By Rick Reeno
At the moment, former champion Yuriorkis Gamboa (21-0, 16KOs) has no intention of moving forward with a scheduled fight against Brandon Rios (29-0, 22KOs), according to the Cuban boxer's attorney, Sekou Gary. On Monday, Top Rank held a press conference in Miami to officially announce Gamboa-Rios for April 14th at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Rios was present, but Gamboa no-showed the presser and he doesn't plan to attend the second leg of the press conference, which takes place later today in Los Angeles.
Sekou stands firm that his client never agreed to the fight and he never signed a bout agreement, although Top Rank claims to possess documents which display Gamboa's willingness to do the fight.
The terms of the fight is secondary, says Sekou. The real issue appears to be Gamboa's unhappiness with his promotional agreements with Top Rank and Arena Box. If those issues are resolved, Gamboa would consider going forward with Rios, but Sekou doesn't know if the two sides are capable of resolving everything before the April fight date.
"Yuriorkis is just trying to come to satisfactory terms to continue his career with his promoters. The fight is secondary to that, but also being a very important thing. He just wants to fight the fight on the right terms, and have everything to where he’s comfortable and at this point in time he’s not comfortable and he’s not happy," Sekou told BoxingScene.com.
"Before I even represented him, he hadn’t signed a contract for the fight and he hadn’t agreed to do it. He said that he didn’t go to the press conference because he hadn’t agreed to it. We are in the process of trying to talk to the other side, to Top Rank, and see if we could come to some resolution in the matter and exactly what that will be – we don’t know right now, but there are a couple of different scenarios that would probably work for my client."
Gamboa doesn't want the boxing public to feel he is backing away from fighting Rios. Making fistic waves at featherweight, Gamboa was going to move up by two weight divisions to fight Rios at 135-pounds.
"Right now, the big thing is that he didn’t want everyone thinking that he was backing out of the fight and he’s ruining everything, because he expressed his dissatisfaction along the whole way. Obviously he hasn’t signed a contract yet to make the fight, so obviously something wasn’t there that he wanted to be there or the conditions weren’t to his liking. We’re hoping to resolve it, [but] I don’t know if it will be done before the fight. But we’re looking at the overall picture with his whole promotional career and we’re trying to resolve that matter and get it to the point where he’s happy and he’s satisfied and he is being treated the way he deserves to be treated," Sekou said.
"It’s more of the terms of the promotional agreement, more so than the terms of the specific Rios fight. The Rios fight is a byproduct of things that he’s unhappy with. He has issues where he’s looking to go in another direction. At this point, I think this fight and the way the whole thing has been carried out, has boiled it to a head with him....where he contacted me and said ‘I just want to get out of this thing right now.’ We’re just trying to get a resolution to this whole thing , so he can move on with his career in a way that he’s satisfied and something where Top Rank and Arena Box would agree to also. And if not, we’ll have to look at it from another angle."
"But right now we’re just at square one and we’ll try to come up with a resolution that everyone could live with. There are certain issues there that have to be addressed but we haven’t gotten to that part yet. We don’t want really want to speculate on how far it will go and that type of thing. We just have to be optimistic that both sides look at this with an open mind and understand that the risks and the pros and the cons of both positions."
Top Rank and Arena Box are confident they possess binding promotional agreements with Gamboa. The boxer recently signed an extension, which extends his deal for another two years. However, it appears that Gamboa' attorney believes there are issues with his boxer's current promotional contract - which may or may not invalidate the agreement.
Sekou denies that his client is already entertaining promotional deals from other parties. The main goal for Gamboa, at the moment, is to resolve his current contractual issues before considering another promoter.
"Right now we’re looking into the status of his agreement. I don’t really want to comment [on that aspect]. That issue, his agreement, and how long he has left and whether it expired already…that’s something that we’re looking into now, to see exactly what he’s facing there, but we have reason to believe that there are problems with the agreement just from a cursory look at it. We’ll reserve comment on that for a later date in time when we get deeper into it and see everything and see every document involved," Sekou said.
"From what he’s stated right now, there are some issues and things that have happened with his promotion and he said that its time to address those issues. There have been rumors that he’s looking to do [something] with this group or that group and right now he’s told me that none of that is true. He’s just worried about rectifying the current situation with his promoters now, before he can even think about another promoter. "