Middleweight boxing champion Fernando Guerrero is fueled by a humble upbringing, the desire to become the best there is in boxing, and his want to help change and do for others who are less fortunate.
The Dominican born Guerrero fights knowing his father risked everything to make a better life for him, and the legacy he must carry on having developed the passion for boxing from his older brothers Alex and Carmelo.
The 25-1 Fernando Guerrero continues to climb the Middleweight ladder, change the lives of those around him, and try to get better everyday.
Fernando recently sat down with BSO to talk about his upbringing, his career, Andre Berto, and what his future holds before his February 9 showdown with Peter Quillen at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn.
You were born in the Dominican Republic,but you grew up in Maryland, what was that experience like?
Salisbury, Maryland is small town. Everybody knows everybody. When my father first brought us to America we lived in Buffalo, NY for a few years. Then we moved to Maryland. It was different because at the time I still had a real thick accent and everything. it was hard at first to get friends. There were not a lot of hispanic, and I always tried to develop relationships with people. Even when I went to school I tried to talk to my teachers and develop relationships with them, and that’s how I came to get a lot fans once I started boxing because of the relationships I built.
What got you started in boxing, and at what age did you start?
I started around the age of 14 or 15 because my brothers boxed. My brother Alex and Carmelo Guerrero. Alex is the oldest so we learned from watching him. i played almost every sport in school during intramural. I wanted to get out the house and be around my brothers. Actually the first time I tried boxing, I didn’t like it one bit. It beat staying in the house all the time so that’s what I did.
What made you did decide you wanted to box professionally?
once i started boxing as an amateur, I won the Junior Olympic in like 2 years. At that point I decided hey I can do this. If you can win the Junior Olympics, then that makes you one of the best in the sport. So at that point I decided I want to win Junior Olympics, go to the Olympics and win, and then turn professional and go from there.
Can you tell us about your last fight against Juan Carlos Candelo?
The fight went real smooth. I was confident, believed in my abilities. We went in with game plan, stuck with it. Once that fight was over, we decided we wanted to move up and begin to fight for championship.
How Would you describe your fighting style?
basically I have 19 knockouts, so they speak for themselves, but then I have good amateur background also so that helps. I know how to box, I can bang, I can be physical in the ring. I do what it takes to win. My last name (Guerrero) means warrior. I’m a crowd pleaser.
Who are some of the boxers you Idolized or looked up to coming up?
Oscar De La Hoya and Tito Trinidad. It’s’ funny because they are the opposite, but yea those two. I love De La Hoya for his business savvy outside of the ring. I loved how he approached business and things like that. Tito because of the passion and heart he fought with. His fans loved him because he fought for his people and his country. I see myself being a fight with both of those attributes.
Do you have any thoughts on the Danny Garcia vs Zab Judah matchup?
It depends on which Judah shows up. Garcia has been a friend of mines since the amateurs days. He can really box too. Judah yea he was s a legend in the game, but I think really its time for the young guys to take over and make our mark. ya know even if Judah beats Garcia, whats left for him besides getting money? Danny Garcia is a strong fighter who has more years to come.
Can I get a prediction on this fight from you?
If it’s the Zab Judah that we know, he’s gonna come out real strong, and predictable. I expect he’ll win the first 4 or 5 rounds, and then gas out by the 7th round.
What was it like to spar and train with Andre Berto, and why do you think he’s lost his last few fights?
Andre Berto is one of the coolest guy I’ve ever met. When I first got in the ring with him I didn’t recognize him. At first I jerked him, because I thought he was a guy you couldn’t approach you know. Once I started to talk to him, I found out he was real real cool you know. He’s not a real aggressive dude ya know, he’s a real cool guy. I stayed in his training camp in California, we talked and he made me feel at home. he a real strong and fast guy. you can never count him out.
Do you think he can regain his form and return to the Andre Berto of the past?
I think he can yes. He has to decide if boxing is still for him. We’ve been doing this for a long time you know, and sometimes it’s all we know. He’s going through a hard time, and sometimes as boxers we max out. Even guys likes Victor Ortiz go through it. Ortiz comes out and can beat an Andre Berto, and then turn around and lose a fight that’s suppose to be easy. So you never know, you can never count anyone out.
Who are you training with now, and hows that going?
I’m training with Virgil Hunter now and its going great. It’s a small world in the boxing community, and I know Hunter from my amateurs days. He’s a good guy. I love talking to him, he s one of the best trainers and coaches right now. we respect each other. he listens to me and i listen to him.
How did your lost to Grady Brewer help you?
You know what. When I was younger or when kids are younger, they think nothing bad can happen to them. They feel bulletproof. When I started boxing I Didnt believe I could be beat. that loss, it changed my whole life. i went down in weight because i felt untouchable. I couldn’t imagine myself losing. it makes you become a man and develop your mindset. I’m not afraid of losing anymore. I have to be a yes man to Fernando. Boxing is not forever. That loss made me who I am now.
You will take on Peter Quillen on February 9. Why will you beat him, and what do you have on the line?
Appreciation of my skills, my ability and power. I didn’t wake up yesterday want to be champ. This is something I’ve been preparing for. I’m prepared for the moment and not overwhelmed. I feel I’m a better fighter. During these big moments, you must have grit ya know, confidence. I want to shock people, I want to know what I’m made of.
Who do you expect or look forward to fighting after you beat Quillen?
I think people don’t understand my attitude. I wish I had the rough cool street story. I wish I had the story of the rough street upbringing. you ask me who I want to fight, nobody. ask me what I want, I want the belts, all of them.
Final question Fernando, what advice would you give to a young up and coming fighter trying to blaze your path?
I would say you have to be smart, you have to think outside the box. You need to have a plan. Be smart with your money. You’ll never see Fernando making it rain. If I do make it rain, I hope it’s for a good cause or where it counts. Never forget where you come from. You need to be intelligent and give back.