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Guerrero plans to pull a Donaire on Donaire

Story and photos by Chris Cozzone

If there’s one fight Mexican contender Gerson “El Nene” Guerrero has studied, in preparation for his Saturday showdown with Nonito Donaire, it’s the “Filipino Flash’s” 2007 upset over then-reigning champ Vic Darchinyan.

No, it’s not the reach that interests Guerrero. Nor is it the power or footwork.

It’s the upset itself, for Guerrero says he’s coming to Las Vegas to pull a Nonito Donaire on Nonito Donaire.

“He thinks I’m an easy fight for him,” says Guerrero. “But I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life – and I will bring a fight to him.”

On Saturday, Guerrero, 34-8, 26 KOs, has been chosen to be the next victim for Donaire, 22-1, 14 KOs, who has big marquee names lined up, from Jorge Arce and Darchinyan, at 115, to Fernando Montiel at 118, to Israel Vazquez at 122.

Needless to say, Guerrero says he believes Donaire is looking past him, but his relief at finally getting a shot at stardom overshadows everything.

“The champions never wanted to fight me,” says the 15-year veteran – and contender, for the last decade. “They know I’m strong. Jorge Arce, Montiel, Edgar Sosa – I’ve sparred with all of them and they felt my hands.

“That’s been the biggest mistake of my career. It’s why they never wanted to fight me in a real fight.”

Guerrero has been NABF champion at 112 and 115, and has won a handful of minor belts. His one world title shot came in 2006 when he, with a few days notice, moved up two divisions to fight then-champ Daniel Ponce de Leon. Guerrero was kayoed in two.

“De Leon was my toughest fight,” says Guerrero. “But because of the weight. At 115, I’m not scared of anybody.”

This time around, Guerrero has also had ample time to train – and will be fighting in his optimum weight class.

“I’m very hyper and motivated for this fight,” says Guerrero. “It’s in my weight class and we’ve had the exact time to train for it.”

Managed by Oswaldo Kuckle, Guerrero prepared in Mexico City under trainer Tony Rodriguez. Sparmates have ranged from Julio Zarate to Cuauhtemoc Vargas to Jorge Arce.

“I’ve been very focused, very concentrated on Nonito,” says Guerrero. “Preparation and sparring has been great.”

If Guerrero pulls off the upset, he hopes he will get the opportunities that are being planned for Donaire.

“I’ve always wanted to fight the best,” he says. “Whether it’s Donaire or Darchinyan or Arce.”


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