Robert Guerrero, long one of boxing's class acts, announces retirement at age 34

Kevin Iole
Combat columnist
Robert Guerrero, taking a punch from Omar Figueroa on Saturday, announced his retirement at age 34 on Monday after compiling a 33-6-1 record with 18 knockouts. (Getty Images)

Robert Guerrero was one of the best boxers of his era, a hard-nosed small-town kid who got by as much on grit and determination as he did on talent and physical attributes.

Guerrero, who was knocked down five times and stopped in the third round by Omar Garcia on Saturday in a nationally televised bout on Fox, announced his retirement on Monday.

Guerrero, who had lost three in a row and five of his last seven, finishes his career with a 33-6-1 record and 18 knockouts. He won world championships at featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight and welterweight.

He fought a who’s who of the best of the last 16 years, including Floyd Mayweather, Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia. In his last 10 fights, he faced opponents with a combined record of 270-10-4 going into their bout.

He announced his decision Monday on Twitter.

Guerrero, 34, will be missed, in many ways because he was willing to fight anyone and always left everything he had in the ring.

But there are few people like Guerrero in sports, a guy so dedicated to his family that he surrendered his world title to take care of his wife, Casey, while she was in a battle with cancer.

In a 2010 story on Yahoo Sports about their up-and-down fight with the dreaded disease, Guerrero said that once he learned what was wrong with Casey, there was never a thought of what he would do. He surrendered his career and became her primary care-giver.

[The doctor] sat me down and told me she had leukemia In boxing, you take a lot of abuse, deal with a lot of aches and pains. But nothing really could help you deal with that. It felt like the hardest punch I had ever been hit with. I was literally sick to my stomach. A million thoughts go through your mind at that point, but I knew I was going to do whatever I had to do to be there for Casey.

It didn’t matter to me what it would be, I would do it. She’d always been there for me and I said to myself, ‘You know what, Robert? It’s time to pay her back. You have to be there for her.’

Fortunately, Casey Guerrero is cancer-free, but Robert Guerrero didn’t forget about the cause. He became a hard-working fund-raiser for cancer research.

Boxing needs more people who are willing to fight anyone, put on a show and won’t back down. His toughness was legendary, even among his peers.

It also needs class people who are always accessible to their fans and who represent it with dignity and class.

Robert Joseph Guerrero was all of that, and more, and he will be sorely missed in boxing circles.