In a welterweight division growing in name and young fighters, Robert Guerrero and Selcuk Aydin find themselves fighting outside the ring for recognition as they head into a July 28 title clash for the vacant WBC interim welterweight title.
A fighter’s move up in weight is normally done to pursue more lucrative opportunities, a trend that has eluded Guerrero since leaving the lightweight division behind in spring 2011. He was largely ignored by media and fans when he spent most of last year calling out Floyd Mayweather. Ironically, the July 28 matchup against Selcuk Aydin, an undefeated Turkish fighter who was shunned by the likes of Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz, is for the WBC title that Mayweather vacated to challenge for Miguel Cotto’s WBC junior middleweight title last Saturday.
Unknown doesn’t equal not good, as many American fighters have found out in recent years after underestimating fighters from overseas. Highly touted middleweight prospect Danny Jacobs found his budding career severely derailed after being KO’d by Dmitry Pirog. Last September, Andre Berto got a scare when he was involved hotly-contested brawl with Jan Zaveck. With Aydin having only fought once in the United States, Guerrero is acutely aware of his opponent’s desire to make a welterweight statement at his expense.
“Selcuk is coming to the United States and he wants to prove a point,” said Guerrero. “He’s an unknown Turkish guy who was ducked by Floyd Mayweather and now he’s coming to fight and make a huge statement. This is his chance for him to prove to American boxing fans that he’s the real deal.
“I have to be ready for a guy like this. He is trying to creep up on me and shock the world. He’s one of those tough guys that tries to knock everyone out, which makes for a really exciting fight, and I’ll be ready.”
Although Guerrero holds a sizable experience edge (11 years pro versus six), Aydin has the advantage of being a career welterweight. Along with the challenge of this fight being Guerrero’s first in the division, Aydin also has been more active — since Guerrero’s lat victory over Michael Katsidis in April 2011, Aydin has notched two wins last July and November.
Robert has never been in with a guy like me,” explained Aydin. “He has come up in weight from featherweight but now he is facing a true welterweight… I’m ready to come to America and show fans what I’m made of.”
Aydin isn’t Floyd Mayweather, but Guerrero sees it as a solid first step in his welterweight campaign. And even now, he can still make light of his current standing in boxing as a talented fighter desperate to earn mainstream recognition.
“Some people say they are hungry like a lion, but I’m hungry like a cockroach,” he quipped. “Nothing is hungrier than a roach.”
Guerrero and Aydin will clash live on Showtime Extreme at 8p.m. ET on July 28. A tape delay broadcast airs that same night via Showtime Championship Boxing at 10 p.m. ET.