Guzman Links Up With Most Valuable Papi; Red Sox Superstar David Ortiz Cheers Fellow Dominican On In Sept 16 Title Bout

08.09.06 - Joan Guzman is a little guy with a big punch. The undefeated boxer will challenge Argentina's Jorge Barrios for the WBO super lightweight championship ob September 16 at the MGM Grand (and on HBO PPV TV). Guzman packs plenty of power in his gloves. But now the proud Dominican has added a big guy with a big bat to the Team Guzman lineup as the title bout fast approches. Guzman has become fast friends with his fellow Dominican, Boston Red Sox slugger David "Big Papi" Ortiz..

Guzman, training for his title fight on the Marco Antonio Barrera-Rocky Juarez II HBO PPV event, spoke at length with the Ortiz Thursday. The call was arranged by Dominican sportswriter Franklin Nunez and Guzman's manager, Jose Nunez. (They are not related).

"It was great," the undefeated boxer said. "It really was a thrill for me to rap with Big Papi. He is one of the most beloved athletes ever to come from my country. I was very happy to hear that he is feeling much better. I told him I wished him good health and he told me that he is thinking that his heart problem is being resolved favorably. He wished me the best of luck and told me he wants to punch with my gloves the way he swings his bat. He told me to go for a home run, meaning to knock this Barrios out."

Guzman, who has been a personal friend of other Dominican baseball superstars such as Pedro Martinez and Sammy Sosa, said the phone call to Ortiz's Boston area home gave him a needed boost as he wins up his serious training.

"We were talking about baseball and boxing and, of course, our mutual friend, Pedro who is now with the New York Mets. I told Big Papi this WBO title bout is for me what the 2004 season( when Boston beat the Yankees and the Cardinals and won the World Series) was for him. Big Papi laughed and told me to hit Barrios so hard it will be like a grand slam homer."

Guzman said that Ortiz not only said he would send him a Red Sox cap and one of his own jersey but that has an open invitation to come throw out an opening pitch at historic Fenway Park before the season ends.

"I would love to show up in Boston with my new world title belt," Guzman said.

Guzman is co-promoted by Sycuan Ringside Promotions and Oscar de la Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions, which is staging the September 16 all-star show.

Manager Nunez said the linkup with 'Big Papi' gave his fighter a mental boost.

"Guzman has star power, not only in the Dominican but in New York and all over the country. Being seen on these big pay-per-view shows is phenomenal because now the masses can see his amazing talents. Joan is also getting good luck emails and telephone calls from many Latin music stars, from merengue, from salsa and from reggaeton. Many of them are coming to Vegas to cheer their man on."

Another entertainment superstar in Guzman's corner is the versatile LL Cool J. Guzman lined up with LL through the training guru they share, Dave "Scooter" Honig. Honig and his associate, David Buer, have redone Guzman's whole conditioning program, including nutrition, plyometrics and strength work. Honig operates as Extreme Fitness out of the Queens borough of New York City.

Article posted on 09.09.2006

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