NEW YORK – One day before Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez renew their rivalry on Showtime Championship Boxing, America’s No. 1 Fight Network hits you with one of the most anticipated ShoBox fight cards of the new year. On Friday, February 29, IBF featherweight champion and ShoBox alum Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero (21-1-1, 14 KOs) will defend his title against Jason “The American Boy” Litzau (23-1, 19 KOs) on Friday, Feb. 29, live on Showtime (Shobox: The New Generation, 11:00 p.m. ET/PT delayed on the west coast).
The Showtime event is being promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions, LLC and will originate from the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino in Lemoore, Calif. Also fighting on the televised card, young rivals TJ “Top Dog” Wilson (12-1, 8 KOs) of Miami, Fla. and Travis “Freight Train” Walker (26-1-1, 20 KOs) of Houston, Texas will meet in a 10-round heavyweight rematch.
“I can’t wait to put it all on the line again,” said Guerrero, who is coming off an impressive 56 second KO victory against Martin Honorio on Nov. 3, 2007 in a Showtime televised fight. “I’m on a mission right now. Everyone has been talking about this fight for a while, and now its time to make it happen.
“Jason Litzau is a world class fighter. He’s a powerful puncher and one of the best in the division. I believe fans will get their money’s worth when they watch this fight, because someone’s going down, that’s for sure.”
Guerrero, whose wife was diagnosed with Leukemia just days prior to his fight with Honorio, pointed out, “With my wife’s condition weighing on my mind, I feel I need to be in the ring as much as possible. The intensity of my training is like no other time in my life. I have to win this fight for my family.”
Giving the instructions in “The Ghost’s” corner will be Guerrero’s father Ruben, who’s been the lead in his last two fights.
“My dad will continue to be the head trainer in my corner,” said Guerrero, who hails from the Northern California town of Gilroy. “He’s been with me since my days as an amateur. I feel very comfortable with him guiding the ship. Together we will get the job done.”
While Guerrero had an easy time dispatching Honorio, the two-time world champion will have a tougher time defending his crown against Litzau, who is a big, battle-tested featherweight eager for a world title.
“The most dangerous fighters are those who are fighting in their first world title fight,” said Litzau, who stands five-foot-ten, making him considerably large for the 126-pound featherweight division. “I know what I have to do against Guerrero to be successful.”
Not only is Litzau fighting in his first world title fight, but it will be the first 12-round bout of his career.
“I’m not worried about having to go 12 rounds,” said Litzau, who hails from St. Paul, Minn. “I’ve been in close fights before so I know how to react and adjust to whatever pace that will give me the victory.”
“This fight will be an all-out war, believe me. This is what fans crave and they’ll get in this match-up. I thank Ken (Hershman) and Gordon (Hall) in recognizing what a valuable event this was to bring to their viewers at Showtime,” said promoter Dan Goossen.
Wilson and Walker first met in Oct. 2007 with Wilson winning an unpopular, controversial 15-second, first-round knockout over the previously undefeated Walker.
Mere seconds after the opening bell, Wilson backed Walker into a corner and began delivering punches with both hands. At least a couple connected solidly and seemed to stun Walker, who did not once attempt to retaliate, or even raise a glove. He didn’t land a punch.
Moments later, the referee, Raul Caiz Sr., stepped between the boxers and waved off the fight.
“He dropped his hands. His shoulders dropped and he did not try to defend himself,” said Caiz, a veteran referee and the third man in numerous world title fights over the years. “I hated to do it. No one wants to see a fight end like that, especially so early on. But it is my job to protect the fighter.”
Goossen added, “If I thought he was correct in the stoppage, there would be no need for the rematch. I’m a firm believer in letting the fighters determine a clear-cut winner, and in this case, we’ll get that answer on Feb. 29.”
“He was ready to go,” said Wilson, a six-foot-six inch, 282-pound southpaw who is two inches taller than Walker and outweighed him by 42 pounds. “He just folded up in the corner. His head wobbled.
“If the referee doesn’t stop it, Walker is going down and getting knocked out anyway. I was not going to stop throwing punches.”
Walker, who was making his third appearance on Showtime, vehemently protested the ref’s decision to halt the proceedings. The boxer still was in disbelief several minutes later.
“You don’t stop a fight, a championship fight, like that,” an agitated Walker said. “He caught me with a couple shots, but I was never hurt. It was only the first round, a feeling out round. We knew he was going to come out and shoot his wad. That was the only shot he had at winning.
“This is unbelievable. I definitely want to fight Wilson again.”
Walker will soon get his chance to settle the score.