Fernando Guerrero tested by Ishe Smith

by Geoffrey Ciani - Middleweight prospect Fernando Guerrero (19-0, 15 KOs) stepped up in class when he battled Ishe Smith (21-5, 9 KOs) tonight at the DeSoto Civic Center in Southaven, Mississippi. Guerrero passed his test and overcame some adversity during a difficult encounter which saw him rise from the canvas. It was a fairly grueling match for both fighters which made for an entertaining affair. Guerrero was ultimately awarded a unanimous decision victory for his efforts (96-93, 95-93, 97-91).

The bout kicked off with both fighters showing mutual respect for the other’s abilities. The action was slow and measured at the onset. Both fighters were patient and a tactical chess match ensued where both men showed a strong commitment to the body. In the third round Guerrero picked up the pace and began forcing the action. True to form, Ishe remained calm under fire while exhibiting some really good defense in the process. Even still, the sheer volume of punches from Guerrero allowed him to find the mark with some frequency. Ishe continued focusing on Guerrero’s midsection and was twice warned for low blows due to shots landing around or below Guerrero’s waistband.

In the fourth round Guerrero began working at a ferocious pace. He was throwing every punch in the book and doing a nice job mixing it up to the head and body. Ishe, despite being outworked, continued working Guerrero’s body. Oftentimes he came dangerously close to going below the belt, but he was never deterred from his efforts. This pattern continued throughout the fifth and the sixth rounds until Ishe was finally deducted a point for straying low with his punches. In the seventh round, Guerrero began slowing down a bit while Ishe started picking things up. At the end of seven, Guerrero was in control and appeared to be coasting towards victory.

Round eight was a close one that concluded with Ishe landing a quick right hand that seemed to catch Guerrero off balance sending him down to the canvas. It was a legitimate knockdown, but Guerrero did not appear to be seriously hurt. Even though Guerrero’s legs appeared fresh, Ishe was emboldened by the knockdown and he came out for the ninth with renewed vigor. Over the last two rounds, Ishe appeared to get the best of Guerrero who, to his credit, showed some nice spots on defense and handled the situation like an experienced pro. Unfortunately for Ishe his rally came up short as Guerrero persevered and held his own despite getting outboxed and outworked down the stretch.

Both fighters made good accounts of themselves. Guerrero proved he was ready for the step up in class while Smith proved to be a formidable foe. With the loss, it is unsure where Smith goes from here. While he certainly did not perform poorly, he may have still relegated himself to gatekeeper status. With the victory, Guerrero gained some good experience against a tough seasoned veteran. This allows him to continue his ascent in the rankings. Regardless, Guerrero is still clearly a work in progress who should not be rushed into the big time too quickly. At 23 years old, he still has a lot to learn and can use some fine-tuning before taking another big step up in class.


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Article posted on 17.07.2010

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