Boxing
 
        === Guerrero speaks: "I feel I can beat anyone in the world" ===
 
 By Lyle Fitzsimmons, Boxing Editor
 
 Cape Coral, FL (Sports Network) - I've never been hesitant to engage with
 Robert Guerrero.
 
 When he initially piped up last winter with claims that Floyd Mayweather Jr.
 wanted no part of him because Guerrero was "the guy that can hurt him and he
 knows it," I respectfully asked that he clam up until his resume provided more
 champion-baiting leverage.
 
 And when he threw a cheesy interim welterweight belt across his shoulder in
 July and claimed a points win over Selcuk Aydin made him the first Mexican-
 American with crowns in four weight classes, I quickly suggested he take a
 stroll through the trophy room over at Golden Boy Promotions.
 
 Specifically, the wing housing the six straps won by the guy with his name on
 the door.
 
 Still, in spite of my occasionally less-than-celebratory take on his
 achievements, I'll give the "Ghost" full credit for being a professional. And
 after I contacted his ace publicist, Mario Serrano, for an interview a few
 days back, Guerrero was nothing if not cooperative when it came to answering
 questions.
 
 No smart-aleck remarks. No payback jabs for past opinions. No signs of a
 lingering grudge.
 
 All the signs that indicate he's a big boy who understands we all have a job
 to do, and that - in spite of what some fans might believe - nowhere on the
 list of duties for a columnist is the word "cheerleader."
 
 It's refreshing, and I applaud him for it.
 
 Speaking of applause, he deserves another round for his latest bold step
 toward the elite at 147 pounds - a challenge of former IBF/WBC champion Andre
 Berto that's scheduled for Nov. 24 in his big California backyard at the
 Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario.
 
 Whether he's good enough in his new division to pick off a guy who's had
 nothing but title fights for the last four years is a fair question. But what
 looks beyond query two weeks in advance is this - the winner of the fight
 should be declared the WBC's full-fledged world champion.
 
 Do I think either of the two guys could beat today's belt-holder - the
 aforementioned Mr. Mayweather - over 12 rounds without using a gun or a bat?
 No. But given the incumbent's apparent disinterest in defending the laurels
 against a willing contender, there's really no other fair choice.
 
 Guerrero, rightly or wrongly, is the organization's top contender by virtue of
 his win over Aydin. And, according to its own rules, Mayweather has already
 positioned himself for a title strip by failing to even one time risk the belt
 he won from Victor Ortiz 14 months ago.
 
 According to Article 3, Section 1 of the rules and regulations of the World
 Boxing Council, a champion "shall defend the title in mandatory or voluntary
 defenses at least three (3) times a year, unless a written exception or
 extension is granted by the WBC in its sole discretion. Therefore, a champion
 must defend his title every one hundred twenty (120) unless otherwise
 permitted by the WBC in its sole discretion. Upon winning a title, a champion
 must defend the title within 90 to 120 days as ordered by the WBC, and
 thereafter every 120 days, in each case unless otherwise ordered or permitted
 by the WBC in its sole discretion."
 
 Has Mayweather made a behind-closed-doors appeal to Jose Sulaiman to keep his
 legitimate reign intact? I don't know. But what I do know, short of a
 declaration to the contrary by Sulaiman or an underling - incidentally, a
 request for a statement from the WBC for this column went unanswered - is that
 Guerrero has done everything that seems necessary to have his dubious reign
 promoted.
 
 He's not the best welterweight in my eyes, but he deserves to be called
 "champ."
 
 On those and other topics, here's the transcript of my Guerrero interview:
 
 Lyle Fitzsimmons: Assess Berto as a fighter.  What in particular does he do -
 good or bad - that you notice when you see him live or on video?  Is he
 especially similar to or reminiscent of anyone you've fought?
 
 Robert Guerrero: Berto has fast hands and he's an explosive puncher. He does
 have some flaws, though, that I'm not going to talk about because I don't want
 to give up my game plan. I can't think of any fighters that I've fought in the
 past that resemble Berto because he's a bigger guy and this is my second fight
 at welterweight. That being said, I don't think he's been in the ring with
 someone like me either.
 
 LF: He tested positive before his last fight, which automatically makes people
 wonder if he'd been using something for much of his career, and only recently
 got caught.  What is your view?  Does it concern you at all?  Is it a
 psychological advantage to be his first opponent after his failed test?
 
 RG: There's always a concern when you're fighting someone who's tested
 positive for steroids as Berto has, but USADA is going to be testing both of
 us, and I personally got word from California State Athletic that they are
 going to step up the testing as well. So if he's going to cheat, he'll get
 caught, but I don't think he's going to risk ruining his career. I'm not
 worried about it at all. As far as the psychological advantage, all I can say
 is I'm always ready to go and he's going to have to deal with a fighter that's
 going to be motivated for other reasons, not the fact that he's going to be
 coming off a failed drug test.
 
 LF: You've had one welterweight fight after a career at 135 or below.  How
 much different did punches from a 147-pounder feel?  Any different than you'd
 expected?  How do you think Berto compares to Aydin as a puncher and an
 overall fighter?  Is he a significantly bigger challenge?
 
 RG: The punches are harder at welterweight because the guys are bigger but I
 proved I can take a punch at this weight. Aydin is a different type of fighter
 because he has a come-forward type style. Berto is more of a boxer with faster
 hands. They both possess different challenges, but I feel I can counter any
 attack.
 
 LF: Are you the best welterweight in the world?  If not, who is?  And who
 would you have to beat in order to make you No. 1?  Does Berto make you the
 best?
 
 RG: Right now according to the boxing critics, Floyd Mayweather Jr. is
 considered the best welterweight in the world followed by Manny Pacquiao. But
 I feel I'm the best welterweight in the world and in due time I'll prove it.
 Berto is an explosive fighter and he isn't a two-time welterweight champion
 for nothing. He's definitely one of the best in the division and I'll have to
 be on my A game to beat him.
 
 LF: You won the Aydin fight decisively on the scorecards and received good
 reviews.  Were you satisfied with the performance?  What was the one most
 glaring that you thought, "OK, I need to work on this"?
 
 RG: Aydin was a tough fighter who brought a lot of punching power and pressure
 to the table. I feel I could have boxed better but I had a little ring rust
 after being off for a year and a half. People forget Aydin was the mandatory
 challenger to fight Floyd and Berto, but they chose not to fight him because
 he's a dangerous fighter. I stepped up and took on the challenge to show the
 world I'm willing to fight the No. 1 guy that no one wanted to fight. I did it
 by jumping up two weight classes after a year and a half layoff when I was
 avoided by all the champions at 135. Ninety-nine percent of fighters will
 never do what I did, so yeah I'm satisfied with the win.
 
 LF: What was the main difference you felt between fighting at welter and in
 the other classes?  Did you feel stronger?  How did it impact your energy?
 Will your camp for this fight be any different, based on what you've learned?
 
 RG: First off, when I fight at welterweight I don't have to diet down to make
 the weight so I feel stronger. Bob Santos does my diet and we learned some
 things from the last fight that we are going to do different in this fight.
 There were some minor adjustments that were made and I'm feeling better than
 ever.
 
 LF: It's been reported that your purse will be $1 million for the first time.
 Other than the money itself, what does that mean to you?  Does it give you a
 feeling of accomplishment?  Do you feel you're being paid on the level that
 you deserve?
 
 RG: For me it's all about my legacy and not the money that drives me. If you
 keep winning then the money will be there. It's nice to be in the position I'm
 in now.
 
 LF: You've not been shy about calling Mayweather out and claiming that you
 deserve a shot at him.  Has there been any direct contact from either him or
 his people - up or down?  If he doesn't react, do you expect the WBC to make
 this a full title fight?  Do you honestly believe he's afraid of you, or that
 he simply doesn't think it's a worthwhile business option?
 
 RG: I'm not even thinking about Mayweather. My whole focus is on beating
 Berto. If the WBC wants to make me the full champion, then that will be the
 right thing to do since Floyd isn't fighting, but I'm not concerned about it.
 I've always said I'm here to fight the best and Berto is the best possible
 opponent that's available.
 
 LF: If that fight never happens, what are the others you want to make?  We
 spoke a few years ago and you said you wanted Pacquiao.  Is that still the
 case.  What exactly happened in terms of a Bradley fight?  Was there a formal
 offer that was made and rejected?
 
 RG: Like I said, I'm here to fight the best, whether it's Mayweather or
 Pacquiao or whoever. I was willing to fight Bradley but he and his trainer
 didn't want the fight. Everyone was on board except them, and that was public
 knowledge.  The fact of the matter is I've had to move up multiple weight
 classes because every time I get in the mandatory position, the champion at
 the time never wants to fight me. When you're avoided as I've been, you have
 to do extraordinary feats, to get a big fight.
 
 LF: How would a fight between you and Mayweather, or you and Pacquiao, unfold?
 Who do you think would win if they ever fought?  Why?  Do you think they will?
 
 RG: I'm not concerned about Mayweather or Pacquiao, I got Berto to deal with
 right now. If Mayweather and Pacquiao ever fight I'm picking Floyd to win a
 unanimous decision. But like I said earlier, I feel I can beat anyone in the
 world at welterweight, including Mayweather and Pacquiao.
 
 LF: Who's the toughest, or best, opponent you've ever had?  Are the potential
 foes we've talked about at welterweight bigger challenges than what you've
 had?
 
 RG: Aydin was the toughest opponent so far because I jumped up two weight
 classes and had to get accustomed to a weight class I've never fought in. You
 mentioned the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, so yes I imagine
 they'll be a tougher challenge then Aydin.
 
 LF: Clearly, you've had out of the ring challenges that most fighters haven't
 had.  How are things going with your wife?  Do you keep fighting, in part, to
 publicize her and make sure all her needs are addressed?  How much longer do
 you see yourself going?
 
 RG: My wife is going great and I'm always going to be an ambassador in the
 fight against cancer. When my body says it's time to hang 'em up, then I'll
 do so then. Right now I feel young and strong so time will tell.
 
 LF: When your career is over, what needs to be accomplished before you'll be
 satisfied with it?
 
 RG: I want to fight the best pound-for-pound fighters in my division to be
 satisfied. Until then I'm going to keep striving to get in the ring with those
 guys.
 
 *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
 
 This week's title-fight schedule:
 
 FRIDAY
 IBO featherweight title - Singapore, Singapore
 Daud Yordan (champion) vs. Choi Tseveenpurev (No. 22 contender)
 Yordan (29-2, 23 KO): First title defense; Three fights in Singapore, all two-
 round KOs
 Tseveenpurev (36-5, 24 KO): First title fight; Tenth fight outside United
 Kingdom (6-3)
 Fitzbitz says: "Incumbent champion has hung in with division's best and fared
 well against next tier of opponents, which should be enough to get through a
 close initial title defense." Yordan by decision
 
 WBA featherweight title - Singapore, Singapore
 Chris John (champion) vs. Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo (No. 7 contender)
 John (47-0-2, 22 KO): Seventeenth title defense; Second fight in Singapore
 (1-0)
 Piriyapinyo (44-0, 27 KO): First title fight; Held multiple regional belts
 since 2004
 Fitzbitz says: "John has been an unheralded elite against largely unknown
 opposition, and, while the margins of victory are narrowing, he should retain
 his status here." John by decision
 
 SATURDAY
 IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight titles - Altona, Germany
 Wladimir Klitschko (champion) vs. Mariusz Wach (No. 15/16/14/15 contender)
 Klitschko (58-3, 50 KO): Thirteenth IBF/IBO title defense; Unbeaten in Germany
 since 2003 (13-0)
 Wach (27-0, 15 KO): First title fight; Fourth fight in Germany (3-0)
 Fitzbitz says: "Wach is 6-foot-7 and Klitschko is fighting without his
 recently deceased trainer, but that's about the only reason for drama in what
 looks like another competitive mismatch." Klitschko in 6
 
 IBF bantamweight title - Los Angeles, Calif.
 Leo Santa Cruz (champion) vs. Victor Zaleta (unranked)
 Santa Cruz (21-0-1, 12 KO): Second title defense; Tenth fight in California
 (9-0)
 Zaleta (20-2-1, 10 KO): Second title fight; Lost WBO title shot at 115 in 2011
 Fitzbitz says: "Santa Cruz is a punishing body puncher, which should pay
 significant and immediate dividends against an opponent less accustomed to
 shots at 118 pounds." Santa Cruz in 8
 
 IBO super middleweight title - Kempton Park, South Africa
 Thomas Oosthuizen (champion) vs. Fulgencio Zuniga (unranked)
 Oosthuizen (20-0-1, 13 KO): Sixth title defense; Sixteenth fight in Kempton
 Park (14-0-1)
 Zuniga (25-5-1, 22 KO): Sixth title fight; Held IBO title at 168 (2007, zero
 defenses)
 Fitzbitz says: "South African slugger is being prepped for a star turn in New
 York and should stay busy, and look impressive, in last Madison Square Garden
 hurdle." Oosthuizen in 5
 
 Vacant IBO super flyweight title - Kempton Park, South Africa
 Gideon Buthelezi (No. 15 contender) vs. Edrin Dapudong (unranked)
 Buthelezi (12-3, 4 KO): Fourth title fight; Held IBO titles at 105 and 108
 pounds (2010-11, zero defenses)
 Dapudong (27-4, 15 KO): Second title fight; First fight in South Africa
 Fitzbitz says: "Traveling Filipino enters the bout on a win streak, but he's
 not beaten anything remotely resembling a contender - and barely any .500
 fighters. Good enough for the local." Buthelezi by decision
 
 WBC super bantamweight title - Los Angeles, Calif.
 Abner Mares (champion) vs. Anselmo Moreno (unranked)
 Mares (24-0-1, 13 KO): First title defense; Held IBO and IBF titles at 118
 (2010-11, one defense)
 Moreno (33-1-1, 12 KO): Twelfth title fight; Holds WBA title at 118 (2008-
 present, 11 defenses)
 Fitzbitz says: "Moreno's slickness reminds some of Pernell Whitaker, but, at
 122, Mares seems capable of grinding down even the most sublime opponents on
 the way to big fights." Mares by decision
 
 WBO light heavyweight title - Los Angeles, Calif.
 Nathan Cleverly (champion) vs. Shawn Hawk (unranked)
 Cleverly (24-0, 11 KO): Fourth title defense; Second fight in United States
 Hawk (23-2-1, 17 KO): First title fight; Second fight in California
 Fitzbitz says: "Cleverly isn't and might never be a household name, but he
 didn't get brought to L.A. and put on this card to get by a fighter with as
 limited as resume as Hawk's." Cleverly in 8
 
 Last week's picks: 3-0
 Overall picks record: 441-149 (74.7 percent)
 
 Lyle Fitzsimmons is a veteran sports columnist who's written professionally
 since 1988 and covered boxing since 1995. His work is published in print and
 posted online for clients in North America and Europe. Reach him at
 fitzbitz@msn.com or follow him on Twitter: @fitzbitz.
 
 
 
 11/08 10:56:56 ET