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Robert Guerrero: “Andre Berto's chin will be tested.”

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By Jason Gonzalez


Happy Belated Thanksgiving, mi gente. Hopefully you all have snapped out of the dreaded tryptophan coma by now. Because we are in store for a really good one. In less than 24 hours, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero will return to the squared circle for the first time since making his welterweight debut this past July against Selcuk Aydin. Guerrero, a native of Gilroy, California, now 29 years old, challenges former two-time world champion Andre Berto, 28-1 (22), for the interim WBC welterweight championship tonight at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.
 
As Guerrero heads into tomorrow’s showdown, he brings with him a record of 30-1-1 (18) and two no-contests, but most notably, a seven-fight win streak over the past three years. Berto, also 29, will be fighting for the first time in 14 months. Berto’s inactivity was partially attributed to a torn bicep he sustained during training for his rematch with Victor Ortiz back in February. But as the bout was rescheduled for June, Berto, a former Olympian, tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. That said, the stage is set. Considering both fighters have called out the bigger names in the division, Guerrero versus Berto has major implications. This contest has the feel of a major crossroads bout. Do you agree? Decide for yourself…

Here is what Guerrero had to say.
 
Jason Gonzalez: Does it concern you that Andre Berto has worked with Victor Conte in the past and has also tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs?
 
Robert Guerrero: I’m not worried about it all. Everything is on the up and up for this fight. I got no time to be thinking of things that are out of my control.

JG: Prior to the fight with Berto happening, is there anything in place in order to make sure that both you and he are on an even playing field?
 
RG: Yes we are both using USADA drug testing for this fight. I am fully sure that everything is going to be fine.


JG: In the past, Berto has fought at least four southpaws, maybe even more. Do you think Berto has learned how to fight lefties by now or is he still making the same mistakes against them?
 
RG: He’s had problems with southpaws and we see some flaws in his game that we are going to expose. He’s been out for a while, so we’ll see how he fights when we step in the ring.

JG: Now as a full-fledged welterweight, assess your punching power at 147.
 
RG: I feel great at this weight and my punching power will be there on fight night. This camp was better than my fight with Aydin and my body is adjusting well. I really feel my power will be more effective this fight.

JG: Maybe you have answered this question in the past but why the decision to bypass the junior welterweight division? Who’s to say your punching power wouldn’t be perfect at 140 pounds?
 
RG: No one wanted to fight me at 135, so I decided to do something unthinkable and jump up to welterweight. Now I’m in a great position with an opportunity to knock off one of the top fighters in the division in Berto.

JG: Robert, you haven’t scored a knockout in quite some time. Was that attributed to the shoulder injury from before?
 
RG: Who knows? As you know, I was dealing with a lot of things outside of the ring for the last few years and now those things are better now. At the top level, it’s going to be harder to get the knockout but the fact that I’m winning is all that matters.

JG: If indeed it was the pre-existing condition, how does it feel now?
 
RG: My shoulder is fine and I’m coming into this fight knowing that I can throw it with full force. It feels fantastic.

JG: Are you confident that you can stop Berto?
 
RG: Anyone can be stopped if you land the right punch. I’m always confident in my ability to get the knockout and Berto’s chin will be tested.

JG: Robert, in the past, you have called out Floyd Mayweather. Is this the tune-up bout for that fight?
 
RG: I don’t consider this a tune-up by any means. Berto is one of the top fighters at welterweight and I’ll have to be on my “A” game to come out victorious. No one knows what Floyd is going to do, so it shouldn’t even be in any discussion.

JG: How’s your wife, Casey’s progress been since the segment aired on television before your fight with Aydin?
 
RG: She’s doing great and I’m happy that she’s feeling better these days as she is cancer free. I thank God every day for her well being.

JG: Last but not least, as a family man, did it bother you that you weren’t with your family for Thanksgiving? What did that do for you, psychologically?
 
RG: I’m in fight mode and my family is what motivates me. I was around people that are close to me and we had a great time for Thanksgiving.

Jay Gon’s Tidbits
 
-  Guerrero is a longtime fan of the Oakland Raiders and Athletics.

-  Guerrero has three dogs. Betty the Pit Bull, Raider, a Pongo French bulldog, and Champ.

-  In terms of the recent presidential election, Guerrero didn’t say much. “I don’t get too involved with politics,” he would say. “I just hope our country is lead in the right directions with godly principles.” Sounds like an indirect shot at gay marriage. What do you think?
 
Questions and comments can be sent to “Jay Gon” at jg51593n@pace.edu. You can also visit him at www.facebook.com/jason.gonzalez39 and follow him at www.twitter.com/jaygon15.
 
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