(Robert Guerrero, left, lands a punch on the inside; photo via: Showtime)
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Though the Olympics officially kicked off in London Friday with the opening ceremony, Gilory, Calif.’s Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero earned gold for the United States Saturday on Showtime as he outpointed Turkey’s Selcuk Aydin by unanimous decision in their 12 round welterweight bout in front of his home crowd at the HP Pavilion. It was Guerrero’s first fight in over a year and he jumped two weights in handing his opponent his first career loss.
Both fighters came out at the opening bell looking to do damage but settled in after missing wildly with their first shots. Guerrero landed some nice jabs and countered Aydin’s wilder stuff nicely. Aydin landed a few good jabs and moved Guerrero back with a few good power shots.
Aydin didn’t do much in the second as Guerrero held whenever he tried getting inside. Guerrero boxed well from the outside and landed a few combinations and the two traded shots after the bell and then smiled at each other.
Guerrero landed some really good combinations in the 3rd, working a three punch combination that ended with a solid shot to the body. Aydin landed some bombs here and there but they were only one at a time and Guerrero took them pretty well.
Guerrero landed a straight left in the 4th that snapped Aydin’s head back. Aydin landed a good uppercut in the round but was again outworked by Guerrero. The pace slowed a bit in the 5th, meaning that Guerrero’s output hit a bit of a downturn and Aydin’s power shots shone through a bit more. Guerrero still was able to outwork him, building a solid lead heading into the second half of the fight.
Aydin won the 6th as he landed some of his best punches of the fight. Aydin landed a good right hand with Guerrero backing up into the ropes. Guerrero’s volume took a noticeable dip to start the second half.
In the 7th, Aydin landed a brutal right uppercut that backed Guerrero up a bit, and he followed up with three or four more power shots for good measure. Aydin’s confidence began to grow and Guerrero looked a bit bothered for the first time in the fight.
Guerrero righted the ship a bit in the 8th as Aydin started strong but Guerrero landed some heavy combinations that backed his opponent off for the first time since the early goings. Both fighters landed their share of bombs, Aydin landed a perfect right uppercut in close that caught Guerrero’s attention.
Aydin landed some thudding uppercuts in the 10th and Guerrero started to look like he was running out of gas. Round 11 saw Aydin again land some good shots with Guerrero landing a combination or two in a close one. Scores were 117-111 and 116-112 twice for Guerrero.
With the win, Guerrero put an end to the upset losses that have happened as of late to Golden Boy Promotions handled fighters. Previously both Amir Khan and Victor Ortiz suffered shock losses to substitute opponents, and with the win Guerrero has solidified himself as a solid opponent for any of the top guys at 147 pounds.
Also in attendance was former northern California beltholder James Page, who is looking to return to the ring following a lengthy stint in jail. Page last fought more than 11 years ago, losing his version of a world title to Andrew Lewis in a fight he was said to be underprepared for. Page was looking to return on the Aug. 17 ESPN2 date in the Bay Area, but signs are looking like that card might be off. The 41-year-old Page had sparred with 154- pound prospect Omar Henry before the transplanted northern Californian fought recently.
Mark Ortega can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com and followed via Twitter at www.twitter.com/MarkEOrtega. Mark also contributes to renowned boxing publications RING Magazine and Boxing Monthly, and is a member of the Boxing Writer’s Association of America and RING Ratings Advisory Panel.