The CBZ Newswire

Guerrero Welterwight Debut Successful in Classic Slugfest vs. Aydin!

by on Jul.30, 2012, under Boxing News

Report by Chris Morgan

Photos by Brett Ostrowski and Rico Ramirez

Guerrero (left) attacks Aydin wiith a right

Guerrero (left) attacks Aydin wiith a straight left.

SAN JOSE, CA, July 28, 2012 — Questions were answered, tempers flared and the fans were treated to one of the most consistently action packed cards of the year at the HP Pavilion in Downtown San Jose. Local favorite Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero earned a hard fought unanimous decision against the never-say- die Turk, Selcuk Aydin. 

Selcuk Aydin (23-0 (17 kos) entered the ring first to ear deafening boos but seemed to enjoy his moment in the spotlight albeit in a negative light, relishing the villain role as he smiled and laughed on his way to the ring. There were a handful of Turkish flag waving fans sprinkled throughout the arena that more than made up for their small numbers with loud chants of “Selcuk, Selcuk, Selcuk”, this showing of support for the foreign “enemy” fighter further spurred the local Guerrero supporters into a frenzy.

Robert Guerrero (29-1 (18 kos) with a little gamesmanship stayed in the dressing room while his standard ring entrance song, Los Lonely Boys “How far is Heaven” blasted over the PA system, by the time he entered the ring the song had switched to something more dangerous that was mostly drowned out by the crowd excitement.

During ring introductions, there was clearly bad blood between both camps, as each entourage glared at each other while exchanging loud yelling insults. As the first round began, Selcuk turned around and used the corner ring post as a punching bag, this guy was itching to fight!
As round one began, Selcuk quickly bull rushed Guerrero throwing fast, whipping shots that didn’t land but had bad intentions written all over them.  They quickly fell into a clinch and Guerrero picked Selcuk up off of the mat prompting a referee intervention. Robert mostly took his time to size Selcuk up during the opening round, throwing out range finding jabs and evading most of Selcuk’s bull-like rushes, Selcuk did land a couple of hard shots to the body during the round. At rounds end, both fighters taunted each other at ring center after the bell, further enhancing the drama.

In what would become a pattern for the fight, Guerrero opened the 2nd round being the first to attack, with a jab to the body of Selcuk, then quickly focused on throwing the jab upstairs with a quick hook off of the right jab that landed flush;Selcuk’s responding flurry missed. Selcuk spent most of the round looking for an opening while parrying much of Guerrero’s jabs with his gloves held high.  A hard hook to Guerrero’s body midway through the round visibly hurt Robert, forcing him to fall into an extended clinch. The round ended with both men trading hard uppercuts.

Rounds 3 – 6 repeated much of the pattern of the first two rounds, only Guerrero began to land with more frequency while Aydin’s offerings were either blocked or missed outright.  One major highlight during this period was an absolutely massive head snapping straight left which scored for Guerrero when Selcuk became lazy and dropped his hands on the way in. The straight left was extremely hard and flush but had no lasting effect on Selcuk, who continued marching forward — one of the first signs that Guerrero’s blows were not nearly as potent at the new weight.

Near the beginning of round 7, Selcuk landed a crushing uppercut flush on Guerrero’s chin in close that momentarily changed the momentum of the fight in his favor for the first time, as it led to a sustained barrage from Selcuk, who actually landed a combination in the round — a beautiful right uppercut, left hook combination that had Guerrero in slight trouble. Guerrero also started to look a little winded in this round, possibly from the long layoff, as he could be observed visibly sucking wind through his mouth.

Guerrero quickly took the momentum back from Selcuk in the 8th round, backing up Selcuk for a solid minute of one-sided action, pouring on multi-punch combinations to head and body. Selcuk landed a few of his uppercuts that he couldn’t seem to miss with but which Guerrero took very well. Near the end of the round, Selcuk’s mouth piece fell out and he put it back in himself, skillfully using part glove, part forearm.  A milli-second after the bell, Selcuk landed a hard right hand lead.

In the 9th round, Selcuk attempted to gain back the advantage he had started to build in the 7th by employing a very rarely used jab, and even landing one, Selcuk may have landed two jabs up to this point in the fight. Both men wound up for hooks with Guerrero’s landing first.  Undeterred, Selcuk landed a four punch combination right through the guard of Guerrero. The round was punctuated with a hard punch behind the head from Selcuk that caused Guerrero to complain to the ref. Selcuk, thinking Guerrero was hurt, literally ran in for the kill, but the end round bell prevented it.

Rounds 10 and 11 featured Selcuk loading up one shot at a time, throwing less than in previous rounds and missing more — with the exception of two occasions, one in each round, where Selcuk landed brutally hard and flush right hands that nearly dropped Guerrero, visibly throwing him backward on both occasions. Guerrero by this point, sensing himself ahead on the cards and fatigued, elected to fight at a slower pace and hold whenever Selcuk rushed in.

Both men came out for the 12th round touching gloves in mutual respect, the bad blood seemingly washed away in combat. With the exception of a couple of phone booth exchanges in close, the round was spent with Guerrero holding on, wrestling in clinches and wasting time to get through the last round. Both men had landed their hardest shots without either man being dropped or seriously hurt. One last wild exchange just as the bell rang capped a highly entertaining slugfest.

Robert Guerrero was able to have a successful fight at welterweight, but his opponent was severely limited in his ability to apply effective pressure.  Also, I’m sure Selcuk has a tremendous chin, but Guerrero’s punches didn’t seem to carry a lot of weight behind them at 147. With that said, Guerrero has a tremendous sense of where he is in the ring and is always in position to evade and roll with punches, counters very well and throws very tight multi-punch combos to the head and body. Guerrero can box but also goes into the trenches and slugs it out if necessary, as he did in this bout.

Selcuk on the other hand, while he took the loss very hard, he feels that he learned a lot more in one loss than he ever did in his 23 victories and  vows to come back better than ever. With his promotional connections, highly entertaining pressure style, I expect to see him back in the states against an opponent made to order for him, possibly a Marcos Maidana or Lucas Matthysse.

A marked-up Guerrero celebrates his win.

A marked-up Guerrero celebrates his win.

Robert called out Floyd Mayweather after the bout, saying, “If you want the title, here it is!”  Well, it’s only an interim title right now, probably not good enough for Floyd to chase after it, but another top man in the division will probably want to give Guerrero a shot.  He deserves it.

 The Undercard

Washington (right) unloads on DeLong.

Washington (right) unloads on DeLong.

 

The night opened with a local San Jose heavyweight by the name of Gerald Washington making his pro debut against an out of shape 0-3 heavyweight that looked as if he had been found on the street and stuffed into some ill-fitting trunks 5 minutes before being thrown into the ring. The 0-3 heavyweight, Blue Delong, from Glendale, Arizona had a small team of three which contrasted with his large waistline.  In the other corner, Gerald Washington was ripped in the mold of a Jeff Lacy(a much larger Jeff Lacy) with a large entourage and Al Haymon as his promoter.

As the bell rang, Gerald was all over Delong overextending every punch going for the kill.  Delong’s offense consisted of closing his eyes and throwing a half hearted jab while turning away.  He must have had his eyes closed when the first big right landed, sending him staggering into the ropes. Gerald moved in and pushed Delong down in a clinch, giving Delong an excuse to use about 30 seconds to recover as the ref deemed the push down a foul. After recovering, it was all downhill for Delong, who fell 3 more times, some from the wind, others from a tap, finally forcing the ref to step in as he did not want to continue.  Time was 2:36. It was a slightly sad scene at ringside as the bout was so one sided and ridiculous that everyone was roaring with laughter in a 360 degree radius as I looked around.

Mendez vs. Simms

Mendez vs. Simms

In the 2nd bout of the evening, 7-2-1(2 kos) Paul Mendez of Delano, California engaged in a routine 6 round Super Middleweight contest against 5-10(3 kos) Leshon Simms of Inglewood, California. The first 3 rounds featured an extremely tight and nervous Leshon holding his hands up high, moving very stiffly and being thoroughly outclassed by a fighter (Paul) that wasn’t doing anything spectacular but just had the overall better skill set and more relaxed, consistent style.

Simms came out of his shell a bit in the 4th round but seemed to run out of gas in the last two rounds, bouncing around to survive.  The final scores of 59-55 all for the unanimous decision win to Paul Mendez were rightly justified.

Groves vs. Sierra

Groves (right) vs. Sierra

In what turned out to be the standout bout of the evening (and a rare treat to see one of England’s top young prospects in action in California), Super Middleweight prospect and current British and commonwealth champion George “The Saint” Groves, (14-0(11 kos) of London, England took on rough, hard-hitting Mexican slugger Francisco Sierra (25-5-1(22 kos).

The majority Mexican American crowd automatically cheered Sierra as he entered the ring to the familiar traditional music of his country, which contrasted heavily with the deep English electro house of Groves entrance music that was foreign sounding to anything that had played up to that point.

During introductions the crowd booed Groves, as he was unknown  here in the States.  Undeterred, he confidently stared down his opponent while trainer Adam Booth yelled last minute instructions to his pupil.

As round one began, Groves employed his hands down rapid head movement, constant feinting style, slipping the first punch of the bout, a long right from Sierra who walked straight forward, hands up, without much upper body movement. There wasn’t much action in the first couple of minutes with both fighters playing the waiting game, sizing each other up.  Groves landed a hard jab to the body and took a long right hand counter which he walked right through. The first clinch of the night was initiated by Groves at rounds end as he was backed into the ropes. It was Groves round based on effective counters, but not much action.

In rounds 2 and 3, Groves began opening up more, outclassing Sierra by countering the wide punches with fast and compact rights and hooks that Sierra walked through with no ill effects. Suddenly near the end of the 3rd round, Groves emerged from a clash of heads with a bad cut over his right eye that had the crowd screaming for blood. For about 10 anxious seconds, there was a sense of panic from Groves as the cut bled more and more.  In the final 20 seconds of the round, Groves became the aggressor for the first time and rocked Sierra with a repeated barrage of hooks and straights. The crowd loved it.

At the start of the 4th, the doctor was summoned to look at Groves’ cut, prompting the crowd to drown the arena with boos.  Having thought that Groves would take an easy exit, as Groves emerged from the corner ready to fight on, the boos turned to loud applause and cheers. Groves was now making Sierra miss badly while rocking him with hard counters, bringing the crowd to begin uncharacteristically cheer for Groves over their countrymen, there were even a couple chants of “Groves” from the crowd.

In round 5, Groves changed his style yet again to matador, dropping his hands and luring Sierra in for counters, which Sierra was happy to oblige with, landing his hardest shots of the night, buzzing Groves with a huge right that forced him to hold on in the closest round of the fight up to that point.

In round 6, Sierra, who was swollen but never really hurt badly in the fight, continued marching forward and got the better of the first exchange of the round. Groves, still playing the waiting game, landed a couple of big jabs at ring center and then seemingly out of nowhere landed an absolutely devastating 4 punch combination — a right-right-left hook-right, all flush — sending blood and saliva spewing out of Sierra’s mouth as he crashed down hard to the canvas. The second the fight was waved on to continue, Groves rushed in landing another two crushing, flush right hands to the defenseless head of Sierra as the corner mercifully threw the towel into the ring at the 2:15 mark.

Coming off of a 8 month layoff, George Groves impressed the crowd with his gutty performance, fighting through a cut while taking big shots from a huge puncher without being seriously hurt. The knockdown was absolutely highlight reel worthy. Adam Booth, Groves’ trainer (as well as for former WBA Heavyweight David Haye) spoke with me before the bout and claimed that Groves was actually a more complete fighter than David Haye and could do a lot more as a pro.

Looking back, this fight would have been even better served coming later in the evening as there would have been even more Stateside exposure for the young Groves.  Let’s bring him back.

Centeno vs. Bruce

Centeno vs. Bruce

The 4th bout of the evening was an absolutely forgettable 8 round affair between undefeated Hugo Centeno (14-0(8 kos) of Oxnard, California against Ayi Bruce (14 – 7, 8 kos) of Albany, New York by way of Acra, Ghana.

In the first round, the skinny, stringy bean pole Hugo Centeno employed an extremely hyper and high pace reminiscent of a prime Art Haffey, whipping three punch combos, jabs, all while moving as if in fast forward. Ayi Bruce, obviously schooled in the Joshua Clottey art of holding a high guard while not doing much, walked forward for the balance of the round but never let anything more than a lazy jab go.

Rounds 2 through 5 featured a completely slowed down Hugo compared to the first round dervish, seeing that his opponent hadn’t a chance to land anything, and with Hugo unable to solve the high guard, Hugo began to play the matador and look for countering opportunities. This fight came down to one guy not knowing how to go about it (Hugo) and the other not knowing what to do.

The same type of pattern kept up until the last round when Ayi decided that he was going to go out and make something happen, finally opening up with more than one shot at a time.  By this time it was too little too late as all of Ayi’s shots were horribly telegraphed and slow.  The crowd continued the booing that started as early as the third.  After the verdict of 80 – 72, 80 – 72 and 79-73 all in Hugo’s favor was announced, the crowd booed one last time before becoming relieved that the bout had finally come to an end.

Avlia vs. Chacon

Avlia vs. Chacon

In the final swing fight of the evening before the co-main event, the fans were treated to a high paced, quickly-fought Junior Featherweight contest between undefeated Manuel Avila (7-0 (2 kos), of Fairfield. California against Raymond Chacon (4-3 (0 kos) of Northridge, California.

In round 1, Manuel Avila, with the more compact and conventional style switched between aggressor and counter puncher while Raymond Chacon employed a free flowing, hands down in and out style reminiscent of a young Hector Camacho. Few key punches were landed by either man but the ones that did demonstrated the vast speed difference between the heavier men and these compact junior featherweights, as the punches thrown were blindingly fast.

Rounds 2 -3 featured each man sizing each other up, not wanting to commit to much while waiting for counter opportunities.  It seemed the only time that Avila opened up was when he was holding Chacon in place in a half clinch. It also appeared that Avila was uneasy with being the aggressor to the ever- moving Chacon, leading to him being caught with hard counter shots on the way in.

The 4th and final round featured a lot of clinching and posturing much like the previous rounds, neither man committing to much, round ends in yet another clinch. Avila, the more connected man, earned the decision.

 

The Co-Main Event:

 

Porter (right) attacks a covering Gomez at rings center.

Porter (right) attacks a covering Gomez at rings center.

The 6th bout of the evening, which consequently opened up the televised portion of Showtime’s championship doubleheader, was an absolute corker of a bout between The Contender veteran and all around tough guy Alfonso Gomez (23-5-2 (12 kos) of Guadalajara, Mexico against another Al Haymon-promoted Ohio prodigy in Shawn Porter (19-0, (14 kos).

Both men began round 1 bobbing and weaving, displaying lots of upper body and head movement to start things off, throwing jabs before Gomez rushed Porter into the ropes and suffered a hard counter from Porter for his troubles. Gomez kept a torrid pace right out of the gate, electing to brawl effectively and land hard shots to the body. At the end of the first Gomez shook Porter with a hard body shot.

Rounds 2 and 3 featured great, high paced action and brutal exchanges from both men with Gomez still being the aggressor.  In what would become a staple of the fight, the first unintentional head clash occurred in the second with Gomez almost always getting the worst; a second head clash later in the round opened a cut on Porters cheek.  Round 3 featured a marvelous exchange with both fighters landing simultaneous left hooks.

In the 4th and 5th rounds, Porter settled more into a counter punching role that allowed him to start taking control of the bout.  In round 5 Porter seriously hurt Gomez, leading to a brutal one-sided beat down that had the ref looking hard at Gomez, but warrior that Gomez is, he sucked it up and came on strong at rounds end landing some shots of his own.

Rounds 6 and 7 featured a still pressuring Gomez despite all of the damage he had absorbed up to that point.  Porter began moving more in these rounds, taking a breather from the non stop pace. A highlight from the 7th occurred when Gomez was dropped by none other than a head butt, prompting Porter — who landed hard shots at will on Gomez (who just refused to give in) — for the kill.

By the 8th and 9th rounds, Gomez legs were completely gone as he repeatedly slipped to the canvas following missed blows, as he was missing more by this point while Porter looked increasingly comfortable and in control, taunting and fighting with his hands at his sides.

The final round featured plenty of drama; Porter’s terrible cut above his right eye caused a brief halt to the contest as the doctor looked it over. As the fight continued, Gomez began bouncing around again, mustering a last bit of energy, looking for that one last opening.  Unfortunately for Gomez, he just didn’t have the fight-changing power that he needed. The pro-Gomez crowd got into the fight one last time after Gomez had his mouth piece put back in and waved his fists in the air.  In the last 5 seconds, Gomez slipped to the floor once more and the fight was over. Porter won a lopsided decision on 2 cards 98-92 and 97-93, while the third card had it much closer at 96-94, obviously favoring Gomez pressure.

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