Joan Guzman will have to prove to himself, his team, his fans and the industry power players that he has his head screwed on straight before he'll get another shot at a meaningful (i.e. lucrative) fight.
He will be presented with a hurdle on Nov. 18, in Armando Robles, a 17-1 Mexican-born Utah resident who hasn't met much in the way of world class competition. If he gets over that medium-high hurdle in the Dominican Republic, NYFightblog wondered, who in the top tier is Guzman targeting?
"Me in good shape, no one beats me at 140 pounds," says the boxer, who lives in Bushwick, Brooklyn. "Amir Khan (the WBA and IBF 140 pound champ), he's a good fighter with an amateur style. He hasn't changed as a pro, he's the same as when he was amateur. Marcos Maidana (who holds another WBA junior welter belt, which is a whole 'nother sad matter) is a good fighter, but he only comes forward. My style is dangerous for everybody."
But we get ahead of ourselves when we traffic in future plans. Making 140 for the Nov. 18 bout has to be Guzman's primary goal. He talks the talk on the phone, and seems motivated by the fact that his pride has been punctured.
"I know my fans miss me," he says. "I know they say, 'He has so much talent' ... now I'm different."
He says that he misses the well-wishers coming up to him, calling him 'champ.' "I like the fans, I like the kids coming up to me. But I understand people are mad at me. People say, 'Guzman has no respect for the sport.' I feel bad for that. I change everything. They say, 'Guzman had a lot of talent, he didn't respect that.' "
Guzman found out a hard lesson, that one is not so magnetic when some of the luster comes off, when people perceive you as being on a downward slide. "I had a lot friends that are not friends anymore," he says. "I have a couple of friends now, they are good friends."
I'm not going to tell you the reader how to react to the Guzman story. But I can lobby a bit ... Who among us hasn't messed up in a big way, many of us more than once? Don't we appreciate a second and third chance? Hey, I can identify with going for the easy crutch in the fridge. So I'm especially rooting for Guzman to get his head screwed on straight, solve his scale issues and show the boxing world that he is what we all thought he could be.
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