By Rick Reeno
MGM Grand, Las Vegas - Several years ago, when both fighters were promoted by Top Rank, Juan Manuel Lopez (34-3, 31KOs) vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa was one of the most talked about fights in boxing.
Most believe the fight should have happened sooner than later, but Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum was attempting to build the fight into a pay-per-view attraction.
The fight was basically a dead issue after Juanma was knocked out in back to back fights with Orlando Salido, and then Gamboa (23-1, 16KOs) parted ways with Top Rank.
But now the Juanma-Gamboa, although nowhere near as big as it could have been back then, has a chance of coming of.
Following last month's knockout loss to WBO lightweight champion Terence Crawford, Gamboa made it clear that he was moving down in weight, to 130-pounds, and named Juanma as a possible option.
Tomorrow night as part of the Canelo-Lara Showtime Pay-Per-View, Juanma will face undefeated Francisco Vargas (19-0-1, 13KOs) of Mexico.
If Juanma defeats Vargas, he would certainly accept a fight with Gamboa.
"I was always available for that fight. I left it in the hands of the promoters and I'm not sure why there was never an agreement. If they offered me that fight, I would have no problem doing it. Not only him, but also a third fight with [Orlando] Salido, a rematch with Mikey Garcia or even [Vasyl] Lomachenko [if he moves up]," Juanma told BoxingScene.com.
And Juanma agrees with Gamboa's decision to move down. He says Gamboa's best weight is 130 or even the featherweight limit of 126-pounds.
"He's too small for 135-pounds. Gamboa can't fight at that weight. He's really more of a 130-pounder, maybe even a 126-pounder. Crawford was too big for him and too strong and you could see even before the fight that [Gamboa] was going to be too small," Juanma said.