Two-division world champion Robert Guerrero (37-6-1, 20 KOs) still has something left in the tank. The 38-year-old out of Gilroy, California, kept his late-career comeback alive with a unanimous-decision win over Victor Ortiz (32-7-3, 25 KOs) on Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The bout was the co-feature of the pay-per-view card headlined by Manny Pacquiao and Yordenis Ugas.
The judges scored the bout 96-94, 96-94, 96-94 in favor of Guerrero, per the pay-per-view broadcast.
This makes it four wins in a row for Guerrero, who briefly retired in 2017 after a difficult losing streak where he said he "spiraled out of control," per RingTV.com's Dan Rafael. He's looking to turn himself into a contender again at welterweight, years after his best run in the division saw him win the WBA interim world title in 2012.
Ortiz, 34, had been inactive for more than three years after turning himself in to authorities on multiple sexual assault charges in late 2018. Prosecutors dropped the charges against him last year. He's still looking for his first win since knocking out Saul Corral in July 2017.
After an even first round, Guerrero scored the first big punch of the fight with a left uppercut late in the second. Ortiz held his position fighting on the inside and returned the favor with a right hook just before the bell sounded.
Here's a look at the exchange via Premier Boxing Champions:
Even though both fighters' glory days are far behind them, BoxingScene.com's Cliff Rold was pleased with the action:
The two southpaws spent the fight going toe-to-toe, digging at each other with power shots, hardly an inch of space separating them. Guerrero used the jab a bit more often, trying to create gaps to throw uppercuts. Ortiz would move in close to try and smother the shots, getting his forehead on Guerrero's and ripping away at the body. By the middle rounds, Guerrero's left eye was nearly swollen shut, while Ortiz had a small cut under his right eye.
NYFights.com's Michael Woods enjoyed the close-range action:
The fight slowed down considerably after the sixth round. Ortiz, the more accurate of the two boxers, began clinching more than he had in the earlier rounds. Guerrero did well to keep his work rate up, but the punches were less accurate and crisp, allowing Ortiz to block and counter them.
In the end, Guerrero didn't make any glaring mistakes, while Ortiz couldn't come up with a fight-altering punch, and the judges felt Guerrero had put in the better shift in a back-and-forth match.
While Guerrero has worked hard to keep himself in contention at welterweight, he might find it difficult to line up a title fight. The 147-pound division is one of the deepest in boxing, and there are plenty of fighters worthy of getting a shot at a world title. That said, "Ghost" does have good name recognition and his fights tend to have a lot of action, so he may yet end up on a couple more high-profile cards if he decides to stay on the comeback trail.