Guerrero: 'I'm here to fight. I'm here to take care of business'
The IBA Gym in Las Vegas was the scene for quite the spectacle on Tuesday afternoon, as Gilroy’s Robert Guerrero conducted a media workout that wasn’t short on entertainment.
Immediately after inviting a nearby photographer into the ring, Guerrero’s father Ruben flailed at the stranger’s fists and slapped them in an unceremonious ode to his son’s May 4 opponent, Floyd Mayweather.
“Patty cake! Patty cake!” Ruben screamed, eliciting laughter from the throng of press in attendance. “Baker’s man!”
The elder Guerrero wasn’t displaying an aggressive affinity for nursery rhymes, but rather, describing what he thought about Mayweather’s renowned focus mitts routine—one that Ruben decried as “fake punches.”
Former CSN Bay Area intern and current Maxim personality Aja Dang then took in some basic boxing lessons from the Guerreros, prompting Ruben to comment tongue-in-cheek on her “patty cake” punching.
“Patty cake?” the model asked Ruben incredulously. “I’m no Floyd Mayweather!”
Such bravado was Tuesday’s theme, and Team Guerrero wanted to make it deafeningly clear that matching their foe’s signature swagger boast for boast would not be a problem despite the fact that Mayweather remains an 8-to-1 favorite to keep his WBC welterweight title.
“I don’t worry about the betting lines,” Guerrero told CSNBayArea.com when shown the latest odds. “I’m here to take care of business and I could care less about that.”
With cameras hovering around, one believer in Guerrero’s chances anointed the fighter’s head with oil, citing precedent to validate his credentials as he prayed aloud.
“[Guerrero] is a new Evander Holyfield,” said minister Rick Weaver, who once held the former heavyweight champ’s hands before he upset Mike Tyson in 1996. “This is a new champion you have chosen. And Father, I say to him, you will see a fist of heaven come, and you will literally do a miracle that night.”
Unwavering faith in God has been a cornerstone of Guerrero’s life, and given the mountains his family has climbed together the past few years, beating the Vegas bookies is a trivial concern.
[RELATED: Faith, family kept Casey Guerrero fighting]
“I think he’s been an underdog all his life,” said Guerrero’s promoter, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer. “We see that when his wife [Casey] was diagnosed with cancer. It required a bone marrow transplant, and he dealt with that…I think all of those people that are underestimating Robert and are labeling him an underdog are making a big mistake.”
Casey’s leukemia has since gone into remission thanks to a bone marrow transplant obtained via BeTheMatch.org, a national donor registry. Robert’s little brother Eric and sparring partner Hylon Williams Jr. started Tuesday’s festivities by swabbing their cheeks and joining the donor pool.
“If they find someone that’s a match for me, I’m ready to give back,” Eric said.
The elephant in the room was Guerrero’s latest hurdle, a recent arrest at New York City’s JFK Airport over an illegal gun possession charge. While he would not directly speak on the matter before his May 14 hearing, his publicist, Mario Serrano, passed out a statement to reporters.
[RELATED: Guerrero faces jail time after arrest]
“I respect the laws of this country,” the statement partially read. “I take my commitment and my community and my country seriously. In my 30 years, I have only received two parking tickets.
“I never had any intent to do wrong. On the contrary, I did everything I knew to do to act in a safe, legal fashion.”
With only two weeks to go before the fight, making the 147-pound limit is becoming an increasing priority for Guerrero, but he refused to reveal his current physique, electing to wear a white T-shirt emblazoned with his logo for the entire afternoon. However, the men who slug it out with him on a daily basis swear they are witnessing a warrior prepared for the biggest fight of his career.
“There’s not a step that he’s slow behind. There’s not a punch that he’s not willing to throw, and he has the heart of the lion,” said Williams, who shares sparring duties with Lonnie Smith. “He’s ready to die, and I’m thankful they let me be a part of the team when he makes history and pulls off the upset.”
Meanwhile, Mayweather has stayed uncharacteristically quiet after his initial explosive confrontation with Guerrero last month. However, the floor is Floyd’s on Wednesday at 3 p.m., when he conducts his own media workout at the Mayweather Boxing Gym on the other side of town.
Ryan Maquiñana is the Boxing Insider at CSNBayArea.com. Follow him on Twitter @RMaq28.