SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA — Some questioned whether former 126, 130 and recent 135-pound titleholder Robert Guerrero could handle a true welterweight in his first appearance above the lightweight limit. Guerrero answered those questions in fine form as he outfought previously unbeaten and longtime WBC #1 ranked Selcuk Aydin to claim the vacant interim version of the 147-pound title on his home court, the HP Pavilion.
Guerrero (30-1-1, 18 KOs) of Gilroy, California looked like a physical equal to career-long welter Aydin (23-1, 17 KOs) of Hamburg, Germany by way of Trabzon, Trabzon, Turkey. Guerrero, 145.8, surprisingly opted to stand and trade rather than rely on his superior boxing ability for much of the fight. Despite getting the type of fight he needed, Aydin, 146.6, could not handle Guerrero’s output. Aydin, who had held the WBC Silver title before signing on for the Showtime-televised bout with Guerrero, just did not have a Plan B when his Plan A was clearly not going to get it done.
The fight started with frantic action, as both men looked to take the initiative early. Guerrero placed some shots to the body and timed a couple combinations, but Aydin did not take more than a couple steps back.
The fight got rough as round two came to a close. Both challengers looked to get the edge on the inside, and both took a shot after the bell with Guerrero throwing last. After the late exchange, Guerrero and Aydin stood and stared each other down before their cornermen came to pull them away from each other.
The roughhousing continued through the third, as both combatants looked for any advantage possible. This round it was Aydin that got the better of it on the inside, as he landed a solid two-punch combination starting with the body and ending upstairs.
Guerrero became the first to hurt his opponent when he landed a picture-perfect counter left hand that violently snapped Aydin’s head back in the fourth. Guerrero followed up and controlled the round, but Aydin seemed to recover from the shot fairly quickly.
Guerrero controlled round five, but two right hands that landed for Aydin served as a reminder of the danger that will exist throughout fights as the Gilroy native and former 126-pounder moves up in weight.
Aydin broke through to hurt Guerrero for the first readily apparent time in the fight, highlighting a combination with a right uppercut that landed clean in close late in the seventh. Likely egged on by his corner between rounds, Guerrero stormed out and rocked Aydin back to open the eighth. Aydin came back with a right uppercut again in close, took some more from Guerrero and returned fire after the bell.
Midway through the tenth, Aydin bothered Guerrero with something in close and that had the local hero holding on inside. Aydin had trouble giving himself room to follow up, and Guerrero made it out of the round without taking anything else flush.
After a tough tenth, Guerrero found his range again in the eleventh and did well to keep Aydin at the end of his jab, A frustrated Aydin pulled down Guerrero’s head and attempted a downward strike to the back of the head right at the bell to end the round.
The fight started fast again in the twelfth as Guerrero opted to fight inside again. Aydin, unable to land the type of blow to rescue the bout, showed his frustration again, rubbing his laces against the Gilroy resident’s face and repeatedly attempting to land behind the head. Guerrero continued to fight unfazed and battled with Aydin to close the round.
When all was said and done, scores read 117-111 and 116-112 twice for the new WBC Interim Welterweight titleholder Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero. Of course, pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. holds the full version of the title. It is unclear what sort of timeframe Mayweather has with the WBC to decide if he is going to return to 147-pounds after his prison stint, or keep the 154-pound belt he won from Miguel Cotto last time out. Guerrero and his team have aggressively pursued the “Money” Mayweather fight for years, but it has never appeared that Floyd has any interest in the prospective bout.
Shawn Porter (20-0, 14 KOs) of Cleveland, Ohio remained unblemished with a fairly dominant ten-round unanimous decision against gatekeeper Alfonso Gomez (23-6-2, 12 KOs) of East Los Angeles, California by way of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico in the televised co-feature.
Porter, 146.2, just had too many facets for the one-dimensional former title challenger and reality star Gomez, 146.4, to keep up with for ten frames.
The first round had its moments. An accidental headbutt opened a cut over one of Porter’s eyes. At the sight of his own blood, Porter upped his output in retort, only to have Gomez come right back as the bell sounded. The steady action continued into the second, as did the accidental headbutts. Despite the vastly apparent deficit in hand speed, Gomez got the better of Porter as the second round winded down. The right hook especially looked good for Gomez, and may have been enough to seal it for him.
Porter picked up his output again in the third, giving Gomez trouble with his hand speed. Gomez looked to place one or two when Porter paused, but the Ohio native’s breaks were brief. By the time Gomez threw or landed, Porter had an answer. Another heated exchange highlighted the fourth, but this time it was clear who was landing the harder shots – Porter. Gomez especially had trouble handling Porter’s right hand.
Porter again had the game as always Gomez in trouble in the fifth, landing loaded combinations at close range. Just when it looked like Gomez would wilt against the ropes, the longtime underdog fired back for an entertaining exchange. However, the momentum was still clearly with the surging Porter.
Gomez rebounded to a degree in the sixth, due in part to Porter’s decision to fight on his toes. Gomez was allowed to come forward without paying much of a price, and appeared to be the aggressor throughout the round.
The fight began to fall into the rhythm as the rounds wore on. Gomez continued to hang tough, but the cumulative punishment had left him a step or two slower than he already was heading into the contest. At that point, there was not much Gomez could do to turn around the fight.
Perhaps a small ray of hope entered into the bout, as an accidental head clash opened a nasty gash over Porter’s left eye in the tenth. After referee Edward Collantes brought Porter over for a long examination, the fight resumed and Gomez seemed to have renewed interest in the fight. The swing was fleeting, as Porter handled the blood well and returned to his close range attack to close the fight.
In the end, scores read 96-94, 97-93 and 98-92 for Porter. With the victory, Porter claims the vacant WBO NABO Welterweight title, which will more importantly lead to a world ranking with the WBO at 147-pounds.
Super bantamweight prospect Manuel Avila (8-0, 2 KOs) of Vacaville, California moved past Raymond Chacon (4-4) of Los Angeles, California in less-than-thrilling fashion in a bout shortened to four-rounds to fit the Showtime Extreme undercard television time slot.
Just as he has in other recent bouts, Avila, 122.5, had too much class for his overmatched opponent Chacon, 121.6, but the Cameron Dunkin-managed prospect failed to really make a lasting statement. Scores read 40-36 and 39-37 twice for the still undefeated and untested Avila. The Vacaville resident, who trains in nearby Fairfield, returns to the ring in the latter city’s Sports Center on August 25th.
In a dreadful fight, heralded prospect Hugo Centeno (15-0, 8 KOs) of Oxnard, California simply went through the motions against the much smaller Ayi Bruce (22-8, 14 KOs) of Albany, New York by way of Accra, Ghana en route to an eight-round unanimous decision.
Centeno, 152, went for the stoppage in the first and had Bruce, 151.4, in a bit of trouble early. However, from round two through the end, Centeno was satisfied to step around Bruce while placing one or two shots at a time. When the fight ended, much to the delight of the crowd, scores read for Centeno 79-73 and 80-72 twice.
WBC #5/IBF #9/WBA #11 ranked super middleweight contender George Groves (15-0, 12 KOs) of Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom showed resilience before ending the night of Francisco Sierra (25-6-1, 22 KOs) of Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico at 2:15 of sixth-round in the first televised fight of the night.
Groves, 169.4, opted to slug it out with the brawling Sierra, 170, for an entertaining close to the third round. The round saw Groves’ face opened up, but the injury never seemed to be a factor in the fight. An overhand right started the trouble for the underdog, as Sierra was downed in hard in the sixth. The Mexican fringe contender gamely returned to his feet. However, two clubbing rights were enough for Sierra’s cornerman to hurry up on the steps and sidearm the white towel through the ropes. Groves had been reportedly scheduled to fight September 14th in Wembley Arena in London, England, but it remains to be seen if the cut he suffered will prevent that date from sticking.
Paul Mendez (8-2-1, 2 KOs) of Delano, California took a workmanlike six-round unanimous decision over weathered journeyman Leshon Simms (5-11, 3 KOs) of Hemet, California in the second warm-up of the card. Mendez, 160.2, picked his way to the win, but never went in for the kill against Simms, 161.4, who goes by the nickname of “Scrappy Mix.” All three official cards read 59-55 for Mendez. The Delano resident, now fighting out of Salinas, California, returns to action August 25th at the Fairfield Sports Center in Fairfield, California.
Imposing heavyweight Gerald Washington (1-0, 1 KO) of Vallejo, California pounded hopeless Blue DeLong (0-4) of Glendale, Arizona for about two-and-one-half minutes en route to a first-round stoppage in the night’s opening bout. Washington, a mammoth figure at 246.6 pounds, scored one official knockdown of Delong, 254.4, who spent much of the night on the canvas. Referee Ray Balewicz ended the clobbering after Delong fell to the mat one too many times 2:36 into the fight. Ironically Washington shares the same nickname as Paul Mendez, the fighter in the fight that followed his – “El Gallo Negro.”
Photos by Stephanie Trapp
Mario Ortega Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.