Stop The Guns! Guerrero, Guns, Ghosts and Stupidity Are Ruining Boxing
By Robert Brizel, Real Combat Media Correspondent
After Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero’s arrest at JFK Airport in New York City on March 28, 2013, for gun possession nearly put the pending WBC World Welterweight title bout on May 4 MGM Brand Garden Arena bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas, Nevada in jeopardy, boxing experts need to reevaluate the current state of boxing in 2013 and where it is headed.
Southpaw Guerrero was headed from New York City to Las Vegas to begin final preparations for his world title bout with Floyd when he admitted to the Delta Airlines ticketing agent he was carrying an unloaded 40-caliber Smith & Wesson semi-automatic handgun with three unloaded 15-bullet clips in a locked box. Guerrero did not have a license to be carrying heat in New York State and got busted.
Guerrero now faces up to 15 years in prison. Under New York Penal Law 265.03 regarding Second Degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon (CPW2), even though people flying through New York airports may be properly checking their weapon unloaded, the fact they do not have a license to carry the weapon in the state still means it is a gun possession crime punishable by the mandatory minimum of 3.5 years in prison to the maximum time 15 years in prison. Although the CPW2 charge is reserved for loaded weapons, technically under New York law if the gun in possession is capable of being loaded it is nonetheless considered to be loaded.
There is a slight possibility if Guerrero does not get into similar trouble with guns again in the next six months after being arrested, the charges could be adjourned in contemplation of dismissal, and he could avoid lockup time. No word of the odds of that result.
Guerrero is going to be arrested, prosecuted, and jailed immediately after fighting Floyd, affecting his state of mind, and making the bout meaningless besides the payday. With Floyd in and out of jail, and Guerrero heading to jail, one has to ask the careful question ‘Does all this benefit the sport of boxing?” The answer is a resounding no!
47-0-1 light welterweight Paul Spadafora of Pittsburgh, who won the vacant NABF Light Welterweight title by defeating Robert Frankel on April 6 and put himself in line for a shot at Danny Garcia, and maybe Floyd Mayweather Jr. later, is another offender. Spadafora was shot by a cop in a vehicle after winning 75 of 80 amateur bouts. In 2003, Spadafora shot his pregnant girlfriend, and in 2004 drove his car into a parked police cruiser and later tested positive for cocaine.
Add to this the murder of boxer Hector Macho Camacho in December 2012 after getting shot in his native Bayamon, Puerto Rico, in a car while doing cocaine with a friend. Then there’s the murder of Canadian-Afghani amateur boxer Naveed Shannawaz outside a nightclub in Toronto this past February.
One can go all the way back to the robbery and murder of Middleweight champion Stanley Ketchel in 1910. Senegalese World Light Heavyweight champion Battling Siki was found dead face down in New York City, drunk and shot twice in the back in 1925. Welterweight Al ‘Bummy’ Davis was shot to death in a Brownsville Brooklyn bar robbery in 1945 after being shot four times.
Light heavyweight contender Frankie DePaula was shot to death in Jersey City in 1970. Heavyweight contender Oscar Bonavena was shot to death outside the famed Mustang Ranch bordello in Nevada in 1976 where he and the wife of the Bordello owner were having an affair. Former WBC Featherweight champion Clemente Sanchez was shot to death during a traffic dispute in Monterrey, Mexico, in 1978.
Lightweight contender Tyrone Everett of Philadelphia was shot to death by his girlfriend in 1977, after she found him in bed with his transvestite lover. Former World Junior Lightweight champion Alfredo Layne was shot to death in his native Panama in 1999. Frtoemr WBC Junior Middleweight champion Duane Thomas of Detroit was shot to death in front of an East Detroit party store in 200 after a minor drug dispute.
Cruiserweight Julius Letterlough was shot in the back leaving a bar in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 2005. Super Bantamweight Agapito ‘El Ciclon’ Sanchez was shot to death in the stomach in the Dominican Republic in 2005. Cruiserweight boxer and restaurateur Rogelio Lobo was shot to death outside his restaurant in Sao Paulo, Brazil in a robbery in 2006. Former British heavyweight champion James Oyebola was shot to death in the head after a nightclub altercation in 2007. Former World Welterweight and Light Middleweight champion Vernon Forrest was killed after being shot seven or eight times after getting robbed at a gas station near Atlanta, Georgia in 2009.
These are but a few of the many examples of murdered boxers. A more complete list is on BoxRec at http://boxrec.com/media/index.php/Category:Murdered_Boxers
So when I heard Robert Guerrero has been arrested for gun possession. part of me still wishes he was kept behind bars instead of being released for the Mayweather fight. We all know it is the unloaded gun which kills. It is all about possessing guns with the possibility of using these guns irresponsibly in the future. Many American states, in response to tragedies involving gun violence, are tightening their gun purchase and possession laws, and with good reason. it isn’t just Robert Guerrero. Guns, violence and stupidity and affecting and ruining boxing and other professional sports. Stop the guns and stop the violence. Stop it now. Championship boxers always have to set a good example for people who follow the sport of boxing.If they don’t, worse than bad publicity, tragedy remains a possible result outside the ring-which is far worse than the punishment which can be dealt inside the ring.
(This is an editorial by Robert Brizel and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Real Combat Media.)