Guerrero's wife battling leukemia


Junior lightweight titleholder Robert Guerrero, scheduled to face interim lightweight titlist Michael Katsidis on March 27, withdrew from the fight on Monday because his wife is seriously ill.

"It's a very tough situation," co-manager Shelly Finkel told ESPN.com. "He can't fight like that. That's what we all told him and he finally agreed. It's too much."

Guerrero's wife, Casey, was diagnosed with leukemia two weeks before then-featherweight titleholder Guerrero was scheduled to defend his belt against Martin Honorio in November 2007.

Guerrero left his wife's bedside just a couple of days before the fight, knocked Honorio out in the first round, and returned to his wife and their two children.

Casey Guerrero's leukemia eventually went into remission but is back. She underwent a bone marrow transplant recently and has been at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., for about 10 days, Guerrero's co-manager Bob Santos said.

"They won't really know if the bone marrow is going to take, so we're hoping that it does," Santos said. "Robert wanted to fight. He thought he could spend half the day with her and train the other half the day, but she started to take a turn for the worse. I told him point blank there is no way I would allow him to fight. Me and Shelly had to talk him out of it. This is a tough sport and if he's going to fight somebody like Katsidis you have to be 100 percent focused. With this situation, how could he be?"

Santos said this was different than when Guerrero fought Honorio just after Casey's diagnosis.

"She had just been diagnosed and there was a lot of hope and optimism," he said. "The doctors were like, 'We can try this and we can do that.' In this case, it's hit or miss. We just don't know if the [bone marrow transplant] is going to work. If this doesn't work there is nothing they can do for you. She's at a point where if this doesn't work, unless there is divine intervention, she's in big trouble."

Richard Schaefer, the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Guerrero, agreed with the decision to call off the fight.

"I got the call and they said it's very serious," Schaefer said. "All of our prayers are with Robert and his wife and we hope that she can pull through. I feel so bad. They have two young kids. I hope that she will be able to make it. His wife is fighting for her life. That is way more important than any fight in a ring."

Guerrero (25-1-1, 17 KOs), 26, vacated his featherweight belt in 2008 and moved up to junior lightweight last year. He easily outpointed South Africa's Malcolm Klassen in August to claim a world title.

Golden Boy hoped to put Katsidis-Guerrero on in the San Jose, Calif., area because Guerrero, who is from nearby Gilroy, Calif., is a popular draw.

Schaefer said a new opponent is being sought to face Katsidis (26-2, 21 KOs), although the card will be moved out of Northern California. Schaefer said the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit has shown interest in hosting the event.

The undercard bout pitting interim junior welterweight titlist Marcos Maidana (27-1, 26 KOs) of Argentina against Victor Cayo (24-0, 16 KOs) of the Dominican Republic remains intact.

Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.