Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero, 29, who fought most of his career at featherweight (126 lbs), seemingly didn't miss a beat during during his inaugural bout in the welterweight (147 lb) division.
Weighing-in at 145¾ lbs, Guerrero was also nearly 12 pounds heavier than he was for his previous bout against Michael Katsidis in April 2011. But the 5'8"/173cm "Ghost", despite exhibiting a few signs of ring rust, looked every bit a solid welterweight and appears to have taken his speed with him as he's added size.
"I felt great at welterweight," Guerrero said. "I wanted to fight the best and that's why I fought Selcuk. No one in the division wanted to fight him. He's been avoided. I came in and took care of business. I believe in my talents and I boxed and used my skills tonight."
Although the 5'7"/170cm Selcuk Aydin appeared to land the heavier shots, his efforts were overcome by Guerrero's superior activity rate as the Californian landed 36 more power punches and 65 more overall, according to ShoStats.
And while the 28 year old Aydin landed at a higher percentage overall, 36% to 26%, his powershots and outbursts were too few and far between to gain favor with the judges.
Guerrero, who outboxed and outfoxed his Turkish-born foe in the opening three rounds, effectively used his 4-5 inch reach advantage and superior hand speed and technical skills to unleash sharp, crisp combinations to Aydin's head and body.
Keeping the bout at a safe distance, the California-bred Southpaw also found success with his right jab and used it as a deterrent to Aydin's hayemaker right hands, which the Turkish-born pugilist attempted to land at close range from the start.
Although Guerrero appeared to have rocked Aydin with a left hand in the fourth, Aydin closed the distance and landed some right hands of his own, arguably winning the stanza.
Aydin's rally continued in the fifth, thanks to some nasty body shots. But in the sixth, Guerrero was able to keep the bout at long range for most of the round, moving well and using his significant reach advantage to land zinging combinations. And while Aydin found some success landing a few hard right hands in the closing minute, they weren't enough to eclipse Guerrero's success earlier in the round.
Perhaps sensing fatigue on Guerrero's end, the shorter Aydin once again closed the gap in the seventh and unleashed some hard right hands and uppercuts with bad intentions on a seemingly whithering, more stationary Robert Guerrero.
But just as it appeared Aydin was starting to take over, Guerrero reasserted himself in the eight with effective, eye-catching combination punching. And once again, Guerrero's activity rate became a factor while Aydin looked to land a home-run, fight-altering bomb in an effort to shift the tide in his favor.
Robert Guerrero out-slicked Aydin in the ninth but in the tenth, the Turkish-born pugilist out-landed Guerrero 27 to 12, doing bodily damage on the inside on a now seemingly weakened Robert "The Ghost" Guerrero.
The 11th and 12th rounds saw some heavy exchanges. As usual, Aydin applied pressure looking to land his bombs while Guerrero attempted to keep the fight at long range. Aydin eventually closed the distance and landed some thudding right hands but Guerrero defiantly fought back, blasting Aydin with sizzling combinations.
When the decision was announced, Guerrero won by the scores of 117-111 and 116-112 twice.
Although the scores could have arguably been a bit tighter, most onlookers were convinced that Selcuk Aydin, despite a spirited effort, came up a bit short last night. Afterwards Aydin, gracious in defeat, stated:
Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime
"The judges were not my problem. I was the problem," Aydin insisted via an interpreter after the fight. "I couldn't do what I wanted to do. After the fourth round, something happened. It was like I was seeing double. But there's no excuse. I lost the fight."
Acknowledging Aydin's power, Guerrero stated:
Photo by Esther Lin/Showtime
"He hit hard. He never hurt me anytime. He's got some punching power. He's one of the hardest punching guys in the division. He can throw a bomb and he landed some bombs on me. I just shrugged them off and kept going."
With the win, Robert Guerrero became the interim WBC Welterweight Champion.
Is a bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr on the horizon?
What's the Interim WBC Welterweight Title?
Floyd Mayweather won the WBC Welterweight title on September 17, 2011 by knocking out Victor Ortiz in the the fourth round in Las Vegas. But instead of defending the 'Green Belt,' he opted to move north and challenge Miguel Cotto for the latter's WBA Jr Middleweight title. As a result, Mayweather's victory over Cotto didn't count as a title defense because the bout took place at jr middleweight (154 lbs) and not welterweight (147 lbs).
WBC Rule 1.21 a states: All WBC recognized champions must defend their title at least two (2) times a year.
When Mayweather signed to fight Miguel Cotto last winter, it was obvious he had no intention of fulfilling his title defense obligation thus prompting the WBC to issue a bout between Robert Guerrero and Selcuk Aydin to determine an interim champion while designating Floyd Mayweather its 'champion in recess.'
If Mayweather chooses to drop back down to welterweight at any time, he'll automatically be given an immediate title shot by the WBC regardless who the champion is. Whether he chooses to exercise that option is obviously up to him. If Floyd decides not to immediately pursue his old title, at some point Guerrero will be elevated to full champion status.
The WBC's Mauricio Sulaiman told BoxingScene earlier this year:
"The WBC's concept of interim-titles is still in the rules. The interim-title was created many, many years ago and specifically for situations like this one. The reason [we rarely use] the interim concept, is because it was abused tremendously - especially by other organizations and it created so much confusion all over the world with the boxing fans. We do still have in our rules the possibility of accepting the interim championship. It will only be done in very, very special circumstances like this one."
- Selcuk Aydin, a 2.8 to 1 underdog, entered as RING's No. 10 welterweight contender. Guerrero, due to inactivity, was unranked by the same publication.
- The bout was Guerrero's first in 15 months (since April 2011), following surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff he suffered while training for a bout with Marcos Maidana that was scheduled to take place during Summer 2011.
- The semi-title fight served as Guerrero's first at welterweight (147 lbs). He started his career at featherweight (126 lbs) and his most recent bout, in April 2011, was contested at lightweight (135 lbs)
- The bout was Aydin's second at welterweight and his first loss as a pro in 24 bouts
- According to ShoStats:
- Guerrero out-landed Aydin in overall punches, 254-189.
- Guerrero threw 972 punches while Aydin mustered 528
- Guerrero out-landed Aydin 203-164 in powershots and 51 to 25 in jabs