SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Robert Guerrero proved he could still win after moving up two weight classes. Whether he has done enough to warrant a date with a big-name fighter like Floyd Mayweather Jr. remains to be seen.
Guerrero delighted his home crowd by unanimously outpointing Selcuk Aydin on Saturday night in his first fight in more than a year to win the WBC interim welterweight title.
Guerrero, a 126-pound featherweight for most of his career, moved up to 145 pounds to take on Aydin, hoping it would lead to a possible date with a higher-profile fighter.
Mayweather, who gets out of jail next month, holds the full WBC welterweight title. Guerrero is now the mandatory challenger although it's uncertain who Mayweather will fight next.
``I'm looking for the best fights,'' Guerrero said. ``It's just about getting these guys in the ring. I'm the mandatory to Floyd now. Let's make it happen.''
Aydin (23-1, 17 KOs) landed the harder punches throughout the fight, but Guerrero (30-1-1, 18 KOs) landed considerably more and that proved to be the difference to the judges.
Guerrero won 117-111 on judge Mike Tate's card and 116-112 for Mark Green and Max Deluca on the other two.
Guerrero won in his first fight since beating Michael Katsidis in a lightweight battle in April 2011. Guerrero had to cancel his fight last summer against Marcos Maidana to undergo surgery on his left shoulder.
He said he had some rust from the time off but was pleased with how he performed.
``I felt great at welterweight,'' Guerrero said. ``I wanted to fight the best and that's why I fought Selcuk. No one in the division wanted to fight him. He's been avoided. I came in and took care of business. I believe in my talents and I boxed and used my skills tonight.''
Guerrero, who grew up and lives about 25 miles south in Gilroy, was the overwhelming fan favorite against the Turkish-born Aydin in his second career fight in San Jose.
Whether Guerrero did enough to warrant that kind of fight remains to be seen. He threw 972 punches to 528 for Aydin, according to CompuBox, and connected on 254 to Aydin's 189. But Guerrero didn't seem to have the power needed to really hurt Aydin.
Aydin said he felt he lacked energy and asked his corner for sugar water between rounds to help out.
``The judges were not my problem. I was the problem,'' Aydin said through an interpreter. ``I couldn't do what I wanted to do. After the fourth round, something happened. It was like I was seeing double. But there's no excuse. I lost the fight.''
Aydin earned the nickname Mini-Tyson for his ability to post early knockouts. But he was unable to do that against the more experienced Guerrero, who had the edge early despite having less power behind his punches than Aydin.
The bad blood that showed up during a pre-fight conference call and weigh-in over Aydin's frustration about being overlooked by the U.S. public showed up after the two exchanged words and smiles after late punches following the second round.
Guerrero stunned Aydin with a hard left hand in the fourth round but was unable to land many big punches. Aydin delivered a handful of hard right-hand blows that left Guerrero staggering for a moment in the seventh and had the partisan crowd worried. But Guerrero responded with an aggressive eighth round and hung on to win the decision.
``He hit hard,'' Guerrero said. ``He never hurt me anytime. He's got some punching power. He's one of the hardest punching guys in the division He can throw a bomb and he landed some bombs on me. I just shrugged them off and kept going.''
Guerrero had scores of friends and family members in the crowd, including one particularly special fan who had never seen him fight before.
Katharina Zech, a 22-year-old from Munich, had donated bone marrow two years ago that ended up saving the life of Guerrero's wife Casey. Casey Guerrero had been ravaged by leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant to survive and got it from Zech.
``Casey made me want to fight harder and reach my goals,'' Guerrero said.
The Guerreros met Zech in an emotional scene in Arizona in April and Zech came back to the United States last week to see Guerrero fight.
In the co-main event, Shawn Porter (20-0, 14 KOs) beat Alfonso Gomez (23-6-2, 12 KOs) of Mexico in a unanimous decision for the vacant NABO Welterweight title.