Joe Goossen Exorcises His Ghost

12.05.04 - By Fiona Manning: The news that Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero bolted from trainer Joe Goossen last week came as a shock to most boxing insiders. That Guerrero, an unheralded featherweight southpaw became a highly-regarded KO artist under Goossen’s hand is undisputed. What is in dispute is why Team Guerrero chose to leave when things were just beginning to really pop for the fighter. Guerrero’s people say it was a personality clash. For the record, though unexpected, it was not a tremendous shock to Goossen. You might say, “That’s boxing.” In a sport where disloyalty is right up there along with handwraps and heavy bags, Goossen, though disappointed, remains philosophical about the split. In an exclusive interview with Eastside Boxing, Goossen said today, “As Robert’s trainer, I’m not happy. I think it’s the wrong move at the wrong time.

“Anybody who took notice could see he took great strides and improvements since we joined forces as fighter and trainer.

“They made a decision to make a move and it’s really out of my control at this time.”

Goossen remains on board as Guerrero’s co-manager.

“I think his career has been pretty well managed up to this point,” he said. “I plan to continue in that capacity but as far as I’m concerned, the key to success begins and ends in the gym.”

How does Goossen feel about the fact that Guerrero has chosen to train instead with Goossen’s friend John Bray?

“John Bray is an up and coming trainer,” he said. “He’s certainly winning with Art Simonyan and I’m sure he’s going to work hard.”

Meanwhile, believe it when you read that the mood in the Ten Goose Gym is ebullient this week.

You might say it’s out of sight, out of mind.

These are men at work with major fights coming up: With three top fighters now reigning supreme; “Sugar” Shane Mosley, Juan Lazcano and Diego Corrales, the atmosphere is well…infectious.

When Eastside went to visit, the place was jumping.

Lazcano, prepping for his upcoming battle with Jose Luis Castillo, traded jokes with a Lakers-jersey clad Shane Mosley who is waiting for a date with Winky Wright.

Mosley could not believe that his former cutman Dr. George del Junco was taking credit for steering his career to a world championship.

When told about del Junco’s statements in the Spanish-language newspaper La Opinion, Mosley said; “Did he say that? Really? Man, I must have missed that. I don’t remember him steering me or driving me anywhere!”

As Goossen’s right hand man Elan Haim helped the fighters stretch out in the ring, each took turns getting their hands wrapped for sparring.

Lazcano was in good spirits. Clearly excited about his new regime having made the switch from trainer Freddie Roach, he hugged sparring partner Yoni Vargas as the two prepared to go to war.

“I thought Castillo won the first fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr,” he said. “That was a great fight. I thought Mayweather won the second fight though – he’s a great opponent for me.”

Who would he like to face in his talent-rich division after Castillo?

“Well my dear,” he said. “I appreciate your faith in me, but I take it one fight at a time.”

Goossen was wrapping his hot 132 pound amateur star Danny Jimenez’s hands.

Jimenez, who has racked up an astonishing 180 bouts and estimates he’s won 149 of them.

He makes his pro debut in July along with Goossen’s other rising star Marshall Martinez.

“Find out why that guy over there is wearing a cage,” Goossen tells Haim.

Ah, that’s gym slang for headgear.

And the guy, named Ivan is to spar five rounds with Lazcano before being replaced by Yoni Vargas.

As Lazcano sparred, everybody in the gym crowded the ropes. Even Mosley was glued to the action ringside.

It was record producer Quincy Jones who coined the phrase, “Check your ego at the door” but it’s a phrase that might well apply to Goossen’s gym too.

The energy is high, no egos allowed, no egos want to be allowed.

Things are so good for Mosley who seems relaxed, confident and chummy that Diego Corrales will be back in the gym next week to hang out.

Some guys have all the fun.

For questions or comments: e-mail Fiona Manning at

Article posted on 12.05.2004

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