Much like many young Mexicans, Pedro Guevara followed his brother to the boxing gym. At the time, he was just 10; his older brother had won a few local tournaments, so a young Pedro was eager to see if he could carry on the tradition.
Fast forward to today and the now 24-year-old Mazatlan resident is now a pro boasting a pretty impressive record of 20-1-1 with 13 wins coming inside the distance.
The sole loss on his ledger came last summer when he challenged for the IBF light flyweight title against Filipino beltholder Johnriel Casimero. He suffered the ignominy of being dumped on the seat of his pants in the opening stanza in front of his home crowd before charging back and making a fight of it. Ultimately, “Jibran” lost a split decision, (116-111 and 114-113 for Casimero while the abstaining judge voted 114-113 for Guevara). Refreshingly admitted of his world title attempt, “Honestly, I didn’t win this fight.”
After nearly eight months without a fight, the opportunity came to fight for the WBC Silver title. Knowing he could ill afford a second loss on the bounce, Guevara overcame a strong start by former WBO 105-pound ruler Raul Garcia to eke out a split decision.
Just a few weeks back, he met another former strawweight champion in the form of Mario Rodriguez in a rematch, having drawn when they met nearly two years previous. This time, Guevara had no such problems posting a wide decision win.
The wins over Garcia and Rodriguez, coupled with a strong showing when Guevara faced Casimero, leave him on the cusp of a second title opportunity. Currently, he’s ranked at number two in the WBC, six by the IBF and 13 by the WBO and will have a special interest in this Saturday’s meeting between current champion Adrian Hernandez and his challenger, Atsushi Kakutani. His recent impressive form saw him vault from nine to seven by The Ring magazine.
Anson Wainwright - You impressively beat former world champion Mario Rodriguez on points. Can you tell us about that fight?
Pedro Guevara - It was a fight for which I was well-prepared; I knew what I had to do. So I worked with a strategy since Rodriguez as it is known is very strong as combative, so I took things calmly. I did not despair and did what I needed to do in the fight.
AW - It’s early but are you targeting Adrian Hernandez next for the WBC title?
PG - I feel that it is time and the right moment to compete for the World Championship since I have acquired much more confidence in my last two fights.
AW - Earlier this year, you beat former world champion Raul Garcia via close split decision. Could you tell us about that fight?
PG - That fight came after the defeat by Casimero and I fell into a period of inactivity. When they told me I would fight against Garcia, I felt happy and motivated since we would dispute the WBC Silver title. We got well-prepared and hungry to win. Thus in the early rounds, he had a good advantage but from the fifth, he tired enough, so at that point, I became stronger. After the judges gave the cards in the eighth round, I was felt completely recovered and I said to myself that I was not coming to lose this fight, for which I used myself thoroughly and managed to overcome García at the end of 12 rounds to earn the WBC Silver belt.
AW - Who are the members of your team?
PG - My coaches are Marcos Hernandez and Radaméz Hernandez; my promoter is Erik Morales. And I train in the gym of the Autonomous University of Sinaloa. We train from Monday to Saturday in the morning and in the afternoons.
AW - You’re from Mazatlan in Mexico. Can you tell us about your younger days? Were things tough for you and your family?
PG - I am born in Mazatlan, Sinaloa. My childhood and youth were thankfully good. I have a father who has always supported me in sport and school. It was thanks to them that my brother and I have achieved important things in our life. We are both graduates in law and soon both wish to obtain world titles in boxing. I have two other brothers and sisters. My brother, Gabriel, who is the father of the family and is dedicated to music and my brother, Daniel, he is in his final year of secondary school.
AW - How did you first become interested in boxing?
PG - I arrived at the gym of the UAS (Universidad Autonoma de Sinaloa) when I was 10 years old. I was invited by my older brother, Gabriel, who became champion in tournaments that were made in the town. Later, my brother, Alberto joined. And it began like any game does for kids. It was the summer of 1999 in which I began boxing but we got out a couple months later and the following year in the summer of 2000, now 11 years old, I came back and never left.
AW - Alberto fights at bantamweight. Could you tell us about the relationship the two of you share?
PG - My brother and I grew up together in the same environment. I am one year older than him. Our relationship is very good and more when we would go out to fight together.
AW - Last summer, you put up a very good effort losing a split decision to IBF champion Johnriel Casimero. Can you tell us about that fight? Do you feel you should have gotten the decision?
PG – Honestly, I didn’t win this fight. What I did leave with was a good education and more hunger for victory. That fight was hard since the champion is quite a strong fighter. But thanks to this fight, it has increased my desire to be the world champion.
AW - Do you feel that experience against Casimero improved you as a fighter? If so, in what way did you improve?
PG - My confidence improved very much after this fight.
AW - What are your thoughts on the light flyweight division and the current champions, the WBC’s Adrian Hernandez, WBA “super” champion Roman Gonzalez, “regular” champion Kazuto Ioka, the IBF’s Johnriel Casimero and the WBO’s Donnie Nietes?
PG - Each and every one of them are strong fighters that made it there because of their strong will and in whatever organization they are in, it will be tough to beat them.
AW - Away from boxing tell us about yourself. What do you enjoy doing? What are your hobbies and interests?
PG - When I’m resting, I like spending time with my family or friends. I like going to the movies with my girlfriend, Adriana, going to the beach, walking to the boardwalk in Mazatlan or the downtown area Saturday night. All this when I’m not concentrating on a fight.
AW - In closing, do you have a message for the light flyweight division?
PG – Well, all that is left for me to say is that I am here. It took a lot of effort but nonetheless, we have a long way to go, which we will take with an extreme amount of dedication, strength and optimism to get to where I want to be: World Champion.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright