By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero will be fighting for the first time since losing a 12-round decision and WBC welterweight title to Floyd Mayweather last year. Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs), following a one-year absence, returns to SHOWTIME Championship Boxing in the main event to challenge Yoshihiro Kamegai (24-1-1, 21 KOs) on Saturday, June 21, at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA. The telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Also, on the card, undefeated featherweight prospect Gary Russell (24-0, 14 KOs) will face Vasyl Lomachenko (1-1,1 KO) for the WBO 126-pound title. Plus, former IBF welterweight and former unified WBC/IBF junior welterweight champion Devon Alexander (25-2, 14 KOs) faces Jesus Soto Karass (28-9-3, 18 KOs) at 154 pounds.
“The fans in Carson always demand the best fights possible, and we’ve got two more for them on June 21,” said Oscar De La Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. “It’s great to have Robert Guerrero back in the ring where he belongs, and his fight with Kamegai is going to be action-packed from start to finish. Also, Russell vs. Lomachenko is a fight fans have been asking for and looking forward to seeing for quite some time. Given what these two young men can do in the ring, it may not be the last time we see them fighting each other. Add in Alexander vs. Soto Karass, and this is another great card that I can’t wait to see.”
Guerrero is excited to return to ring.
“I’m excited to be making my ring return on June 21, especially for my fans in California,” Guerrero said. “Although I’ve been out for a while, make no mistake about it, I’m in great shape. I’m hungry and I’m looking forward to the challenge Kamegai presents. I am just happy to be fighting again while bringing excitement to the hottest division in boxing, the welterweight division. I have no doubt that I will be victorious in my return.”
Guerrero, in a brave and heroic effort, came up short in his 12-round battle with the slick, elusive, and most talented Floyd Mayweather when the two fought in May 2013. Guerrero was the first opponent Mayweather fought since signing a lucrative three year, six-fight pact to fight on SHOWTIME. The deal is worth up to $200 million.
Mayweather wanted to fight a guy that was a world champion that had a great story and deserved the chance to attempt to topple the world’s best. Guerrero, a former champion at 130 and 135 pounds, moved up two weight classes for the chance to fight Floyd. In fact, Guerrero was calling Mayweather out for 2½ years prior to their fight. During that time, Guerrero punished former world champions Joel Casamayor and Michael Katsidis in exciting fights.
Following the move from 135 to 147, Guerrero, the naturally smaller fighter, dismantled hard-hitters Selcuk Aydin and Andre Berto to the amazement of Mayweather and the rest of the boxing community.
The 31 year-old Guerrero is back and he is anxious to return to his native California where he will have the home field advantage against Kamegai, who will be fighting in the U.S. for the second time. Last year, in Carson, CA, Kamegai lost to Johan Perez in June 2013, but has won his last two fights.
“It’s good to fight in the United States again at StubHub Center, especially after I was treated so well by the fans there the first time,” said Kamegai. “This time though, I’m going to get the win. While Robert Guerrero is a great fighter, I will be better than him on June 21.”
Gary Russell vs. Vasyl Lomachenko
Gary Russell’s moment at redemption has led him toward his destiny of becoming a world champion. Russell was supposed to have competed for U.S. Boxing Team at the 2008 Olympics, but collapsed after a weigh-in prior to the start of the games. Russell, America’s best hope to bring home a gold medal was devastated, as he left China without having competed for his country.
Russell, 25, Capital Heights, MD, has launched a very successful professional career in January 2009. He has fought a lot of good fighters with good records. Perhaps his most recognizable win occurred in only his 11th professional bout when he soundly outclassed former world champion Mauricio Pastrana inside one round in 2010. Russell has been patient and is anxious to fulfill his goal of winning one of many world titles.
“This is the moment I’ve been waiting for, and now it is time to show the world my boxing skills and talent,” said Russell. “Lomachenko’s reputation speaks for itself. I respect him as a fighter but he doesn’t know what he is about to face fighting me. He’s going to find out that I’m on a whole different level and come June 21, that belt is going to be mine to take home.”
Vasyl Lomachenko is the highly-touted two-time Olympic Gold medal champion. He won Gold in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and compiled an impressive 396-1 amateur record. Lomachenko, following an impressive 2013 professional debut attempted to set a world record by winning a world title in only his second pro bout. Lomachenko, challenged WBO featherweight champion Orlando Salido, who lost his title at the scales for failing to make the 126-pound limit.
Lomachenko, 26, Ukraine, will challenge Russell for a vacant title in only his third professional bout.
“I know how good Gary Russell is, and it’s going to be a good fight for the fans on June 21,” said Lomachenko. “I learned a lot from my fight with Orlando Salido, and I will be the best I can against Russell. I want that world title and I plan on taking it.”
Devon Alexander vs. Jesus Soto-Karass
Alexander suffered a devastating defeat in 2013, as he lost his IBF 147-pound title to Shawn Porter. Also, Karass suffered a devastating knockout at the hands of Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman last year as well. The two will meet in an attempt to set their career on track. Alexander, the slick boxer from St. Louis, MO has struggled in recent fights. Alexander, who shared the ring with Timothy Bradley, Marcos Rene Maidana, Randall Bailey, Juan Urango, Andre Kotelnik, Junior Witter, and DeMarcus Corley looked terrible last December when Porter aggressively beat him for the IBF title.
Alexander needs solid performance to remain relevant in a tight welterweight class.
“I had a nice break after my last fight and it allowed me to regroup, recharge my batteries, and get ready for another run at the title,” said Alexander. “Soto Karass is a tough guy, there’s no denying that, but tough won’t be enough when we fight. I’m a man on a mission now, and he’s in the way.”
Karass is a very tough fighter having won four of his last six fights. Andre Berto and Selcuk Aydin, two solid 147-pound punchers, have been around the block for 13 years. Perhaps the wear-and-tear of boxing has gotten the better of Karass. But he refuses to give up, as he will press for one more world title shot. A win against Alexander might not get an immediate title fight, but he’ll definitely be in the mix.
“Devon Alexander is fast and slick, and you have to respect his skills, but if he doesn’t respect mine, he’s going to get knocked out,” said Soto Karass. “And even if he does respect me, I’m going to beat him on June 21 and get back in line for a title fight.”
Tickets priced at $150, $75, $50 and $25, plus applicable taxes, fees and services charges, will be on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. PT and are available online at AXS.com, by phone at 888-9-AXS-TIX (888-929-7849) and at StubHub Center Box Office (Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. PT to 6 p.m. PT). VIP Suites are available by calling 877-604-8777. For more information on group discounts or VIP packages, please call 877-234-8425.