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Former champs Guerrero and Casamayor beef up Marquez-Diaz II lineup with southpaw showdown

Story & photo by Chris Cozzone

There will be no false pretenses when former champs Joel Casamayor and Robert Guerrero step into the ring in a battle of former southpaw champs July 31.

One champ wants a rematch with one of the headliners while the other one just wants to fight a big name.

With Amir Khan and Juan Manuel Marquez the possible prize, the battle of old and young former champs, both on the rise to 140 pounds, but on opposite ends of their respective careers, may be a case of putting the carrot (or the cart – take your pick of clichés) before the horse.

Without taking their eyes off the prize – or one another, for that matter – Guerrero, 26-1-1, 18 KOs, and Casamayor, 37-4-1, 22 KOs, will fight one of the televised bouts on the HBO PPV-telecast on the Marquez-Juan Diaz II bill at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

“Beating Guerrero puts me in line for anyone,” says the 38-year-old Casamayor. “And more than anything, I want a rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez.

“By beating Guerrero, I hope to get the rematch. That’s why I took this fight.”

Two fights ago – nearly two years ago now – Casamayor was TKO’d by Marquez during a fight that was even on two scorecards going into the fatal 11th. Since then, Casamayor went from a cut lightweight to a chunky welterweight, taking a year off, then fighting unheralded Jason Davis in a lackluster tune-up.

“Guerrero is one of the best upcoming fighters in the world,” the former Cuban gold medalist admits. “But losing – and retirement – is not an option. He is stepping up too fast and I have my back to the wall.

“No one can beat me right now, I’m so focused.”

Casamayor will be moving to 140 pounds for this fight – his career heaviest if you can excuse his inexcusable performance against Davis last November.

The fight will also mark the first time that Guerrero has fought as a junior welter. After time taking a year off to help his wife battle cancer, the former feather and super featherweight champ recently staked his claim as a lightweight by TKOing Robert Arrieta in April.

Though the fight is at 140, both, Casamayor and Guerrero, say they can both make lightweight should the right fight come along. (“I can still make 135 if that’s what it takes to get Marquez back in the ring,” says Casamayor.)

“Fighting at 135 or 140 puts you line with the big names,” says Guerrero. “I’m naturally a bigger, stronger guy. I’m excited to be fighting at both weight classes.”

Unlike Casamayor, however, Guerrero has no one else in mind to fight beyond Casamayor.

“Casamayor is a very experienced guy,” he says. “He’s ‘been there, done that’ and you have to be on your toes. You can’t take him lightly, especially him being a leftie.

“The guys on my resume – nobody can compare to Casamayor. He is, by far, the best fighter I’ve ever been in the ring with. But I’m up to the challenge and ready for it.”

“Both guys want the biggest names out there,” says Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer. “If Casamayor wins, there’s the possibility of a rematch with Marquez – or a fight with Amir Khan. If Guerrero wins, the same is true for him.”

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