Robert Guerrero’s pro career (33-3-1) began at just 16 years old, when he vied to represent the United States at the 2000 Olympic summer games.
He came close but lost a controversial decision to an eventual Olympian. Though he would have still been just out of his teens heading into the 2004 games, and would have likely been a favorite to make the U.S. team with four more years of amateur experience, Guerrero became disillusioned with the amateur system and rules and decided to go pro before he was even eligible to vote.
"I was disgusted with the politics of amateur boxing," he recounted recently to FOX Sports.
"I deserved to win against a guy who became an Olympian. I landed more shots than him, it was plain to see, but they still gave it to him. So, I decided to go pro and try my chances there instead of waiting another four years to try and get in the Olympics, again.”
Both amateur and pro boxing have plenty of unsavory politics to contend with, of course, Guerrero also soon realized that the pro style suited him much better.
The Californian is a technician, to be sure, but he also likes to dig into his opponents with real power. In amateur boxing, each punch landed — regardless of how strong or glancing — is counted as one point.
Heck, even knockdowns are simply counted as a single punch landed. Even as a teenager, the Guerrero began to recognize how smaller gloves and a scoring system that treated a fight like a fight, not a Karate point competition, was better for him.
"I definitely took to the pro style right away," the 32-year-old said.
"Everything is different. From no head gear, to the points being different, to knockdowns being recognized as game-changers. You can really hurt someone in a pro fight. Everything you do makes a difference."
Guerrero would go on to rack up titles and experience over the years. He’s rarely lost, but his few defeats have come in recent years, to the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
After each loss, however, Guerrero has bounced back strong with impressive wins. Now, he finds himself on the eve of another mega-fight, for the vacant WBC welterweight title.
It is one of the belts that Mayweather Jr. left up for grabs when he retired last year. Guerrero takes on the undefeated Danny Garcia for the belt Saturday in the PBC main event airing live on FOX.
Garcia is dangerous and no one yet has been able to hand him a loss. While Guerrero realizes that, he is still happy to be the more tested and grizzled veteran in their match up.
"That experience of having to come back from losses helps you as a fighter," he explained.
"He doesn’t have that experience. It doesn’t mean that he won’t fight well, though, of course. When you’re undefeated, you’re hungry and motivated to stay perfect. So, he’ll probably come at me very hard.
"He’s a good fighter, but I’m glad I have that experience. I’m glad that I’ve been through loss and had to come back from it. There isn’t any type of situation that a fighter can face in a fight that I haven’t been in."