April 4, 2003

‘The Ghost’ Joins Hunt For Missing Modesto Woman

By: Fiona Manning

Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero – the wiz kid southpaw featherweight prospect from Gilroy, CA is dedicating his next fight May 4 to the search for missing Modesto woman, Laci Peterson.

“Ever since she went missing, I have watched every news show I can about her,” Guerrero, 20, told La Prensa San Diego during training at the Ten Goose Gym in Van Nuys today.

“I hope she is alive I really do, especially since she is pregnant. Since I have been back in the gym training here in Los Angeles, I haven’t watched much TV except for war stuff - but I think about Laci and what her family must be going through,” he said.

“I think about them all the time. I think I feel affected by Laci’s story because Modesto is so close to my home – about an hour away and people in northern California feel like she is one of our family members.”

Inspired by light heavyweight Derrick Harmon’s decision to spotlight missing children each time he fights, Guerrero, who is 9-0, 2 KOs, will wear a photo of Laci Peterson when he enters the ring at Spotlight Casino, Palm Springs, CA when he faces TBA.

All going well, Guerrero is scheduled to fight again on May 18 (another opponent TBA).

Guerrero’s career is on the fast track in the hands of a mighty team: Goossen-Tutor Promotions, trainer/manager Joe Goossen, IBA world 130 pound champion Joel Casamayor, Louis de Cubas, Bob Santos and his father Robert Guerrero,

“We have trouble getting Robert fights,” said Santos who brought Guerrero to Goosen and company last year.

It’s hardly surprising. Guerrero’s low KO output is deceiving. Having frequently fought at much higher weights just to land fights, he’s remaining firmly at 122 and so far is finding his fierce ring reputation precedes him.

Casamayor, one of the best fighters in the world has taken Guerrero close to his heart, personally supervising everything from eating and training habits to scheduled opponents.

Guerrero’s last outing was on the undercard of Casamayor’s December 20 bout in Miami, Florida. In that fight Guererro knocked out Jose Alfonso Rodriguez in two.

Originally slated to face former world champion Rudulfo Blanco, Guerrero was disappointed but not fazed when Rodriguez, a veteran opponent stepped in to fill the breach.

“I’ll fight anybody,” said Guerrero who is based in Gilroy - which he and his father are quick and proud to tell you is the garlic capital of California.

Like many Californians, father and son remain haunted by the specter of Laci Peterson, who disappeared around 9.30am on Christmas Eve last year, while allegedly walking her golden retriever in the Dry Creek area of Modesto.

Her husband Scott reported her missing when the dog was found, leash attached, running through the streets.

Peterson remains the prime suspect in police investigations. He has told police he was fishing alone when his eight months-pregnant wife vanished.

Since then, one woman has come forward admitting her affair with Scott Peterson and his fishing boat and SUV have since been seized by law enforcement agencies.

Laci, who shod have given birth to the couple’s baby boy Connor, last month has been declared “a probable victim of homicide” by authorities who ask that if anybody has any information, to please contact Modesto Police on 209 342 6166.

For Guerrero, the possibility that some fight fan may recognize Laci and might have information is as important as the upcoming fight itself.

It’s this attitude – rare in a fighter – that has Joe Goossen and many other pros raving about Guerrero.

“Robert’s the best,” he said. “Great talent, great attitude and a tremendous heart. He has everything it takes to be the best.”

Bob Santos, who has worked with Guerrero since he was a hot amateur prospect is also full of praise for the guy who was the youngest boxer ever to try for the Olympics [in 2002].

“He competed on the day he turned 16 which is the Olympic cut off age and he won the Olympic junior gold medal but he lost out on a position on the team to Clarence Vinson,” Santos said.

Guerrero, at 5’9 is reed-thin, very tall and hard-hitting for his weight. He even has sparring partners wary of his awesome power.

Since turning pro in April last year, Guerrero has fought steadily but until he started working with Goossen, really hadn’t had much sparring.

“There isn’t much boxing up in Gilroy,” said Guerrero with a smile. The determination is evident even in a candid moment. You know that hell or high water, if the Ghost has anything to say about it, Gilroy will soon be known for more than garlic.

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