Just a little over two weeks remain before the hottest fight of the summer when WBA Super Lightweight Champion Marcos "El Chino" Maidana and WBA and WBO Interim Lightweight Champion Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero square off in a 12-round battle for Maidana's title on August 27 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. which will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark.
We checked in with Maidana in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Guerrero in Big Bear, Calif. for training camp reports so fight fans can find out what the two boxing stars are up to before the biggest fight of their careers.
The summer heat is at its peak in Puerto Rico at this time of the year and while that's great for the tourists and beach lovers who are hitting the Caribbean island in droves, it's even better for WBA Super Lightweight World Champion Marcos Maidana, who has set up camp in Puerto Rico for the first time as he prepares for his August 27 showdown with Robert Guerrero.
"We like to base our training camp in different places to break up the routine," said Maidana, who trained in Las Vegas for his last fight with Erik "El Terrible" Morales in April. "It's more of a mental thing than anything else. This time we picked Puerto Rico because of its hot weather and because there are a lot of southpaw fighters there. We added a few things to my training, like working in the ocean and the sand which was a good change, but the rest of my routine stayed the same."
Part of that "same" routine is having Rudy Perez, one of the most underrated trainers in the game, back in Maidana's corner after leading his charge to victory against "El Terrible" earlier this year.
"I'm happy with the camp and with Rudy," said Maidana. "I am settling into his style. The key is the amount of time I have in training camp. This camp has been longer than the previous one, so I have more time to learn new tricks."
Since he has more time to prepare, Maidana promises that he will be more dangerous than ever, a scary prospect for Guerrero and any fighter at 140 pounds. Even more notable is that with the extra time in camp, "El Chino" promises that fatigue won't be an issue on August 27.
"I am not the kind of person that likes making excuses, but for the Morales fight, we only had seven weeks to train and my body needs at least nine or ten," Maidana said. "However, I think I made a big mistake by throwing so many punches in the first four rounds. It was like I left it all there and then it took me a while to recover. I thought I was going to knock him out and maybe got too excited in the early rounds. For this fight I will adjust that."
Maidana makes it abundantly clear that he's not looking to go 12 rounds for the fourth straight time even though two of those bouts (against Morales and Amir "King" Khan) were 'Fight of the Year' caliber bouts. Instead, he's looking to get back to the routine that saw him knock out current WBC Welterweight World Champion "Vicious" Victor Ortiz, William Gonzalez and Victor Manuel Cayo in succession in 2009-10. Taking the judges out of the equation in Guerrero's backyard of San Jose is even more important to Maidana.
"Going to your opponent's home to fight is always risky these days, as we have seen some questionable decisions lately," admits Maidana. "However, I trust the California State Athletic Commission judges, but that does not mean that I am preparing differently, because no matter where the fight is I always train hard to knock out my opponent. I have to prepare 100% when it comes to a great opponent of Guerrero's level."
Already a five-time world champion in three weight divisions, 28-year-old Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero has plenty of experience being in fights with top-level competition, but the native of Gilroy, California is well aware that his fight with Maidana may just be the toughest of his 10-year professional career.
"Maidana, as everyone knows, is one of the toughest challenges for anyone in boxing," said Guerrero. "He almost had Khan out in their fight, he stopped Ortiz and he's never been knocked out in his career. This is a very tough fight and I'll have to be on my 'A' game to come out victorious. Maidana is always ready for battle and I'm ready to meet the challenge and that equals fireworks. All I can say is, I thank the Lord Jesus Christ for putting me in this position and I'm coming to win."
With just over two weeks to go before the world title challenge, Guerrero has been locked away at the high altitude of California's San Bernardino Mountains in Big Bear, and with his intensified cardio routine and some hard sparring sessions, "The Ghost" is preparing for a fast-paced 12 round fight that will get fight fans at the HP Pavilion on their feet.
"Everything is going well in camp," said Guerrero's trainer and father, Ruben Guerrero. "Robert is looking sharp and I see him getting better and better each day he spars. (Unbeaten rising star) Frankie Gomez and (WBC Super Welterweight Champion) Canelo Alvarez have been a big help getting us ready for this fight. We're getting good work and we'll be ready come fight night."
Also in camp is Guerrero's nutritionist, Bob Santos along with Robert's brother Eric, and this tight knit crew is confident that when the dust settles on August 27, "The Ghost" will have another world title belt to put in his trophy case.
"If Robert can execute the game plan we've set for this fight, he'll have a good chance to be successful," said Santos. "Maidana is relentless and has underrated boxing skills. Bottom line is...we're in a tough fight and the fans are going to be in for a treat."
Maidana vs. Guerrero, a 12 round fight for the WBA Super Lightweight World Championship title and is presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Universum Box Promotions and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate, DeWalt Tools and AT&T. The HBO Boxing After Dark telecast, which will also feature a ten round heavyweight showdown between Seth Mitchell and Mike Mollo, begins at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.
Tickets, priced at $252, $127, $62 and $26, are on sale now and available for purchase at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office, Ticketmaster.com, all Ticketmaster outlets or by calling 1-800-745-3000.
A full undercard will be announced shortly.