by David P. Greisman
Oscar Escandon has spent about a year now with trainer Ruben Guerrero, who is better known as the father and trainer of welterweight Robert Guerero.
The past year has gone from a low — losing an interim 122-pound title to Moises Flores in April 2015 — to a high this past Saturday, when Escandon knocked Robinson Castellanos in seven rounds to capture an interim title at 126 pounds.
Escandon was originally supposed to challenge featherweight titleholder Gary Russell Jr. late last year, but that bout was called off less than two weeks before fight night when Russell suffered an injury in training camp. That meant the Castellanos fight was the first appearance for Escandon in nearly 11 months.
“We just kept moving and moving, kept going forward and got him ready for this title fight,” Ruben Guerrero said after the Castellanos win. “He did what he had to do. He’s very strong. I knew he wasn’t hurt. He got back his composure and was back on his game.”
It’s a packed division, between Russell, Jesus Cuellar, Leo Santa Cruz, Abner Mares, Lee Selby, the winner of the upcoming Oscar Valdez-Evgeny Gradovich clash, and Vasyl Lomachenko if he returns to 126 after an upcoming bout with Nicholas Walters at 130.
“We want the biggest fights out there for him, and he’s ready,” Guerrero said. “You seen the way his performance was today. He’s a tough guy. The other guy was a tough guy. He’s ready for anybody. Whoever steps up to the gun, we’re ready.”
This was Escandon’s first fight at featherweight in about three years. From 2013 to 2015, he fought at junior featherweight. He also had bouts at bantamweight earlier in his career.
“He’s a little stronger at 126 and I think he belongs at 126 right now,” Guerrero said. “He’s just going to get better with me. The more he stays with me, the better he’s going to get.”
Pick up a copy of David’s book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide. Send questions/comments via email at [email protected]