Boxing

Fernando Guerrero: Against all odds

By Joseph Herron: In life we take certain amenities for granted…air conditioning, clothing, toiletries, food, sanitation, shoes, ect…

Most people overlook or forget that there are so many underprivileged youths in this world who are born into adversities that we can’t even begin to fathom.

Prizefighter Fernando Guerrero (21-0, 16 KOs) is one of those individuals and feels fortunate just to be alive.

“Nothing has been easy for me,” claims the Dominican born fighter. “The hardest thing for me has been adapting to this thing that we call life.”

Fernando’s grandfather put him to work at the tender age of four before moving to the United States.

“Being born in the Dominican Republic and in a very poor area was a struggle,” states the 24 year old pugilist. “My Grandfather and father risked their lives to bring all of us to America in search of a better life.”

“Instead of being one of those guys who spend their time in the streets, choosing not to do the right thing, I decided that the best way to repay my dad and my grandfather was to do the opposite,” claims Guerrero. “I am so thankful for everything that I have in this country and I have been so blessed with the people surrounding me who truly care about my best interests.”

One of those individuals is trainer and manager Hal Chernoff.

“Hal has been my American father,” believes the young boxer. “He really cares about me…I know this to be true.”

Fernando actually conducted his own personal experiment to test Hal’s loyalty.

“One day I told Hal that I didn’t want to fight anymore,” claims Fernando. “He simply said, ‘Ok…what are we going to do now?’ I knew right then and there that he was not in this for himself, but that he really cared about my happiness and what was best for me.”

Currently, Fernando’s family is pushing him to not only accomplish his goals in the sport of boxing, but also pushing him to receive a quality education; which is no easy task for a young man who did know a word of English when he arrived in America.

“One day I told my Dad that I was going to the national golden gloves, and he looked at me and said, ‘not until you finish your homework’…my Dad has always pushed me to get a quality education so I am currently pursuing my associates degree at the community college,” proclaims the 24 year old NABF middleweight champion. “After I get that, I will get a four year degree at the university.”

Fernando Guerrero admits that boxing has played an integral part in his success to this point.

“Boxing gives you a great work ethic,” states the Salisbury, Maryland resident. “There are a lot of times when you don’t want to wake up at five in the morning and your body can’t give you anything more, but you have to be disciplined to succeed in anything that you do.”

Fernando Guerrero also feels very strongly about the image of fighters and how it affects the reputation of boxing to the public eye.

“I think it’s important that the general public realize that I’m an educated person with a clean reputation,” declares Guerrero. “I’m not a guy off the streets who can fight, I want to be seen as a person in the sport of boxing who cares about his community and wants to be a positive example to others.”

Fernando feels that a clean image with a positive message is what will bring boxing back to prominence in American sports.

“Fighters should be more concerned with their actions outside of the ring,” states the Dominican born fighter. “That’s where they spend the majority of their time so they should be more focused on doing charity work with the local boys & girls clubs, community centers, and giving back to the people who need their help the most.”

“That’s what will send boxing to the next level,” believes Guerrero. “We don’t need any more of a “bad guy” image in the sport.’

Guerrero is definitely one of the good guys. The young fighter continually donates his time and energy to local charities in and around Salisbury, Maryland. As a result, the community has embraced Fernando and supports him every time he fights.

“It’s crazy…everyone is so supportive and so nice to me,” claims Fernando Guerrero. “I honestly don’t think anyone even cares that I’m a fighter. They would support me no matter what I did because of how I treat everyone and what I do for the community.”

Fernando may indeed be onto something. The 24 year old fighter is seen as a franchise to the city of Salisbury, MD, and draws huge crowds every time he fights.

“People who don’t even like boxing still come out to my fights to show their support,” states the young prizefighter. “It’s always a great event when I fight in Salisbury and I’m so thankful to everyone for their support.”

Although Guerrero is currently enjoying local success, he recognizes that a great performance tonight in Austin, TX, is absolutely necessary to advance into the next level of professional boxing.

He takes on “The Contender” winner Grady Brewer (27-12, 15 KOs), who has publicly stated that he plans on upsetting the heavily favored young fighter.

“I think his comments are great,” states the young contender from Maryland. “He sounds confident and I hope he is at his best in Austin, TX. Fighting a loser won’t prove a thing to me or the fight fans. I want to fight only winners.”

“The fans want to see a great fight,” claims Guerrero. “I want to be in a great fight that people will want to talk about the next day. That is what’s best for boxing.”

Although Fernando is currently the NABF and the NABO Middleweight Champion, he is fighting tonight at 154 lbs for the vacant NABF Junior Middleweight title.

Fernando is not worried about campaigning at 154 lbs. Instead he is genuinely excited about the possibility of facing a different group of contenders and champions.

“I have a terrific team of people who are helping me get in the best shape and preparing me for battle in the junior middleweight division,” states the 24 year old fighter. “I feel strong and energetic at this weight and I want to fight all of the great champions of the division.”

He has his sights set on one in particular.

“I think a fight with Cornelius Bundrage would be a fantastic fight at junior middleweight,” declares Fernando Guerrero. “I would love to take his title away from him in the center of the ring.”

“To be the best you have to beat the best, and I would love to fight any of the champions at 154lbs,” states the Dominican born fighter. “I really believe that it’s time for a changing of the guard. Now is the time for the young and hungry fighters to beat these older champions. That’s what boxing needs. The fight fans don’t want to see an older champion beat up on another old fighter. Fans want to see the champions face the young hungry challengers.”

“We need new stars in boxing and I truly believe that I can be a star for boxing,” believes the young fighter. “I want to make history for the Dominican Republic. I am proud to be a Dominican-American and I want to do for the Dominican Republic what Manny Pacquiao has done for The Philippines.”

Fernando truly believes that he has what it takes to be the next great fighter in boxing.

With a solid support system surrounding him and a truly humble attitude, Fernando Guerrero feels that his time is now. It will be interesting to see how Guerrero fairs outside of his home crowd against a tough ring veteran.

Many questions will be answered tonight in Austin, TX, when he faces Grady Brewer for the vacant NABF Junior Middleweight title on Friday Night Fights live at the Frank Irwin Center on ESPN 2.

Presented by Prize Fight Promotions, the show starts at 9 PM EST.

Article posted on 18.06.2011



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