By Mike Coppinger
Frankie Gomez passed his first real test with flying colors.
Of course, that test came far later than most anticipated.
The once hot prospect put it all together for the first time, winning a shutout unanimous decision over Vernon Paris on Friday's edition of Golden Boy Live on Fox Sports 1, winning a round.
All three judges scored it 100-89.
"I was thinking I'm going 10 rounds so pace yourself and work the body," Gomez said. "I didn't want to go in for the kill, I knew I had 10 rounds to go. ... He got dropped and he got back up and he finished the 10 rounds. "
"I've had some time off and ran into some problems, but I'm a little bit older now, a little bit wiser. I'm focusing on boxing now." ... "I'll fight whoever, it doesn't matter."
Gomez (18-0, 13 KOs) dropped Paris hard with a left hook in Round 4, then followed up the assault with punches in bunches. Paris, 30, covered up, but Gomez smartly mixed in a lot of body work, and threw some nice uppercuts. Later in the round, Gomez landed a left hook-uppercut combo that buckled Paris badly and nearly put him on the canvas.
Paris (28-2, 16 KOs) took a beating, but he was game. He kept coming forward and never stopped throwing punches. In Paris' biggest bout, he was stopped by Zab Judah in nine. He's fought just three times since that night, a summer 2012 bout. Tonight's matchup ended a 14-month layoff for Paris.
However, this evening was about Frankie Gomez.
To date, Gomez has been one of the biggest busts in boxing since turning pro in April 2010. The East L.A. product received a reported six-figure signing bonus from Golden Boy, and it downhill from there. He had numerous run-ins with the law, and never moved as quickly as expected. His career was also marred by long layoffs. He fought just twice in 2012 and 2013.
But tonight, Gomez looked sharp. He landed some crisp right hands, and showed off some of the tools that once made him a top prospect: power, speed and technique. He effectively controlled range, and even switched between southpaw and orthodox, getting off powerful right hooks and straights.
Gomez put together punches in combination, and at just 22, has a bright future ahead of him if he can stay focused, and remain in the gym.
Maybe Golden Boy will see a return on their investment after all.
Follow Mike Coppinger on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger