Welterweight fans can once again believe in ghosts.
Absent for 13 months following a one-sided loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr., former two-division champ Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero returned to the 147-pound fold Saturday night with a brutally unanimous decision over anonymous Japanese contender Yoshihiro Kamegai atop a three-bout Showtime card in Carson, California.
The win boosted the 31-year-old’s career mark to 32-2-1, was his third win in four fights as a welterweight and put him squarely back on the map in one of boxing’s most talent-rich divisions.
“It was a rough one. I like to give the fans what they want,” Guerrero told Showtime's Jim Gray after the fight. "There are a lot of fights out there. A lot of big ones out there."
Of course, it wasn’t all rest and relaxation for Guerrero during his away-from-the-ring respite.
He was embroiled in a dispute with Golden Boy Promotions—which put together Saturday’s card—over an extension to the five-year deal he signed with the company in 2008. The pact was scheduled to end at the close of 2013, but it was extended as a prerequisite for getting the Mayweather fight last May.
Guerrero was denied arbitration by the California State Athletic Commission earlier this year because the extension was signed in New York, and more intrigue arrived when the fighter signed with advisor Al Haymon, whose stable includes many of the 147-pounders with whom Guerrero’s path might cross.
The relationship between the Haymon fighters and Golden Boy is also a question, thanks to the recent defection from the company of CEO Richard Schaefer, who’s seen as a Haymon ally.
With all that said, Guerrero plans to return later this year, and our list here includes five potential foes who could make some sense when that autumnal encore indeed occurs.
Feel free to make your suggestions—or critique ours—in the comments section.