Joan Guzman earned the nickname "Little Tyson" for the exceptional power behind his punches, but his haymakers did little damage to Khabib Allakhverdiev on Friday as the Russian fighter handed Guzman the first loss of his career and claimed the vacant WBA super-lightweight title.
The 36-year-old Dominican is now 33-1-1 as a professional, and his best days are clearly behind him.
The fight was stopped in the eighth round after Guzman suffered a leg injury and was unable to continue. As the Associated Press reported (via ESPN), Allakhverdiev was ahead on two of the judges’ scorecards when he was awarded the victory.
Allakhverdiev did not dominate the bout, but he was the clear aggressor. He was able to take the fight to Guzman, who was unable to come back with any powerful response.
Spectators watching this fight likely struggled to figure out how Guzman was dubbed Little Tyson. Had this fight gone the distance, Allakhverdiev would have outlasted Guzman and still ended up with the WBA super-lightweight title.
This fight shows that Guzman has reached the peak of his accomplished career already and is on the decline.
Although he came into this bout undefeated, his road to a 33-0-1 record was not all that smooth. As the Associated Press’ report notes, he was overweight for a 135-pound title fight on two separate occasions and also was busted for using banned substances.
He moved up to 138 pounds for this fight, and proved that his signature power punches are nowhere near as effective as they were against smaller fighters.
This presents a significant problem going forward for Guzman. Unless this loss proves to be a wake-up call and causes him to drastically improve his discipline, he will either be a 135-pound fighter who can’t make weight or a 140-pound fighter who can’t knock anyone out.
Either way, the future looks bleak. Age has started to catch up with Little Tyson, and he can no longer get by purely on talent.
This loss marks the definitive end to Guzman’s best days.