“The Ghost” – 6 time, 4 division World Champion Boxer
Current interim WBC Welterweight Champion
Former IBF Super Featherweight World Champion, Former interim WBA and WBO Lightweight Champion
Former two-time IBF Featherweight Champion
Fighter of the Year in 2012
Mother to Savannah, age 8 and Robert, Jr., age 6
From Title Fights to Fighting for Life
Casey and Robert knew each other since childhood; they began dating when they were 14 and soon fell in love. Casey supported Robert’s dream of being a professional boxer even though it meant he would spend long hours at the gym training. The couple married in 2005. In 2007, Casey began feeling sick. Her glands were swollen and she was unable to keep food down. After realizing she was not getting any better Robert took her to the emergency room where they received the news of her diagnosis – leukemia. Robert recalls feeling sick at his stomach when he received the devastating news. He had been preparing to defend his IBF featherweight title at the time and wanted to cancel the fight, but Casey wouldn’t let him. “You have worked hard for this,” she said. “You have to fight.”
A few days later Robert flew into Tucson for the fight and ended up knocking out Martin Honorio 56 seconds into the first round. A few hours later he was on a plane back to California to be with Casey who started chemotherapy soon after her diagnosis. Her cancer went into remission twice and came back twice. Then it spread from her blood up her spine and into her brain. The doctors injected the chemo into Casey’s brain. She went from 125 to 98 pounds in less than a year. In 2009, the doctors said the chemo was no longer working. Casey needed a bone marrow transplant even though her odds of survival were fifty fifty. “I turned to God and relied on him to heal me,” shares Casey. Both Robert and Casey grew up going to church. Robert says his personal relationship with the Lord developed when he was about twenty years old. While preparing for fights at training camps, Robert read his Bible and drew closer to the Lord. They turned to God for strength during this difficult time.
In January 2010, Casey received the news she had been waiting for – a college student in Germany was a match. Robert vacated his title and suspended his career. He stayed by his wife’s side during the day and at night he would take care of their children. “I really didn’t have a choice,” says Robert. “My fight wasn’t going to be with Michael Katsidis (a professional Australian boxer). It was going to be against Casey’s cancer. I couldn’t be away; I had to be there for her and with her. I needed to do what I did.” Each day Robert would commute 50 miles from their home to Stanford Hospital. “I knew the kind of guy he was and I knew he would be with me,” shares Casey. She received an injection of healthy cells from her donor and was kept in isolation for a month with limited visits from her children. Her kids were young at the time and being away from them was extremely difficult for her. She fought hard to get better for her children. Once her white and red blood cell count started to return to normal, she was allowed to go home. Casey had to retrain her body to hold down solid foods, but each day she got better. Soon, she was able to play with her kids.
Six months after the surgery, Casey was declared cancer free. “God has blessed me in so many ways. I’m thankful to him for what he’s given me and for the fact that he’s given Casey her health,” shares Robert. It has been three years since Casey’s bone marrow transplant. “I am a walking miracle,” says Casey. Both Robert and Casey give credit to God for healing her and for carrying them through such a difficult time in their life. Casey feels a special connection with Katharina, her donor match, from Germany. “We’re family now. She is a part of us.”
Robert began boxing at an early age. He won a National Junior Olympic Gold Medal at 15 and was voted the most outstanding fighter of the ESPN-televised tournament. A year later, he was the youngest competitor at the 2000 Olympic Trials at 16, but lost to Olympian Clarence Vinson. Instead of waiting for the 2004 Olympics, Robert chose to leave his amateur career behind and turned pro at 18 in 2001 with a decision win over Alejandro Cruz. His first few years as a pro were impressive. He compiled a 13-0-1 record. Then in 2004, Robert made his move to the big time when he knocked out 28-4-2 Cesar Figueroa in the fourth round to win the NABF featherweight title. In an IBF featherweight title fight against Eric Aiken on September 2, 2006 Robert become a world champion at 23 years old. Two months after his stirring win, he was back in the ring, but lost to Orlando Salido. The decision was later changed to a no contest when Salido tested positive for steroids. Robert was then pitted against Spend Abazi in a bout for the vacant IBF crown on February 23, 2007. Robert stopped Abazi in the ninth round to regain his title. Two spectacular title defense wins over Martin Honorio (TKO1) and Jason Litzau (KO8) followed, but what made Robert’s victories even more impressive was that he was able to perform while his wife Casey battled leukemia.
In early 2010, Robert relinquished his title in order to care for Casey and his children. After she showed signs of improvement, he returned to the ring in April 2010 to secure his fourth victory of the year. He scored a 12 round unanimous decision win over Malcolm Klassen on August 22nd to win the IBF world super featherweight crown. On July 28th, Robert moved up two weight classes and defeated the former unbeaten Selcuk Aydin. Robert became the second Mexican-American fighter to win a world title in four divisions (the other being future Hall of Famer, Oscar Delahoya). He also became only the third fighter in history to win a Featherweight and Welterweight world title other than the great Henry Armstrong and future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao. In May 2013, Robert plans to take on Floyd “Money” Mayweather.
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.