These Styles Should Make a Fight By Steve Kim, MaxBoxing (Nov 4, 2010) Special to Doghouse Boxing - Tweet
Opening up this Saturday night’s edition of “Boxing After Dark” on HBO from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey is a lightweight contest between Robert Guerrero and Vicente Escobedo. Now, it would be perhaps a bit of an exaggeration to call this a “Loser Leaves Town Match,” given that both are in their physical primes (Guerrero is 27 years old, Escobedo, 28) and both are under the Golden Boy Promotions banner. But no doubt about it, this is a meaningful contest for both participants.
The winner will continue to receive big fight opportunities. The loser, well, he may not have to leave town but will most likely goes back to “Solo Boxeo” and will lose a zero on his next paycheck.
Guerrero is coming off a fight in which he won against Joel Casamayor but lost in the court of public opinion. Not only did he seem to carry the faded Cuban but he then took a trip to the canvas in the final round. While Guerrero dominated on the scorecards, winning almost every round, he didn’t make the statement most had expected.
But he says he’s still happy with that outing that took place in late July at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
"Yeah, I went out there, got the win. I went out there with my jab. Casamayor’s one of those guys you’re not going to look good against," reasoned “The Ghost.” "The way he fights and he way he’s awkward, he’s another lefty. So you’re never going to look at your best against Casamayor. I don’t care who it is. Y’ know, Juan Manuel Marquez had a rough time with him; Katsidis had a rough time with him, the way he looked. He’s just one of those guys, his style; you’re just not going to look your best.
"I was happy with the performance; I got the win and I moved on. It got me to another fight on HBO with another good fight. So I’m happy with the win; it’s not the greatest win in the world but a win’s a win."
Even Escobedo discounts that performance. He told Maxboxing last Friday, "People were saying, ’Oh, what do you think of his fight with Casamayor? He should’ve did this or that.’ And y’ know, Casamayor is a difficult fighter, I believe. He had such a long layoff, coming back into a fight like that. I can’t base his performance off that fight because Casamayor is a good fighter, a good boxer."
Guerrero and Escobedo grew up about 200 miles from each other in Northern California. Guerrero hails from the “Garlic Capital of the World,” Gilroy, while Escobedo’s hometown is Woodland. Both have had varying degrees of success throughout their professional careers.
Guerrero was a relatively unknown amateur who, after turning pro in relative obscurity in 2001, has captured two world titles in the featherweight and junior lightweight divisions. But in recent times, more of his focus has been on his wife, Casey, and her battle with leukemia. Now, his energy can be directed, more or less, on his boxing career moving forward.
"It was getting over that hill," said Guerrero. "It was an uphill battle; we got through it and now it’s a lot more focus on boxing now. Not having to have my wife’s sickness on my mind all the time and what’s going to happen, if she’s going to make it through or if she’s going to be in the hospital for a long period of time. None of that comes into play now and my mind’s clear going into fights and also while I’m training. So it makes things a lot easier. And it makes it easier for me to get ready for fights and schedule fights. So I thank God everything’s going good and I’m able to get back to work to start doing what I love to do."
Unlike his foe, Escobedo came into the professional ranks with quite a bit of hoopla, having been a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic team and he was earmarked by Golden Boy as one of their futures. He looked like the goods. He had a crowd-pleasing style inside the ring, was promotable, and was blessed with boyish good looks and a friendly demeanor. But it seems like Escobedo’s never been able to regain his mojo after being upset by Daniel Jimenez in his 10th pro bout in 2006.
If you would’ve told Escobedo when began his pro career in 2004 that, by 2010, he would not have won a world title, he would’ve told you that you were crazy.
"Uh, yeah; I would have," he admitted.
So is Escobedo disappointed in his career and does he feel as though he has underachieved in any way?
"Y’ know, I’m not disappointed; I wouldn’t say that. I feel I’ve achieved some great things in my career. I fought some good fighters and I’ve been in tough fights with like Michael Katsidis, going 12 rounds. I felt that was a huge achievement for me," said Escobedo, of his split decision loss in 2009. "Knowing that he’s such a great fighter, tough fighter and knowing that I went 12 rounds with him and he’s a top fighter and I went the distance. He never hurt me, whatsoever. So I just feel like it’s been a bit of a setback. That’s how I basically look at it."
One thing that has hindered his career has been a lack of stability, having been trained by Clemente Medina, Freddie Roach, Nacho Beristain, and, at times, even by his old amateur coach. "I’m just 100-percent now," he says. "Now with Joel Diaz, my new trainer, who’s actually helped me correct a lot of my mistakes and improve me. I felt like with the trainers I had before that I didn’t have that one-on-one training commitment like I wanted, to correct my mistakes. Now I do have it and it’s such a good thing."
Having grown up relatively close to each other and being represented by the same promotional firm, perhaps these two were destined to face each other. Escobedo says, "I thought one day that me and Robert would meet; I didn’t think it was going to come this soon. It’s a huge opportunity. I jumped on it. I said, ’Let’s do it. Let’s make it happen. This is a good fight, a good opportunity.’ So I definitely did not hesitate."
Neither did Guerrero, who believes that Escobedo’s much more orthodox style will be conducive to him having a much more aesthetically pleasing performance.
"Oh, yeah, he’s a much cleaner boxer than Joel Casamayor and, also, he’s a right-hander. Joel’s one of those unorthodox lefties where punches come from different angles. He moves real smooth in the ring and a lot of punches come behind headbutts. So with Vicente, he’s more of a clean boxer, throws nice combinations, works behind the jab and it’s a lot easier to work against somebody like that."
The old boxing axiom is that “styles make fights.” Well, the flipside is that, in the case of Guerrero-Casamayor, sometimes it doesn’t. You just get the sense that these two will make for a good scrap.
"Definitely, because Vicente Escobedo’s coming to fight," said Guerrero, whose record stands at 27-1-1 with 18 stoppages. "This is his chance to get right back in there with another big fight, another championship fight. So I know he’s coming 100-percent ready. He’s got a new trainer, so he’s coming to fight. He’s coming to fight and I know he’s coming to bring it. Escobedo, who has mark of 22-2 with 14 KOs, agrees, "You got two young fighters in their careers. He knows that I know that I can’t afford to lose this fight. We’re definitely going to go to battle. It’s going to be a good, good fight."
There’s no official title on the line- and this fight is taking place at a weight limit of 134 pounds- but the stakes are high.
Escobedo isn’t looking at this fight as a do-or-die situation but he says, "I just take it as a huge opportunity. Definitely, it’s a huge opportunity for me and for him, too. It’s going to set us at a different level. A win November 6th will set us at a different level for another title fight, another shot for the big fights, open doors for HBO. This is a big fight” we’re fighting on HBO ‘[Boxing] After Dark.’ So I look at it as a huge opportunity. I’m going in there with a lot of confidence."
Guerrero sees this fight as a de facto elimination bout of sorts.
"I see the winner of this fight getting either [Juan Manuel] Marquez or Katsidis (who fight on November 27th). It’s going to put us right there in line. So I’m excited about it."
It was reported on Monday that Kelly Pavlik, who was scheduled to appear on the Manny Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito undercard in Dallas on November 13th, was scratched due to a reported “rib injury.”
I don’t know but color me suspicious. But I think these problems with Pavlik run much deeper than just any supposed training injury or even boxing. It just seems that Pavlik and his career have become a train wreck in many regards.
Meanwhile, Brandon Rios will replace Pavlik on that pay-per-view slot and either Vanes Martirosyan or Mikey Garcia will replace Rios on the December 4th pay-per-view show at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. “Bam Bam” will face Omri Lowther, from what I’m told at Cowboys Stadium.
Originally Showtime’s bantamweight tournament was to take place in Leon, Mexico but I was informed by a few close sources that the doubleheader featuring Abner Mares-Vic Darchinyan and Yonnhy Perez and Joseph Agbeko is re-crossing the border and the promoters involved in this event are scouring Southern California for an appropriate venue.
I hear that in addition to their production budget, Showtime had some safety concerns about going back to Mexico.
Last Thursday night, while I was at the “Fight Night Club” at Club Nokia, I noticed that all of the Golden Boy staff had on Halloween outfits. One of the costumes led me to tweet:
“Monica Sears is in an army fatigue outfit. It reminds me of the 86 Canes getting off the plane for the Fiesta Bowl. Did the Japanese...”
This then lead to this email on Friday morning from Ms. Sears: "Sooooo I don’t know much about the 86 Canes, I was only 3 then, but should I be offended? :)”
Really? Three? Well, anyway, not only should she not be offended, this may be one of the great compliments she will ever receive. This was the era when men were men and the ‘Canes were ‘Canes. This moment at the 9:30 mark of this video is when I became a diehard Miami fan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xfeg7Q1YjNY
This brings tears to my almond-shaped eyes.
Recommended reading: Thomas Hauser’s three-part series on HBO here at Maxboxing. Couple of early thoughts but I think it’s clear that when Kery Davis’ lips are moving, he’s probably lying. Also, I found it interesting that in part one, while HBO claimed that they don’t empower Al Haymon as an unlicensed promoter, it was stated that they dealt with him in regard to the Paul Williams-Sergio Martinez rematch because Dan Goossen hadn’t struck a deal with them yet. This certainly says a lot about the role Goossen really plays and who, in effect, is the real promoter in this instance...Does it ever end well for Randy Moss?...OK, will Mike Shanahan make up his mind as to why he benched Donovan McNabb...”The San Francisco Giants, World Series Champions.” It just sounds funny saying it, doesn’t it?...