Joan Guzman's Roads to Recovery
By Christian Cruz (Aug 4, 2009)
The recent news that Joan Guzman, (29-0, 17 KOs), from the Dominican Republic has just signed with Golden Boy Promotions should bring added excitement to a loaded division already filled up with promising upstarts, decent veterans, and an elite champion.

Boasting a perfect record of 29 wins out of 29 fights, and having won titles in the junior featherweight, featherweight, and junior lightweight divisions, Guzman is considered as one of the best fighters in the
lower weight divisions. His athleticism, coupled with his fast hands and reflexes, makes him an elusive target for most of his opponents. His superior boxing skills allow him to dictate the pace of the fight and can box either from the outside or inside from time to time. Another strength is his chin, which so far, at this point, has proven it can take the best shots from any punchers Guzman has faced. Ironically, his vaunted power from either hand, which gave him the moniker “Little Tyson” during his stay at 122, seems to have left him since he moved up to higher divisions. The lack of knockout power since he left 126 is only one of the very few chinks in his armor. The other is his stamina. His tendency to coast too much during the latter part of fights is mainly attributed to his questionable stamina.

Unfortunately, he also had a reputation of pulling out of fights, backing out from potential big fights, including the most recent one, with Nate Campbell. In May 2008, he was scheduled to challenge the “Galaxy Warrior,” who at that time was holding the WBA, WBO, and IBF titles at 135, in a championship match. In that infamous weigh-in, he showed up at 138 ½ pounds, 3 ½ pounds higher than the maximum light weight limit. Campbell, always a game fighter, still insisted the fight to happen, but Guzman, apparently dehydrated and not feeling well, decided to cancel the fight altogether.

After that debacle, he returned from a one-year ring rust in December 2008 to defeat pedestrian Ameth Diaz in a 12-round decision for the WBA lightweight eliminator for his first foray at 135. Since then, he has been waiting for a title shot or a notable fight.

With his signing at GBP, and looking like he is given a new lease in his career, Guzman at this point, should only look for meaningful fights. Here is Brick City Boxing's look and analysis at his potential possible fights at a very stacked 135 division or even at 140:

Edwin Valero (25–0). The most sensible fight for him right now, as Valero also holds the WBC title. This can be his toughest fight as well. A legitimate knockout threat, in his prime, with all of his 25 wins coming by stoppages, Valero should test Guzman’s metal chin and seemingly limited stamina with his relentless offensive, albeit sometimes wild, attack. And unlike the painfully slow Barrios or the plodding Soto, Valero’s power punches will come fast and in bunches. A barn burner of a fight.

Juan Diaz (34–2). The former 135 champ is scheduled to fight Pauli Malignaggi at 140 this August after reportedly disagreeing to face Guzman. In any case, if the fight happens, it will have lots of action. Diaz is a volume puncher, who will try to tire out his opponents by constantly putting pressure starting from the first round. But as his two losses illuminated, he can be outboxed, and can be hurt if ever. Guzman has to use his superb boxing skills and maddening quickness to counterpunch and frustrate the hell out of Diaz’ relentless workrate.

Michael Katsidis (25–2). They were supposed to meet before, but Guzman pulled out of the fight due to visa problems. They can resume that failed battle now. Katsidis personifies that boxing warrior, one who just fights no matter what is at stake, and though he is very limited, he will push Guzman to the limit.

Joel Casamayor (36–4). The 38-year old former Olympian and 135 champion looks like he is in the last stage of his career, but he will still be a good name and an upgrade for Guzman in terms of competition. El Cepillo may have lost a step or two, but he remains a wily and dangerous veteran who still packs a punch for anyone in the division (Katsidis should know all about this).

Ali Funeka (30–2). The big puncher from South Africa, whose claim to fame is his sensational stoppage of former Olympian Zahir Raheem in 4 rounds, will not only present a huge size advantage over Guzman, but power advantage as well. He lost in a decision to Campbell in his last fight, but he showed that he can hang out well with the big boys at 135.

David Diaz (34-2). The former WBC belt-holder is one tough cookie that won’t back down from any challenge. This would be an easy fight for Guzman and a win would be a nice addition to his not so-stellar résumé and could push him for bigger money fights.

Juan Manuel Marquez (50–4). The reigning man at 135, and aside from the fight with Pacquiao, this could be the biggest career fight for Guzman. JMM’s excellent counterpunching skills and sharp combination against Guzman’s slick style and fast combination will give us an A-level boxing match-up and there is no way that this will be a boring fight. JMM will try to be the aggressor and his superior stamina means there won’t be any letdown in his attack. A spectacle, to say the least.

Amir Khan (21–1). If ever Guzman decides to jump to 140, a fight with Khan will be an intriguing one. Khan holds the WBA light welterweight title and is a big star in UK. A win over this young upcoming star will be a good way to start his road to recovery, though it will be an uphill battle for him. Khan is big, quick, and a talented offensive machine who can also dish out solid workrate against him.

Here is hoping that Guzman will get his shot against these names in the near future, as he is no longer young, and every chance should be taken with all seriousness.

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