By Kirk Jackson
The San Francisco Bay Area. Known more for great franchises and success in team sport rather than individual athletes, the perception of fighters has certainly changed over the past couple of years.
Maybe there is something in the water, but whether it be the recent success of the San Francisco 49ers reaching the Super bowl this past year, the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series this past season for baseball, the success of the Oakland Athletics reaching the post season along with the Golden State Warriors returning to the post season.
Photo: Golden Boy
The Bay Area was well represented at the 2012 Olympics with Natalie Coughlin, Dana Vollmer, and Cal Alum Alex Morgan, among many others. The Bay Area also dominated when it comes to combat sports as well.
Andre Ward, fighting out of Oakland, Calif won fighter of the year for 2011after winning the Super Middleweight “Super Six” tournament and capturing the WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine Super Middleweight Titles.
Nonito Donaire, from San Leandro, Calif by way of the Philippines, wins fighter of the year for 2012 after moving up to Super Bantamweight and capturing WBO, IBF and Ring Magazine Super Bantamweight Titles.
Robert Guerrero 31-1-1 (18 KO’s) is on path to secure top honors if he is able to defeat p4p’s best Floyd Mayweather this upcoming Cinco De Mayo Weekend.
Guerrero has been a top level fighter for a number of years now, a four division champion; he finally was acknowledged for his in ring ability and has cracked the mythical Ring Magazine Top 10 P4P Rankings.
Currently sitting at #8 ahead of Bay Area comrade Donaire who sits at #10 and behind Ward who sits at #2 Guerrero will certainly crack the top 5 if he is able to pull off the big upset over Mayweather.
Potentially defeating arguably the best fighter we’ve seen the past 20 years or so should guarantee Guerrero the fighter of the year alone. Add to that he can potentially face Juan Manuel Marquez or Timothy Bradley later to conclude the year. And Guerrero has a great chance of beating either fighter which would only add to his already impressive resume. He would have to get past Mayweather first; it would be a big mistake to look past him.
But this is Guerrero’s big opportunity. The chance he’s been looking for his entire career. He’s been chasing guys like Manny Pacquiao, Marquez, and Mayweather for years and arguably he’s been avoided for all these years and for good reason.
Guerrero is a well-rounded fighter. He has a great jab and can time his opponents well coming in. He is a southpaw and provides awkward angles and can attack from awkward angles. He can overcome a speed disadvantage as he did against Berto. He can fight from the outside and mix it up and bully opponents on the inside. He is a seasoned and a well groomed professional fighter.
Despite having an array of skills to go along with his blue-collar mentality, possessing an iron will and resolve to eek out tough victories like he did against Andre Berto in November of 2012, Guerrero still up until this point wasn’t a household name.
That all changes now as he was granted the opportunity by Mayweather. The same opportunity that was afforded to Mayweather by Oscar De La Hoya six years ago in their fight dubbed “The World Awaits.“
Some of the same parallels from that fight six years ago exist in this fight upcoming. De La Hoya, 35, at the time was the premier star in the sport. He was a little past his prime, but still an elite level fighter. Mayweather, 30, at the time was widely regarded as the best fighter P4P and was moving up to face De La Hoya. Mayweather was well known by hardcore boxing enthusiasts, but not a household name. This was the step that pushed him into super stardom.
Now Mayweather, at 36, his a little past his prime and coming off a year layoff which included a brief stint in jail. But as far as we know, he is still an elite level fighter and still regarded as the best in the business. Guerrero, 30, has been fighting in the welterweight division for almost year has solid victories over Berto and Selcuk Aydin and is in prime position to capitalize on this opportunity.
Let’s see if the trend of Bay Area dominance continues.