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Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Joan Guzman’s promoter apologizes

By Michael Woods

All involved had declared that the weight issues were behind him, that he'd matured, grown, learned a harsh lesson, and was ready -- physically and more importantly, mentally -- to make a final run of superior achievement.

Alas, those best laid plans went were they often go, awry, for Joan Guzman (33-1-1), who was planning to fight Vicente Mosquera on June 28 in Kissimmee, Fla. for a vacant 140 pound crown. That is, until he stepped on a scale for the weigh-in, the day before the bout, and received a rude shock. It can't be said that it was jaw dropper, not with his history of trouble with the scale, but when it showed Guzman 8.2 pounds over the junior welterweight limit (140 pounds), heads shook from coast to coast.

The man didn't even make the welterweight limit, 147, let alone junior welter. Bad memories of missing weight, in 2008 against Nate Campbell, and 2010, against Jason Davis and then Ali Funeka, flooded over the fighter and those close to him. Blessed with awesome skills, but an inability to put all parts of the package together, we have to wonder if it is over for the 37-year-old Dominican, who lived in NYC before moving to Miami last year.

I reached out to Guzman's promoter, Henry Rivalta, and asked what the heck happened to the former two-division champ.

"Joan unfortunately had some kidney issues during the dehydration process," he told me.

Rivalta said a local physician, a Dr. Hill, made the decision that it would be dangerous for Guzman's health to proceed with the fight against Mosquera, so that’s why Guzman didn't go through with the fight.

"Dr. Hill further recommended that Guzman no longer attempt to make that weight, and that if he wants to continue boxing and not risk his long-term health he would have to campaign at 147. Obviously we feel that Joan's health comes first, and being that he made 140 the past four fights, that making 147 would be very easy, and would allow him to go into fight night without having depleted himself the day before. We have discussed it with Joan and have decided that he will end his career at that weight."

Rivalta took note of the harsh critiques on Twitter against Guzman, and weighed in on that issue. "For those of you who choose to be critical of Joan Guzman for not making weight, you are entitled to do so. I have given him an ear-full. But in his defense he's made the weight four straight times and was on track to do it again this time until health issues got in the way. Mikey Garcia didn't make weight, Adrien Broner didn't make weight, this is an unfortunate part of boxing, it happens sometimes. While everyone else has quit on him due to irresponsibility, we will not. He will be back for one last run at 147; all who think they can whip him at this weight class feel free to ring my phone. I apologize to boxing, to Team Mosquera, Tuto Zabala, who promoted the event, the WBA and to Guzman’s fans for this situation."

My take: As someone who is too unaccustomed to the pangs of hunger, and whose waistline reflects that truth, I find it hard to in this case hammer someone, yes, even a someone who knows the stakes and should as a professional have a handle on the process, for such a transgression. I had gotten the sense maybe there was a fear of failure or success which made Guzman ripe for such situations, but that is armchair shrink-talk. Who really knows, but him. ... Here's hoping 147 is the place for him.