By Lem Satterfield
With the deal done for his Aug. 27 clash to face 27-year-old WBA interim junior welterweight king Marcos Rene Maidana of Argentina in a Golden Boy Promotions' event at the HP Pavillion in San Jose, 28-year-old southpaw WBO and WBA interim lightweight king Robert Guerrero told BoxingScene.com that he is ready to pursue his sixth belt in a fourth different weight class.
"It's about time. I'm just super-excited. I'm getting the opportunity that I feel has been deserved, and that I've been looking for the longest time," said Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 knockouts), who will take a 13-bout winning streak that includes nine knockouts against Maidana (30-2, 27 KOs) for a match up that will take place not far from Guerrero's hometown of Gilroy, Calif.
"Getting in there with Maidana, you know, he's one of the most feared, toughest and dangerous guys out there. He's a big puncher and he keeps coming," said Guerrero. "Who better to get into the ring with than a guy like that. I just want to just get out there and make it happen. I want to show the world why I deserve to fight the best and to be known as one of the best."
The winner of a July 23, unification bout in Las Vegas featuring WBA junior welterweight champion Amir Khan (25-1, 17KOs) and IBF belt-holder Zab Judah (41-6, 28KOs) could be elevated to the title of Super Champion in accordance with organization rules involving titlists who hold two belts.
If that happens, then Guerrero-Maidana could likely be for the WBA's regular championship.
Guerrero is coming off of an April 9, victory over Australia's hard-punching Michael Katsidis (27-4, 22 KOs) that earned Guerrero his fourth, and, fifth career title belts over his third weight class.
"You saw with the Katsidis fight that I was well-prepared and that I'm growing as a fighter. I'm just getting better and better with every training camp. I'm excited about this fight, and, like I said, it's all about being well-prepared for the fight," said Guerrero.
"I'm a man of God, and if you ask God for something, it shall be done," said Guerrero. "So I believe in myself all the way through to the core. That's how I live my life, is to have faith in God and to have faith in the abilities that he has given me."
Already a two-time IBF featherweight and one-time IBF super featherweight champion, Guerrero earned the interim WBA and interm WBO crowns against Katsidis.
"I just think that this is a huge opportunity for me. It's a shot at my sixth world title," said Guerrero. "And I'm going for it in my fourth different weight class, so I'm super-excited. It's just another one of those fights to go out and to display my skills out there."
Guerrero last suffered defeat by a December, 2005 split-decision to Gamaliel Diaz, whom Guerrero stopped in the sixth round of their June, 2006 rematch.
Maidana won the WBA's interim belt on April 9 with a majority decision over 34-year-old, three-time world champion, Erik Morales (51-7, 35 KOs), of Tijuana, Mex.
Morales is being considered for a potential fourth bout against Mexico City's 37-year-old, five-time, three-division champion, Marco Antonio Barrera (67-7, 44 KOs), who has won two of their three historic clashes.
Maidana's losses have been against former world champion Andriy Kotelnik (31-4-1, 13 KOs) of the Ukraine in February of 2009, and Khan, the latter, by unanimous decision in December after Maidana rose from a first-round knockdown and nearly stopped Khan in the 10th.
"I've got great boxing skills, and good punching power, and I can mix it up. But the one thing that I learned about Maidana is that he can't go straight backward. The problem is that if you build a big lead on him, you can't fall asleep and lose focus in the fight," said Guerrero.
"That's where Maidana's at his most dangerous. You just can't fall asleep on Maidana at all," said Guerrero. "You have to stay focused and be 100 percent for Maidana, or you can fall asleep and you can end up getting caught. Styles make fights, and he's a big puncher. He always has that puncher's chance."
Among Maidana's biggest wins was a June of 2009 sixth-round knockout of 24-year-old Victor Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KOs), who was dropped twice during a bout in which Maidana was floored three times.
"There should be no concerns about the power-punching. If you work on everything, and you're smart in the ring, there's nothing to worry about. It's just all preparation and being focused for the fight and being on my game all the way through," said Guerrero.
"I always go back to, if you're going to think too hard about something then most likely it's going to happen because you're too worried about it," said Guerrero. "You know, I don't worry about anything except pretty much getting prepared properly and being 100 percent ready for the fight all of the time."
In April, Ortiz rose from two knock downs and scored two of his own during a unanimous decision that dethroned previously unbeaten WBC king Andre Berto (27-1, 21KOs).
Guerrero was among the few who chose Ortiz to defeat Berto despite his rise up in weight, and believes that he can have similar success in rising to meet Maidana.
"The 140-pound limit is going to be very easy for me to make. I never had trouble making 130 pounds, and I never had problems making 135 pounds. This move he move is a matter of me getting that big fight. At 135 pounds, nobody wanted to fight," said Guerrero, who was being considered for a bout with Khan prior to his signing to face Judah.
"We were looking forward to a fight with Amir Khan, but that didn't happen. So we've got the opportunity to get in there with Marcos Maidana, and we made the fight," said Guerrero. "Marcos Maidana is the guy who has signed and who is ready to go, and I know that he's excited about it. So 140 pounds is going to be a breeze making, and I just can't wait."
Katisidis represented the third straight dominanting effort by Guerrero against an A-class rival, coming on the heels of a July, 2010 unanimous decision over four-time world champion and Cuban Olympic gold medalist Joel Casamayor (37-5-1, 22 KOs), and November's unanimous decision over Vicente Escobedo (22-3, 14 KOs).
Guerrero scored two knockdowns during his rout of Escobedo, which he won, 100-90, 98-90, and, 96-92. In victory over the 39-year-old Casamayor, Guerrero rose from a knockdown in the 10th and final round of a bout he won, 98-89, on two judges cards, and, 97-90, on at of the third.
"The world has seen over the last year the improvement. Like I've said before, I don't think that the fans or the media has seen the best of Robert Guerrero yet," said Guerrero. "I'm excited about this fight and I just can't wait to get out to camp and to start working on getting better. I'm always in great shape and where I need to be."
While he won't likely engage in a toe-to-toe battle with Maidana, Guerrero said that he will be able to dig down and fight if necessary.
"Maidana steps his game up as you saw in the Ortiz fight and in the Khan fight. You saw his fight with Victor Ortiz, I mean Victor Ortiz blasted him with some shots, and he got right back up and blasted Ortiz back. Maidana just keeps coming. The tougher the fight is for Maidana, the better he is," said Guerrero.
"You saw in the Morales fight that Maidana can turn that second gear on and come on in the fight, so I think it's going to be a great fight, and I take nothing away from Maidana," said Guerrero. "Like I said, he's a tough guy who can take vicious punches. But being well-prepared with the God-given talents that I have, I have the ability to box, I can bang, I can do whatever in the ring."
Ortiz has since earned a chance to face 34-year-old six-time titlist Floyd Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs) in a Golden Boy Promotions' planned Sept. 17 defense.
A big win over Maidana, said Guerrero, would put him in similar position.
"Whether or not I'm the underdog, you put all of that aside. That's for the fans and for everybody else to talk about. You've got to get out there and just focus on getting your job done," said Guerrero.
"I don't look to much at whether or not I'm the underdog or any of that," said Guerrero. "I think that I can be smart in the ring and get the victory. Maidana's a tough guy, but anybody can be beaten. I'm very focused for this fight."