By Keith Idec
Juan Manuel Lopez thinks Yuriorkis Gamboa should skip his April 14 fight against Brandon Rios, too.
Lopez said before Gamboa bailed on a press conference Monday in Miami to promote that fight that the unbeaten Gamboa shouldn’t have agreed to face Rios.
“I think him going up to 135 is not a real smart thing to do,” Lopez told BoxingScene.com. “I think there’s a lot of good fights here at 126 that he could’ve done.”
If Gamboa goes forward with the lightweight fight, Lopez predicted he would lose because the rugged Rios (29-0-1, 22 KOs) is too big and too strong for the former featherweight champion.
“I think he’s making a mistake by going up there,” Lopez said of Gamboa moving up two divisions. “I know Rios has problems making 135, and that’s what they’re hoping, that he kills himself to make that weight. But at the end of the day, he’s just a bigger, stronger guy and I don’t think it’s so smart to jump up to that division.”
Lopez (31-1, 28 KOs) will try to avenge his lone loss Saturday night in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he’ll meet Mexico’s Orlando Salido (37-11-2, 25 KOs) in a highly anticipated featherweight championship rematch of their April 16 bout in Bayamon, Puerto Rico (Showtime; 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT). He holds out hope, however, that he’ll eventually get to battle Gamboa (21-0, 16 KOs) in a fight that his loss to Salido sabotaged last year.
“I’m disappointed, because I always wanted that fight,” Lopez said regarding boxing Gamboa. “Sometimes it’s not in your hands. Sometimes it’s in the promoter’s hands, that don’t want to do it or whatever. I wish we would’ve fought and I still hope we fight one day.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.