By Chris Robinson
At Floyd Mayweather’s open media workout yesterday in Las Vegas, former featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa swung through the gym and made an appearance. That fact in itself is not too odd, as the Cuban has made the Mayweather Boxing Club his new stomping grounds in recent months, but it was the person spotted next to Gamboa who caught me by surprise.
With Yuriorkis was his ex-trainer Ismael Salas, who had been working with him until last October when it was announced that Gamboa would be hiring the services of the renowned Emanuel Steward. And despite being in the gym with Steward for brief stretches, Gamboa actually has yet to fight since his September technical-decision over Daniel Ponce De Leon in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
A huge fight with former lightweight champion Brandon Rios was thought to be on the horizon but Gamboa shocked many by failing to show up at press conferences in Miami and Los Angeles to officially announce the fight. He later claimed that he hadn’t signed a contract for such a contest while also expressing displeasure with his co-promotional pacts with prompters Top Rank and Arena-Box.
Top Rank wasn’t too happy with Gamboa’s reluctance and would later file a breach of contract against the 30-year-old, stating that the Cuban boxer requested the fight and received a $70,000 advance. And for now Gamboa’s career is pretty much in limbo until the situation is resolved, yet it was peculiar to see him against alongside Salas.
Catching up with Salas a few hours after Mayweather’s media day had wrapped up, the trainer confirmed that he possibly may be working with Gamboa in the future but obviously can’t speculate on anything now because of the bind Yuriorkis is in.
“Yes, but not for this time,” Salas stated of possibly reuniting with Gamboa. “We’re just keeping a good friendship. We are like family. We are very close. What happened, the situation with his contract, he has his points, but that’s how boxing is. I hope he resolves the problems real soon.”
Salas will soon be traveling to Austin, Texas, for his part in an ESPN Friday Night Fights telecast headlined by a light heavyweight duel between unbeaten Ismayl Sillakh and Russia’s Denis Grachev.
Salas noted that he is very busy these days working with a bevy of fighters, and even seems unsure whether or not he will even be working with recently-crowned WBA junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux in the future as well, as he was in the corner of the Cuban southpaw in January when he stopped Rico Ramos in six heats to become a champion in the professional ranks.
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Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at Trimond@aol.com