly, Michael Katsidis is going to bring it; that’s what he does.
And clearly, Robert Guerrero is going to have to show lateral movement, weather the storm and land hard counters.
Whether he likes it or not, Guerrero is going to have to fight at a furious pace; furthermore, Katsidis has more strings to his bow these days. He’s a more complete fighter.
Even so, I feel Guerrero has that extra bit of class, and he looks solid at 135. I think he has just enough tools in his toolbox to overcome Katsidis down the stretch and eke out a close decision.
Michael Rosenthal, Ring TV.com
Robert Guerrero UD 12 Michael Katsidis: This could be a war, as many of Michael Katsidis' fights are. Katsidis will do what he always does -- attack, attack, attack.
And Robert Guerrero will have to be at his best -- and toughest -- to cope. The difference will be Guerrero's all-around ability: He's the more complete fighter. That will enable Guerrero to win a close, but unanimous decision.
Joseph Santoliquito, Ring Magazine Editor
Michael Katsidis KO 9 Robert Guerrero: Michael Katsidis has too much firepower for Robert Guerrero.
The picks are 6-4, for Robert Guerrero to defeat Michael Katsidis