Robert Guerrero of Gilroy made a grueling but crowd-pleasing debut at 147 pounds Saturday, pulling out a unanimous decision victory over Selcuk Aydin to win the WBC interim world welterweight championship at San Jose’s HP Pavilion.
It was an action fight, but it wasn’t clear afterward whether this performance on Showtime was impressive enough to enhance Guerrero’s quest for consideration among the top 10 fighters pound-for-pound.
This was not a dominating performance. Style points counted a lot for Guerrero against the previously unbeaten Turkish slugger, and so did superior activity, but the two actually landed nearly the same number of punches. Guerrero threw his in combinations, while Aydin was whacking Guerrero a couple times each round with right crosses and an uppercut or two.
Even with his decided advantage in finesse, Guerrero (30-1-1, 18 knockouts) admitted that he fought a toe-to-toe fight more than his handlers had wanted. “I could have boxed a little more, but I got hot-headed and wanted to bang a little.”
He got banged back, too. Guerrero said. “He landed some bombs.” But that was expected. “He’s one of the hardest punchers in the division.”
For that reason, Aydin (23-1) was used to dominating, but that wasn’t happening Saturday. Aydin said he became dispirited midway through the fight by blurred vision and diminishing energy.
“But no excuses,” Aydin said, admitting that Guerrero’s superior experience in elite-level bouts was equally crucial to the outcome.
“He was very clever. He taught me a lot about boxing, and I couldn’t do what I wanted.”
Whether or not the result quiets Guerrero’s detractors, it clearly made Guerrero happy. “I’m back,” he said, referring to his 15-month layoff to recover from a shoulder overhaul that dashed his planned welterweight debut last August with Marcos Maidana. “I’m the welterweight champ. I came in and took care of business.
“I felt great at welterweight. I wanted to fight the best and that’s why I wanted to fight Selcuk.
“I think the fight with Aydin was way better than Maidana (would have been). He gave me the toughest fight I’ve ever had.
“He’s one of the best in the division, but no one wanted to fight him. He’s been avoided.”
So has Guerrero, because of his lanky body type and his boxing savvy, but if his image beyond the Bay Area becomes a selling point, this was the sort of bout that helps make him a big enough draw to become a suitably marketable opponent against Floyd Mayweather.
“If Floyd wants his title,” Guerrero taunted, “it’s right here. Come and get it.”