Jose Guzman was getting his hands wrapped in a back room at the Aviator Sports & Events Center Friday night in Brooklyn, New York, In a few moments he would be introduced in the ring as the first fight of the night on the Top Rank promoted card that was televised on True TV
The 26 year old Guzman, form the Castle Hill area of the Bronx has been doing this a long time, but was this the last time? He has not had much success in the past year and the boxing career has led to many questions, but as Willie Soto continued to put the final touches on the wraps that were being observed by an official from the New York State Athletic Commission the determination was still there.
“It’s what I have been doing all my life,” Guzman said. Roy Jones Jr. a renowned champion of the sport was at ringside and knows something about determination, so does Ray “Boom Boom: Mancini the former lightweight champion who was calling the fights from ringside as part of the True TV talent.
And when Guzman entered the ring, against 2012 Olympic silver medalist John Joe Nevin, the determination was still there. But the lightweight contest that appeared to be competitive in the first two rounds suddenly turned ugly. In the third round, Guzman was the victim of a glove to the right eye and it got ugly.
In boxing when it gets ugly it means you are on your own. The result was an experienced corner of Guzman putting an end to the fight at 1:27 of the third round.
“I love the sport,” Guzman kept saying afterwards when he returned to that back room as the ringside physician attended to his eye. “This is what I have been doing since I was a kid. The fun of being a fighter who just be fighting Growing up something I always wanted.”
In his own words, Guzman may have been making a preliminary decision that it was time to hang up the gloves. He has been around the fight game long enough to know that there is that moment when it is time to leave. The record is now 6-12-1, and not many opportunities will come to be a part of the major stage in the fight game.
Earlier this year, after taking a quick fight and getting TKO’d in the first round out in Oakland California, Guzman went on his social media Facebook page and said it was time to leave the sport he loved, but frustration will cause a fighter to make a decision that will not stand.
“After a loss, first thing I think about his retiring,” he said after his latest loss.”That’s part of being frustrated coming off a layoff and losing. Thought I didn’t have it in me any more. At times it felt like the better days are behind me. I know there are guys out there I can most likely beat.”
In between that loss out in Oakland there was a win. The one thing Guzman does not want is to become an opponent, in other words becoming an easy target for the other guy to get a win. If indeed this latest loss against Nevin was the last fight, Guzman knows he has accomplished something he always wanted to do.
“After fights like this, I think about,” said Guzman about hanging up the gloves. “I knew it was going to be tough fighting one of the top fighters. I am still trying to achieve something. Part of being a fighter you always going to think you have something left in the tank.”
Then Guzman gave the hint when he said, “Someday you have to realize there’s nothing left in the tank.” Perhaps there is nothing left, though for two rounds it appeared this was going to be a night when a decision did not have to be made. The unfortunate part about boxing is the unexpected, and that glove to the eye at times becomes a culprit for any fighter in a fight of any magnitude.
“Tonight felt great, “ he said. “I said it wasn’t my best performance. I could have done better, been smarter. Got frustrated with lack of punching and got caught off guard with that thumb in the eye.”
And a decision did not have to be made right away. Though the first instincts say that Guzman will not fight again, there is always that itch to give it another shot. As he left the back room and went to the Aviator arena, there was another fight in the ring. Guzman greeted a few friends and went to meet his family.
His father said, he would no longer want his son to take more punishment. His mother was never a boxing advocate, but it was a sport that gave her son the desire and determination, and a way to handle the struggles of residing in the Castle Hill Projects.
There is a one-year old son now, and a job as a trainer at the Mendez boxing gym in Manhattan and Guzman does not want to get hurt. Boxing, as Guzman says, will always be a part of his life. So was this the last fight for Jose Guzman?
If it was he said, “What better way to hang them up, then in New York.” The determination and pride of a fighter and something says there is another fight still to come.
Also on the card: Steven Ortiz a promising lightweight from Philadelphia in his second pro fight remained undefeated with a four-round unanimous decision over Thomas Smith (1-2-1) of Dallas Texas.
In an entertaining and interesting main event, “Irish” Sean Monaghan defended his WBC Continental Americas Light Heavyweight title and won the vacant NABO championship with a ten round unanimous decision over Donovan George. Monaghan said he is ready for a world title fight and remained undefeated at 26-0.
Comment Rich Mancuso: [email protected] [email protected] Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso