Photos by Sumio Yamada
JOAN GUZMAN vs JAVIER JAUREGUI
Undefeated Joan Guzman, one of the most exciting fighters in the lighter weight classes, pulled out of his scheduled WBO 126-pound title fight with Scott Harrison ostensibly due to weight difficulties and will make his debut in the 130-pound division when he faces the always tough Javier Jauregui in a 10-rounder on the big May 6 promotion.
Guzman (24-0, 17 KOs) started out as a 122-pounder and for a while he was living up to his Little Tyson" nickname as he knocked out 13 of his first 15 opponents.
As Guzman moved up in weight and started meeting a higher standard of opponent, though, it seemed that he was not banging as hard as he had done earlier in his career. His style has evolved into more of a boxer-puncher: fast hands, cute moves, combinations.
The last really destructive display by Guzman was when he beat up his rival from the Dominican Republic, the ill-fated Agapito Sanchez, in seven rounds two years ago. No one had ever done that to Sanchez.
Guzmans last three wins were all on points, however, although against durable opponents.
It would be quite a performance if Guzman could stop Jauregui, but that does not seem probable. The 32-year-old from Guadalajara is a seasoned, battle-hardened professional who held the IBF lightweight title before moving back to the junior lightweight division last September with a surprisingly easy win over the Filipino Randy Suico.
Jauregui (51-12-2, 35 KOs) has not been stopped since Acelino Freitas caught him cold in the opening round in Brazil six years ago and he has had some exciting wins since then, knocking out Juan Gomez Trinidad in four rounds, outpointing the previously unbeaten Alex Trujillo in a bloody fight in Puerto Rico and overpowering the tragic Leavander Johnson in 11 rounds in a lightweight title fight.
He seems to be at his best when opponents are in front of him except in the Freitas fight, that is. Boxers and movers tend to give him problems. We saw this when he was outpointed by Julio Diaz and the southpaw Ricky Quiles in his last two defeats. But Randy Suico, who came with a big-puncher reputation, was given a boxing lesson by Jauregui even though one judge scored the fight a draw.
Jauregui can box and he can fight, but Guzman seems to have the stamp of a special type of fighter.
HBOs unofficial official" Harold Lederman is very impressed with Guzman. After watching Guzman box rings round the sturdy Thai, Terdsak, in upstate New York last August, Lederman said in a phone conversation: Every time he moves his arm and goes to throw anything its six punches he never throws one punch. I mean, hes an amazing combination puncher.
He did something I never saw in my 36 years since I started judging professional boxing. The Thai guy he fought in White Plains had him trapped in a neutral corner: He didnt fight his way out of the corner, he didnt spin his way out, he did a duck-squat, fast as a shot, like lightning, and he went right under the Thai guy. The Thai guys looking around, like: â€˜Where did he go? The place went nuts. He did it so fast, the guy he was fighting never knew where the hell he went. It was incredible.
The only drawback, he hit the Thai guy on top of the head about the fifth or sixth round and hurt his hands and slapped him around for the last half of the fight in other words he didnt throw a power shot, hed throw six-punch combinations but you could tell he was pulling his punches because his hands hurt him."
Jauregui is a hard-hitting, tough, quality fighter but I think that the sheer speed of Guzman, his movement and the combinations that Lederman refers to are going to be too much for the more methodical Mexican boxer. I like Guzman by unanimous decision in an entertaining fight.