Feb. 11, 2011GUTIERREZ ARCHIVEPaul GutierrezCSNCalifornia.com
Better late than never?A year after dropping out of a title defense and surrendering his world title to care for his wife as she prepared for her battle with leukemia, Gilroys Robert The Ghost Guerrero will jump back in the ring against that formerly scheduled opponent. And it just might be for another belt for the already three-time world titlist.Guerrero (28-1-1, 18 knockouts) will finally face Australias Michael Katsidis (27-3, 22 KOs), but this time at lightweight, as the co-featured bout in an HBO pay-per-view show on April 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The main event of the Golden Boy Promotions card will be between Erik Morales (51-6, 35 KOs) and Marcos Rene Maidana (29-2, 27 KOs) for the WBAs vacant light welterweight title.The time has come for Katsidis and I to step in the ring, Guerrero said in a statement. Weve come full circle from last year when we were supposed to fight for the title, but I had to pull out to aid my wife as she was going through her bone marrow transplant. Im excited for this fight and Im looking to put on a great show for the fans.Guerrero, 27, was to make his first defense of the IBF super featherweight title he claimed on Aug. 22, 2009 with a unanimous decision over Malcolm Klassen against Katsidis, who was to come down from lightweight, on March 27, 2010.But with Guerreros wife Casey ill, he dropped out to be by her side. With Caseys leukemia now in remission she has been ringside for his two most recent fights - he returned to the boxing game and has won his last three fights, against Roberto David Arrieta, Joel Casamayor and Vicente Escobedo, while moving up a weight class.Guerreros most recent victory a dominant 10-round unanimous decision over Woodlands Escobedo on Nov. 6 made him the mandatory challenger for WBO lightweight kingpin Juan Manuel Marquez.But with Marquez not giving Guerrero the title shot, there are rumblings he could be stripped of the title, making the Guerrero-Katsidis winner the new champ. Guerreros previous three titles were twice at 126 pounds and once at 130, both for the IBF.And the 30-year-old Katsidis most recent fight? A ninth-round TKO loss to Marquez in November after knocking him down in the third round.Guerrero is leaving for Las Vegas to begin training camp on Feb. 20.Late last month, Guerrero flew to Golden Boy headquarters in Los Angeles and called out Marquez, accusing the future Hall of Famer of ducking him.Ive come to the realization that Marquez absolutely wants no part of me, Guerrero said at the time. Im his mandatoryI dont want to hear any nonsense that I dont have a big enough name, or that hes not going to make the money he wants fighting me.Im a three-time world champion. Ive fought on national T.V. numerous times. And, more importantly, I believe this is a fight the fans want to see.Guerreros manager, Bob Santos, also got in on things.Outside of (Manny) Pacquiao and (Floyd) Mayweather, Marquez will make more money fighting Guerrero than he would anyone else, Santos said. So money isnt the issue. The fact is, Marquez knows Guerrero will beat him. Honestly, Marquez has become the fighter hes always complained about, when he was avoided by (Marco Antonio) Barrera and Morales.It was thought that Marquez was angling to face Morales while holding out hope of facing Pacquiao a third time. They fought to a draw in 2004 and Pacquiao eked out a split decision in 2008. Pacquiao faces Shane Mosley in a WBO welterweight title fight on May 7.Marquez, meanwhile, has maintained silence over Guerreros claims and has no fight scheduled.So Im not going to wait around for Marquez, Guerrero added. Im just going to move forward with my career and strive for that fourth world title. I take him avoiding me as a victory.In reality, though, Guerrero has a chance to make up for lost time against Katsidis.