By Chris Robinson
The boxing world was thrown for a loop earlier today when it was revealed that former featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa, scheduled for an April 14th showdown with Brandon Rios in Las Vegas, had bailed on the kickoff press conference in Miami to hype the fight.
Turns out that Gamboa didn’t feel the need to show up for the festivities, as he instead was spotted in Las Vegas at the Mayweather Boxing Club stretching out and putting in a workout. Rumors are now swirling left and right about Gamboa’s exact plans but one thing that seems for sure is that the bout with Rios is likely off.
Rios’ people are said to be looking for a replacement to fill the void of the Cuban slickster and there is one candidate more than willing to step to the plate.
Undefeated lightweight contender Mercito ‘No Mercy’ Gesta has been training in his adopted hometown of San Diego, California the past month and was looking at an undercard slot on the Rios-Gamboa show and has expressed interested in a match with Rios in the past.
The fighter’s trainer and co-manager Vince Parra admits that he wasn’t too thrown off when informed of Gamboa’s no-show earlier today.
“You know what? I heard about it and to be honest with you, I didn’t really think that much of it,” Parra told me during our conversation this afternoon. “Sometimes guys do that stuff. But I thought ‘Wow, that’s kind of ballsy not to show up’. That’s what I was looking at.”
Parra says Gesta, a native of Mandaue City in the Philippines, is firing on all cylinders in camp and there’s no question from their end when it comes to a possible date with Rios and filling in for the vanishing Gamboa.
“I know we’re scheduled to fight on that card and we’re just preparing to fight on that card.” Parra continued. “Obviously, of course we’d step in without a doubt. We just don’t know what’s going on.”
Asked if going from an undercard appearance against a relative unknown to a huge fight with Rios would change up their mindset, Parra denied such talk.
“It wouldn’t change at all because we treat every fight like a title fight from here on out,” claimed Parra. “Mercito’s already been back and already been in the gym. We’ve done about a month of straight training and conditioning and this is going into his second week of his regular camp for his April 14th camp. Obviously, if something like Rios shows up, it goes without saying.”
The two camps have had some words in the past with one another yet Parra is quick to recognize the threat of Rios without showing too much concern.
“Brandon Rios is right there in front of you," Parra pointed out. "You just take what he gives you and he gives you a lot. You have to be mindful that he’s a very smart guy too and he knows what he’s doing in there. He is pretty much, for the most part, a pressure fighter and a good puncher. But there’s a method behind his madness, otherwise he wouldn’t be where he’s at.”
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Brandon Rios intense sparring as he trains for Gamboa - Go inside the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy as Brandon Rios goes ten hard rounds for his April 14th date with Yuriorkis Gamboa