Hernandez remembered as 'gentleman,''warrior'

While the boxing world is celebrating the return of Floyd Mayweather Jr. to the ring, it is reeling from the news of the death of former world super featherweight champion Genaro "Chicanito" Hernandez.

Hernandez's death was not unexpected, given his three-year battle with cancer. But Hernandez, who was only 45 when he died Tuesday, left a major impact on the sport, inside and outside the ring.

Hernandez (38-2-1, 17 knockouts) fought professionally from 1984 to 1998 and later worked as a TV analyst. His losses were to a young Oscar De La Hoya at Caesars Palace in 1995 and a young Mayweather in 1998 at the Las Vegas Hilton.

"He was a young man who had great integrity," Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said. "He was a gentleman, and he was a warrior. He was the best person you could ask anyone to be."

Arum said indicative of Hernandez's class was when he fought Azumah Nelson in 1997. Nelson hit Hernandez with an illegal blow to the throat, and though Hernandez was ahead on the scorecards and could have won the fight had he decided to quit, he refused to win that way.

"He finished the fight, and I'll always remember that," Arum said. "He didn't want to win by quitting, and it showed the kind of character he had."

Hernandez was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, in 2008. He remained active in the sport through television and was at the microphone as late as December.

"He may have been a fighter, but he had a gentle soul," said Arum, who quietly assisted Hernandez financially with his mounting medical bills. "He was one of my favorite people."

Funeral services for Hernandez will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Resurrection Church in Los Angeles.

■ GUERRERO HELPS -- Robert Guerrero knows a little something about cancer, and he recently raised $4,200 in his hometown of Gilroy, Calif., which honored him after he won the interim WBA world lightweight title over Michael Katsidis on April 16.

Guerrero's wife, Casey, has battled leukemia and currently is doing well. Guerrero said he was glad to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the National Marrow Donor Program.

"Anytime I can help out in the fight against cancer, it's a good day," said the 28-year-old Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KOs), who will face Marcos Maidana (30-2, 27 KOs) on Aug. 27 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

■ COSMO CARD CHANGES -- The main event for the July 29 fight card at the Cosmopolitan again has changed after Juan Diaz decided not to return to the ring and instead focus on law school.

The former world lightweight champion was scheduled to face David Torres (21-2-2, 13 KOs) in the 10-round main event at the Cosmo's Chelsea Ballroom on ESPN2 in what would have been Diaz's return after a year's hiatus. But Diaz (35-4, 17 KOs) notified Seminole Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules that he has decided to attend law school and was dropping out of the fight.

"It's boxing; what can you do?" Margules said. "It's very disappointing, but it's Juan's decision, and we move on."

The new main event will be a 10-round light heavyweight bout between veteran Edison Miranda (34-5, 29 KOs) and Yordanis Despaigne (8-1, four KOs). Former lightweight champ Joel Casamayor (38-5-1, 22 KOs) remains on the card, facing Jorge Teron (25-2-1, 17 KOs).

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.