By Mark Whicker
INDIO, Ca. -- Vernon Paris walks around with two bullets inside him and has survived a stabbing, too, so you wouldn't expect him to surrender in a ring.
But the fact that Paris got through 10 rounds at Fantasy Springs Casino Friday night was his only real accomplishment against menacing junior welterweight Frankie Gomez.
Gomez, who fights for Golden Boy Promotions and shares a birthday with Oscar De La Hoya, was a piece of nasty business against Paris. He decked him with a left hook to the body in the fourth round and romped to as unanimous a decision as you can have. The three judges all gave Gomez a 100-89 win, which means Paris didn't win a round.
And Paris came in with a 28-1 record. Gomez rises to 18-0.
"I wasn't disappointed that we went 10 rounds," Gomez said. "I wanted to get some rounds in."
You see a lot of Fernando Vargas in Gomez, as ringside analyst Paulie Malignaggi observed. Raw power, and just plain rawness at times. Gomez came out waiting to counter, and when Paris committed, Gomez jarred him with his two-handed force. Not until the middle of the fight did Paris attempt to dictate tempo, and every time he did get his jab in, he took something tougher in return.
"I didn't feel any of his power," Gomez said. "But he's a tough guy. I threw the kitchen sink at him and he hung in there."
Gomez turned 23 on Feb. 4. Paris, the veteran, tried to get inside his head during the weigh-in by telling him, "You shouldn't have taken this fight." A quick read of Paris' face after the second round proved the opposite.
"I wanted to show everything I can do for those who doubted me," said Gomez, who works for Freddie Roach at Wild Card Gym in Hollywood.
"He's a little bit raw in there but he's also so young," Malignaggi said. "Sometimes he goes all the way in, or stays all the way out. Sometimes he leaves himself open for a counter. He probably needs to polish up his jab a little bit. He goes into lulls sometimes. When he does that in the future, maybe he can learn to control the action with his jab..
"But he's get plenty of time on his side. Paris was in a title eliminator a couple of years ago, so this was a good win for Frankie."
Gomez came to the attention of Golden Boy when his East L.A. boxing team took on some young fighters in De La Hoya's academy. He was nine at the time but his power won the notice of Eric Gomez, matchmaker at Golden Boy.
"This is a huge fight in his career and it is time to shine," E. Gomez said on Thursday.. "if he wins this one he should be ready for a title shot."
That might be difficult to arrange in the crowded 40-pound division. You could see Gomez matching up with Lamont Peterson or Danny Garcia at some point, but there's no need to push it.
"Well, if there was some great fighter who was head and shoulders over everybody else, you'd want to take it slower," Malignaggi said, "but the division, even though it has good fighters, doesn't have anybody great. He'll have his opportunities. He is not that far off..
"I do look at him and look at the way Vargas was. Physically he has that look, and especially the way he attacks. Vergas was El Feroz, this guy is the Pit Bull."
Watching at ringside was a wily matador from Riverside named Mauricio Herrera, who gave Garcia a cumbersome struggle and then looked good against Johan Perez two weeks ago in Las Vegas. Herrera might be the type of brain-teaser that Gomez needs.
At least Gomez gave the fans some action on a night only the beer vendors could love. The six fights that preceded the main event lasted a total of 10 rounds and provided a lot of time for beer drinking and cellphone-staring.
For instance, Slava Shabransky, known to some as the next Gennady Golovkin, improved to 9-0 against Demetrius Walker, who is now 7-6-12. Shabransky knocked Walker down in exactly two seconds and then finished him in 48.
Olympian Terrell Gausha also scored a 1-round knockout over Ronnie Warrior Jr., who is nos 15-9-1.
Mark Whicker has covered sports in Southern California for 27 years.