Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (33-5-1, 18KO) was expected to win, and look good doing it. His opponent David Emanuel Peralta sported a decent record (26-2-1,14KO), but all his fights were in Argentina against weaker opposition. Guerrero, a former world champion, fought the likes of Floyd jr., Danny Garcia, and Keith Thurman. Of course, he lost to each of those men, but you’re missing the point. Just being in the ring with those guys is supposed to mean something.
That detail didn’t slip by Peralta. He acknowledged Saturday night at the Honda Center, Annaheim, California was not just his most important fight, it was the most important thing in his life! Talk about motivation. It was enough to get him through the grueling moments when The Ghost would tag him with a hard left counter. It was that “most important thing” thinking that helped him retaliate with his own combinations, scoring points and rocking The Ghost into more of a glimmer.
Guerrero’s efforts became more and more a sign of the times. He missed punches by a greater margin as the rounds reckoned on. When he pressed forward, Peralta would pivot off to the side. At other times, he would meet Robert head on, and land short punches on the inside. He threw a particularly good straight right followed by a nice short left hook.
Later, Peralta won closely contested rounds by throwing multiple punch combinations. Young fighters should learn a lesson from the fight. Too often the inexperienced fighter will throw a hard shot that misses and leaves his upper body too far past his feet. He is off balance and vulnerable for counters. Plus, it just makes him look awkward and foolish. Peralta didn’t have that problem. He kept his feet under him, sliding in behind each shot. After blocking or slipping the first couple of punches, The Ghost would step back thinking he was out of range. That’s when he would get caught with a left or right.
It one particularly notable example in the ninth round, Peralta demonstrated his persistency with a multiple punch combination that ended with not one but two right hands that drove The Ghost into and on to the ropes, which kept him off the canvas. Many thought Peralta should have been credited with a knockdown, but unfortunately for him referee Ray Corona didn’t agree. Apparently, Corona felt The Ghost’s stumble was due more to tangled feet than a punch.
Regardless, it was an example of the success David Emanuel Peralta Toledo was enjoying. The closer it got to the end, the greater the celebration in Cordoba, his hometown, and all of Argentina. Peralta had a few more “change steps” in store for Guerrero. The truth of the matter was Peralta didn’t look like he had seen a ghost. He wasn’t frightened. Robert knew a ghost of a chance was better than no chance at all, so he attempted to step up his attack. He would drive Peralta into the ropes, but before he could make an impression, the slender Peralta would spin him around.
As the final bell approached, Peralta didn’t knuckle under. He withstood Robert’s final efforts, sticking to the game plan. It was enough to earn him a split decision over the veteran fighter. Not surprisingly, The Ghost felt he was robbed. How many times have we heard that refrain. Now, Peralta has thrown himself into the stacked welterweight division. Maybe there is another “most important date in his life” out there for him.
What does this loss mean to Guerrero? Well, that hole he felt himself in before the fight got a little deeper. Robert is getting slower and slower, both in hand and foot speed. He has greater difficulty landing and avoiding punches. His power, never great, has dissipated. Everything about his style has deteriorated. Does that mean he’s done? Well, that is for him to decide. He thinks he won the fight, so why would he see himself as weakened product? Maybe someone should remind him that it’s been a long time since he scored a knockout. He has lost four out of eight fights since becoming a welterweight.