Robert Guerrero won a controversial split decision Saturday on NBC, the kind that is damning because of whom he did it against. Aron Martinez was there to restore Guerrero to the win column, pure and simple, and instead it was a bruising fight — in its tone, and literally, on each man’s face — that Guerrero might not have deserved to win at all.
Guerrero had fallen already from the top 10 welterweight ranks thanks to inactivity and a pair of losses, but those losses had come against estimable competition, i.e., Floyd Mayweather and Keith Thurman, and he delivered a resectable showing vs the latter.
For whatever reason, perhaps because he was caught off guard by Martinez’s early vigor, Guerrero seemed flat. Martinez energy put Guerrero’s back on the ropes, and then in the 4th round scored a knockdown — Martinez, that is. A dude with four knockouts on his record. Guerrero did mount a rally, finally getting into the middle of the ring and outboxing a fading Martinez, but he still appeared sluggish, a little desperate, in the 8th round getting warned for rabbit punches.
An argument can be made for Guerrero winning. 97-92, the way the the deciding judge had it (compared to 95-94 and 94-95)? That was hard for folk to stomach. But even if he had won this fight without the aid of a bunk scorecard, Guerrero has to be reevaluated as a top fighter. Martinez had lost two of his last three, vs Josesito Lopez and Jessie Vargas, two junior welterweights who haven’t been in against the class of opponent. Guerrero has.
Guerrero said after the fight a cousin of his died last week, which might explain the lackluster showing. Or maybe Guerrero needs to ditch his father/trainer. Or maybe the clock has wound down on his time in the ring. Whatever the explanation, Guerrero didn’t look like a contender Saturday.
On the undercard, heavyweight prospect Dominic Breazeale stopped Yasmany Consuegra in the 3rd round. Your author did not witness this fight. On Twitter, there was talk of his poor fundamentals and an overall unimpressive showing. Sounds about right.
In another undercard fight, Vic Darchinyan’s lost his fifth fight of his last eight, although it was a more spirited outing. Darchinyan stunned Jesus Marcelo Andres Cuellar a couple times, but he’s no featherweight. Cuellar took him out in the 8th round landing a big right that should’ve ended things even though Darchinyan got up. Wobbly on his feet, he took a couple more unnecessary shots before the bout ended.
Yet another: Middleweight Alfredo Angulo, a former junior middleweight contender, overcame a slow start to stop Delray Raines in the 5th round, following three total knockdowns. Raines’ movement and ring generalship was winning it early for him, then Angulo did his thing where he picks up the punch volume and he overwhelmed the journeyman.
And lastly, lightweight prospect Alejandro Luna decisioned rugged, over-the-hill, blown-up veteran Cristobal Cruz, who gave Luna solid work.
All in all, this was the worst “Premier Boxing Champions” card yet, on paper. That some of the fights produced action in the end was purely accidental.