Gomez on Marquez-Canelo Beef, WBC, Chavez Jr, More

By Chris Robinson

Alfonso Gomez will be the first to tell you that his September 17th bout against WBC junior middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez may be his last crack at a world title. The Gomez-Alvarez clash serves as a key attraction to the Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz pay-per-view from the MGM Grand and is also an interesting clash featuring one of the sport’s rising stars against a seasoned veteran with everything to gain but much to lose.

Gomez gained some notoriety from his involvement on the inaugural season of NBC’s The Contender series and has shown in the show’s aftermath that his desire as a professional extends much further than just some exposure or a taste of fame. Highlights of Gomez’s recent years have included a battering of the late Arturo Gatti, a 5th round TKO loss to Miguel Cotto in April of 2008, and recent streak of five straight wins, including scalps over the likes of Jesus Soto Karass and former lightweight king Jose Luis Castillo.
Gomez is the proverbial underdog heading into his bout with the talented Alvarez but it’s always been a role he has played well throughout his life. A recent conversation with the 30-year old revealed much about his true feelings towards Alvarez’s ability as a fighter, the path the young champion has taken to get to this point in his career, and why he feels he has been rushed as a fighter.
Other highlights during my interview with Gomez included his reaction to seeing a late 2010 fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fall apart because of an injury, his take on Juan Manuel Marquez’s apparent disdain towards Alvarez, the actions of the WBC in stripping champions Sergio Martinez and Timothy Bradley, his training camp in Southern California with champions Miguel Vazquez and Giovani Segura, and more.
In his own words, this is what Gomez shared…

Anticipating a great challenge…
“I really feel this is going to be the best fight on September 17th. It’s a great challenge and this is the moment I have been waiting for all my life. Being in this position, I think I’ve earned it and I’m not going to lose that day.”
Win or perish…
“I’ve burned all my bridges but it’s going to push me even more, knowing that there is no retreat from here. I have to go all the way in. Either I win or I perish, pretty much. So I’m training real hard for it and it’s a great opportunity. I feel blessed and I think I had the chance with Miguel Cotto but I couldn’t deliver what I know I’m capable of. I think it’s a great chance to re-vindicate myself from that fight.”
Real thoughts towards Saul Alvarez…
“I think he’s a good fighter. I’ve mentioned before that there’s no way that a couch potato or somebody watching T.V. would be a world champion, especially at 21 years old and so popular. So I think he has put the work in to become who he is. Yet, at the same time the road has been a little bit paved for him because of the great impact he has on the media in Mexico. So now is a great opportunity to teach him a lesson, because after every loss there is a lesson.”
Alvarez pushed too soon?
“Yes, I think we’ve seen it time and time again, that there are things that being the gym, watching fights, and other things in boxing can’t teach you other than being in the ring. And in my case I think I’ve been in the ring in some really grueling fights where I have had to reach deep within to come out with a victory. Whatever it is, I think I have lived through all of those experiences where ‘Canelo’, I’m pretty certain he hasn’t lived. I’m pretty sure I have the upper hand there and we’re going to go to those deep waters and really see what happens.”
Thoughts on the Marquez-Alvarez feud…
“I’m not going to talk bad about Marquez because I think he’s a great fighter. Maybe he just let his emotions go, knowing this kid was going to go for the world title. It’s no mystery that a lot of people are angry and a lot of boxers are dissatisfied with how he became a champion. Yes, he has a lot of fans who support him and whether he became a champion the easier way or the hard way, they are still following him. It’s no surprise that it happened; it’s just a great opportunity for me to expose that.”
Showing improvement late in his career…
“Yes, I think that’s true. I do improve after every fight. I’ve shown it. People judge me by my record, which is not that impressive, but you have to understand before The Contender by record was shady because I was always the guy who was supposed to lose yet I still came out victorious. Even on the show it’s a little summary of how my life is. I was the underdog story and I survived that. My record after The Contender is eleven wins, one defeat, and eight KO’s. It has shown the improvement that I have made since my opponents have been harder, on bigger stages, with more people screaming and all that. It’s just the experience that I have.”
Seeing a fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fall through…
“It wasn’t satisfying because I trained so hard and I was so eager to be able to expose my talent to so many people since it was a very attractive fight. It was a shame that I had that injury, it was a shame that he some trouble, because just like it hurt me, I’m sure it hurt him. But it’s just the fact that we didn’t satisfy the fans for a fight of magnitude. But now I have a greater opportunity and this is for a world title and I think it’s a blessing in disguise or something like that.”
Thoughts on the WBC’s actions, including stripping champions Sergio Martinez and Timothy Bradley…
“I think that at the end of the day the boxing Gods will be the Boxing Gods. It is what it is. It is kind of shady how they do that. At the same time the public wants to see people achieve more, people become greater, so I think it’s a great opportunity for Erik Morales and the World Boxing Council to be a part of history together and I don’t blame them. I’m not saying I would do the same thing but I hope Morales captures the fourth world title because he did win that fight with Maidana.”
In camp and motivated…
“Right now I’m training at the Azteca Boxing Club in California. It’s a great gym and there are some great champions in there. Like Miguel Vazquez, Giovanni Segura, and Panchito Arce. All those boxers that do great performances in the ring, are undefeated and have championships, it gives me great motivation to be around them. So, being there it really motivates me to go the extra mile. I just believe that putting the work in will give me great results on September 17th. So everything I am eager to put more and more and more into the gym.”

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