By Chris Robinson
The future of former featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa got a little clarity on Thursday when it was revealed that the Cuban stylist had settled his legal dispute with his former promoter Top Rank.
The Las Vegas-based firm filed a breach of contract against Gamboa in March, after Yuriorkis bailed out on separate press conferences to promote an April 14th duel with former lightweight boss Brandon Rios, an obvious sign that he had no intention in pushing forward with the event despite Top Rank claiming to have given him $70,000 in advance pay.
As reported by BoxingScene.com, Top Rank filed a stipulation to dismiss the case against Gamboa, as there was said to be a ‘satisfactory’ resolution that was reached by both parties, and that means that one of the sport’s premiere talents is now a free agent.
Catching up with HBO analyst Larry Merchant to get his take on the situation, he seemed to still have some resentment about the Rios fight falling apart more so than focusing his attention on the latest with Gamboa.
“I don’t know about this news,” Merchant would admit to me on Thursday night. “All I know is he pulled out of a fight that he had agreed to. This is just backroom stuff. We know that he pulled out. He had a chance to make himself a significant player in boxing and he chose not to do it.”
Merchant was quick not to cast too much judgment, pointing out that sometimes the motives of a prizefighter are hard to gauge.
“What happens in the future, who knows,” Merchant continued. “[Tim] Bradley called out Amir Khan and then backed out because he thought he could get a shot at [Manny] Pacquiao and he did. It’s paid off for him.”
It is rumored that Gamboa very well may be signing a promotional pact with Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s Mayweather Promotions in the near future. Gamboa has been spending some time with Floyd at and around his personal gym in Las Vegas over the past few months and one name that Junior had mentioned as a possible foe for his friend is WBO junior lightweight champion Adrien Broner.
Merchant was asked for his take on a Gamboa-Broner matchup and he seemed to have a little bit of a problem getting up for the fight with the Rios fallout still fresh in his mind.
“I don’t think it’s as big as the fight against Rios,” stated Merchant. “But it would be a legitimate fight. Rios had already established himself as an exciting, crowd-pleasing television fighter. I don’t think Broner is there yet. I think him fighting Broner would be a fight that fight fans would want to see. I think we would see it as more of an opportunity for Broner to make a statement, where as previously I think it was for Gamboa to make a statement.”
Offering up some parting thoughts on the next phase of Gamboa’s career, Merchant seems to be intrigued by the uncertainty.
“He’s a very exciting featherweight,” said Merchant. “At a time when the featherweight division needed some excitement; after a decade of giving us Pacquiao and Morales and Barrera, and to a lesser degree Marquez, and everybody was looking forward to him and Juanma [Lopez]. And that thing blew up. And then his opportunity to move into a higher weight class, he voluntary blew that one up. That is the history of it. What the future is remains to be seen.”
READER’s NOTE: For an inside look at Pacquiao-Bradley fight week in videos, including the post-fight press conference, grand arrivals, and exclusives with Bob Arum, Juan Manuel Marquez, Alex Ariza, Joel Diaz, Adrien Broner, Freddie Roach, Juan Manuel Lopez, Ana Julaton, Sampson Lewkowicz, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Miguel Diaz, and several other please visit Chris Robinson’s recently-launched Youtube page at CRHarmony YouTube Page