Sunlight slices its way into Barry’s Gym through two massive doors that are thrown open to bring in the warm and refreshing Las Vegas breeze. Joan Guzman stands in the center of the ring with a slight daydream look as he stares toward the incoming sunlight. The balmy, sunny day grabs Guzman’s attention for only a moment, then suddenly he yells, “Todavia no,” which is Spanish for “Not yet.” It’s a signal to new trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. that Guzman is not finished with his workout.
Guzman, one of boxing’s most feared pound-for-pound fighters and keeper of the World Boxing Organization’s junior lightweight championship, is feverishly preparing for his May 26 showdown with unbeaten Australian Michael Katsidis.
The 12-round fight is for Katsidis’ WBO lightweight interim title which will be broadcast on HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT from The Arena at the Anaheim (Calif.) Convention Center.
With sweat dripping from his chin, the direct result of going at a 110 percent clip since his workout began two hours ago, Guzman, still, moves gracefully and effortlessly across the ring with unbridled speed and peerless coordination.
“You’re not tired yet,” screams Mayweather Sr., as he hugs the top rope with both arms, leaning his head inside the ring to make sure the two-division champion hears him.
“I know you got more left in that tank of yours.”
Mayweather Sr. has been working with Guzman for only a few weeks, but he’s already said he can mold and fashion this budding superstar into boxing’s No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter.
“I know I have great skills and an excellent work ethic,” says Guzman, while clearing sweat from his brow with the back of his right hand.
“All I need now is for him to take me to that next level, and I believe he can do that.”
Guzman possesses some of the quickest hands in the business and boasts a defense as tough and impenetrable as Kevlar, the material used to fashion bullet-proof vests. On May 26, he’ll rely heavily on his ability to slip shots to set up his own attack.
“This guy is the real deal,” says Mayweather Sr., who is widely regarded as one of the top trainers in boxing. “He’ll hit you three times before you hit him once. His hand movement and lateral quickness is something you can’t teach. He has all the tools to be considered great.”
With his daily workout drawing to a close, Guzman swaps a sweat-soaked tank-top for a fresh Sycuan Ringside Promotions tee-shirt, the boxing promotional company that discovered Guzman three years ago and has been aptly guiding and promoting his career ever since.
“Another day in the books,” says Guzman, as he throws a back-pack over his shoulder and begins to walk under the Las Vegas sun.
“Tomorrow will be just as intense, just as exciting.”