The WBA interim title at junior welterweight will be on the line at a venue to be determined May 31, as Joan Guzman (33-1-1, 20 KOs) takes on Panamanian WBA No. 9 contender Vincente Mosquera (32-2-1, 17 KOs).
For Guzman, it represents his attempt to get back on the horse after suffering the first loss of his pro career last November. His efforts to join the ranks of the world champions by grabbing the WBA title at junior welterweight were thwarted by Khabib Allakhverdiev of Russia, who is currently the full regular champion (the “super champion” is Danny Garcia, who lifted that belt from Amir Khan after Lamont Peterson surrendered it to a failed drug test, which should tell you all you need to know about how much of a real champion the “regular” titlist is) for that organization.
Leaving aside the philosophical questions inherent in crowning an interim champion when the full champion (a) just won the belt barely three months ago and (b) already has a defense of that title scheduled (Allakhverdiev is set to face Breidis Prescott for the title on March 30 in Las Vegas), this is a very interesting crossroads fight for Guzman.
Guzman twice fought for the IBF lightweight championship of the world against Ali Funeka in a four-month stretch in 2009-10. In the first fight, Guzman clawed his way to a majority draw in which Funeka won the odd card 116-112 to go with a pair of 114-114 draw scores from the judges.
In the rematch, Guzman made a reputation for himself as a guy who was indifferent to professionalism. Not only did he fail to make the 135-pound limit for a title fight, he didn’t even come close. Guzman weighed in at a Brobdingnagian 144 pounds, forfeiting the right to call himself champion before a punch was even thrown. Sure, he won the fight, but with a nine-pound weight advantage, that would be expected.
As if that weren’t bad enough, Joan Guzman had the result of his next fight, against Jason Davis (who came into the fight having lost six in a row, four by knockout) changed to a no-contest after testing positive for Furosemide, a banned diuretic. It cost him his promotional contract with Golden Boy and tarred him with the brush of not only a disaster on the scales (he didn’t make weight for the Davis fight either) but a drug cheat as well.
It is against this backdrop that Guzman tries to salvage what’s left of his career. Standing in his way is a former world champion at junior lightweight, one of Edwin Valero’s 27 knockout victims before Valero was tragically taken from the world, a guy who is ten pounds above the weight at which he was a champion but who has the chops to take down a guy who might not be able to fight honestly.
The question at issue in this fight is whether a guy whose success in his career may just be smoke, mirrors, and PEDs can beat a guy whose success in his career has been a product of opportunistic belt-grabbing and who lost to a guy who could have been an all-time great had he lived. The WBA has put up a farcical bit of jewelry as a prize to the man who is less a product of his questionable reputation. It should make for a fun fight when the gloves touch and the bell rings to start round one.
Fox Doucette is Deputy Editor at MyBoxing.