Guerrero backs out of fight to be with ill wife
NEW YORK — Junior lightweight titleholder Robert Guerrero withdrew from his scheduled fight against interim titleholder Michael Katsidis this week to spend more time with his wife, who has been battling cancer.
Guerrero was scheduled to fight Katsidis on March 27 in what would have been a major break in his young career. The fight was to have been televised by HBO.
"Robert still wanted to fight," manager Shelly Finkel said Tuesday. "When we called him, he said, 'No, you're right. My mind won't be there.'"
It will instead be on his wife Casey, who was diagnosed with leukemia two weeks before Guerrero defended his featherweight title in November 2007. At her urging, Guerrero flew to Arizona the day before the bout and knocked out Martin Honorio in the first round. He promptly returned to the hospital, where he would sleep on the floor near her bedside.
Casey Guerrero's cancer went into remission and there was optimism she had beat it, but it returned in the past few weeks and she recently underwent a bone marrow transplant.
"She was actually OK and then she was diagnosed again, the cancer came back," said Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions. "They gave her bone marrow transplants and it doesn't seem to take and her body is rejecting it, and that's not a good sign. She's in critical condition."
The two were childhood sweethearts growing up in the same neighborhood in Gilroy, Calif., just south of the Bay Area. Together they have two young kids, Robert Jr. and Savannah.
"She's been with him straight through, and he's been with her through this," Finkel said.
Schaefer said he didn't hesitate when the 26-year-old Guerrero (25-1-1, 17 KOs) decided to back out of the fight, even though it puts him in a bit of a scheduling bind. After all, there are many instances when there are more important things than sports.
"He's really devastated and I mean, it's a very, very serious situation for his wife," Schaefer said. "She's literally fighting for her life, and he's with her, and of course he's going to be with her, and the next few weeks are very crucial."