You can make a case that Joan Guzman, the 35-year-old Dominican-born boxer who lives in Bushwick, Brooklyn, is the most talented pugilist living in New York today.
You can also make a case that of all the active boxers on the planet, none has squandered his talent so much as Guzman has.
We wonder if Guzman (30-0-1, with 17 KOs), who is engaged in a final stab at stardom, and fights Nov. 18 in the D.R., knows that he is down to his last chance. We are curious if he knows that he cannot continue to let the enemies prevail, and knows that the enemies are not so much the men who he faces in the ring, but the man in the mirror, the scale and the fridge.
The former super bantamweight and super featherweight titlist has a reputation as an unreliable athlete, because he has failed more than once to make the weight he has contracted for. This tendency leaves promoters and can leave a TV network in the lurch, and is a recipe for making yourself irrelevant as a major player in the game.
Here is a list of Guzman's follies in recent years:
-- He said he hurt his left hand and pulled out two weeks before a planned fight with Michael Katsidis in May 2007, then offered to fight Manny Pacquiao a week later, when it emerged that his people had been talking to Pacquiao's people.
-- The scale manifested itself as a problem in 2007, so Guzman jumped from 130 to 135, but the issue remained. A scheduled Sept. 13, 2008, title bout with Nate Campbell, which was set to run on Showtime, was cancelled, when Guzman weighed 3 1/2 pounds over the lightweight limit.
-- The boxer who can make fans gape with his blend of speed, power, slickness and flashiness made jaws drop not in a good way when he weighed 144 pounds, nine pounds over the 135-pound max, for the March 27, 2010, rematch with Ali Funeka in Las Vegas. They'd fought to a draw on Nov. 28, 2009, with the vacant IBF lightweight crown up for grabs. In the sequel, the vacant title was again on the line, but only for Funeka, because Guzman was so overweight.
-- One would think and hope that the message would sink in: put the fork down, walk away from the table, join Weight Watchers, at the very least "Like" Jenny Craig on Facebook. But no, in his very next fight, against journeyman Jason Davis, Guzman weighed 144 pounds for a fight contracted at 141 max.
NYFightblog reached out to Guzman, who we admit we've always been a fan of, to see if his scales sagas are over, and if he's ready, at this late stage, to reach his potential. Check back to read his take on his slide, and see if he understands that his window is now just a sliver.
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