The last time boxing fans saw WBO Junior Lightweight Champion Joan Guzman (27-0, 17 KO) he was winning a unanimous decision over Antonio Davis almost one full year ago. So, needless to say, the 31-year-old Dominican is counting down the days to his title defense against veteran Humberto Soto (43-5-2, 27 KO) in what can also be billed as “The Manny Pacquiao Invitational.”
You see, the winner of this probable slugfest (HBO Boxing After Dark, 9:45 ET/PT) will likely be in line to face the PacMan (45-3, 2 KO). And while the undefeated Guzman may be favored come Saturday night, Soto (aka “Little Tyson”) is one a five-year 20-fight winning streak and appears to have a little chip on his shoulder (not to mention incredible power – hence the nickname).
“This is my second opportunity against a undefeated fighter. A lot of people didn’t expect me to beat Rocky Juarez the first time. He had Olympic credentials and no one gave me a shot but I proved everyone wrong. Maybe Guzman is the favorite for this fight but that doesn’t mean much to me because I have been scratched off before and I’ve succeeded.”
Regardless of who wins both present an interesting storyline should they fight PacMan. Soto holds a victory of Manny’s brother, Bobby Pacquiao, and the retirements of fellow Mexican legends Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera following losses to Pacquiao will find him seeking to honor his homeland.
Meanwhile, Guzman is simply looking to finish the year as he did the last – undefeated:
“I know I am a dangerous fighter. No one wants to fight me either. I keep winning titles but nobody wanted to fight me at 126 (lbs) and now I move up in weight and won (the) title at 130 pounds. I won’t run away from anyone. I’ve said it time and time again that I will fight anyone, anywhere.”