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Salas Defends Gamboa, Talks Linares and Rigondeaux

By Chris Robinson

After catching up with Ismael Salas this past weekend in Las Vegas during Lucas Matthysse’s knockout victory over Mike Dallas Jr. inside of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, I made a point to swing through and check out the Cuban trainer in camp with his latest pupil, Jorge Linares.

Overseeing the two-division world champion inside of the Long Life Fit Gym on Wednesday afternoon, Salas seems enthused by the prospect of trying to resurrect Linares’ career.

Undoubtedly one of the game’s finer talents, Linares suffered a pair of bloody and debilitating TKO defeats to Antonio DeMarco and Sergio Thompson in October of 2011 and March of 2012 that left his career hanging with serious questions.

During our conversation after their training, Salas spoke on his first ten days working with Linares while also taking time to speak on two of his former charges, WBA junior featherweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux and former featherweight titlist Yuriorkis Gamboa.

Rigondeaux is presently hoping for an April 13th bout with Nonito Donaire to push through while Gamboa has seen his name in the headlines due to him being connected to a rumored PED supplier down in Miami, Florida.

Read below for Salas’ thoughts…

Working with Jorge Linares in Las Vegas…
“He’s a good fighter. I’ve been following him since he was a young prospect in Japan. By coincidence, I was there in Japan and I’ve been following all of his professional fights. He’s really good. But in the later part, it looked like he was getting bored with his way of fighting. That’s why I like to get the different approach to increase his motivation. I’m doing the fundamentals; I’m working with his feet, his side to side movement.”

The process of bringing out the best in a fighter…
“One of the things, anytime we have any fighter, we have to look at them a number of ways. How is his fitness, how is his boxing ability. After we get all this information, then we start to get the best of him. The trainer’s job is to get the best from any fighter. So, we’re moving each day, we’re doing fundamentals. There will be a time when we start to have the sparring then it will be time to finish it up.”

Comparing Linares to his previous pupils, Yuriorkis Gamboa and Guillermo Rigondeaux…
“He’s got very good skill, Jorge Linares. I never like to compare each fighter because each fighter, they have their own style. Like, I can say, Yuriorkis Gamboa is an explosive fighter. Rigondeaux is a skillful fighter. And Linares is a combination. I don’t try to change his style, just to improve.”

Thought on a match between Nonito Donaire and Rigondeaux…
“Of course, in my personal view, I was working with Guillermo Rigondeaux when he got the WBA belt against Rico Ramos. When I got the information with Rigondeaux, [I noticed] he was a very skillful fighter. The fight with Nonito Donaire, I think he has the better skill than Nonito Donaire. And he’s as explosive as Nonito Donaire. I would like to see this fight. Of course, my favorite is Guillermo Rigondeaux.”

Not shocked to hear of Yuriorkis Gamboa being connected to a brewing PED scandal down in South Florida…
“Actually, I am not surprised, because Miami is Miami. Always from a small ball they make a snowball. It’s just that people like to gossip and talk. For real, in my personal view, [Gamboa and I] separate for a year already. We see each other from time to time. I came to Las Vegas, he’s in Miami. I don’t think Gamboa needed to do this, because his natural ability, his natural fitness, he’s a strong guy. So, I don’t think he needs to do this.”

Why he feels Gamboa never used performance-enhancing drugs…
“No way. What I can tell you about Gamboa, he’s a very hard worker, fighter. He works so hard on the fitness, he works so hard in the gym. A fighter like Gamboa, he don’t need to do anything, because he already go power in his hand. He’s a skillful fighter, he’s young. Somebody else, maybe. I tell you the truth, I knew very well Gamboa and his family. I don’t think he needs to do that.”

*** For Chris Robinson's exclusive coverage from the Lucas Matthysse-Mike Dallas Jr. fight week in Vegas please visit his HustleBoss.com Boxing Directory. Also, please hit up his  Exclusive Sparring Directory, showcasing behind the scenes action from top gyms in the West Coast, including the Mayweather Boxing Club...

*** For Chris Robinson's exclusive coverage from the Lucas Matthysse-Mike Dallas Jr. fight week in Vegas please visit his  HustleBoss.com Boxing Directory . Also, please hit up his   Exclusive Sparring Directory,  showcasing behind the scenes action from top gyms in the West Coast, including the Mayweather Boxing Club...



Chris Robinson can be reached at  [email protected]
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by DannYankee on 01-31-2013

Thank [B]GOD [/B] if this guy says hes clean i believe him, i knew there was a chance that 3rd rate alternative weekly newspaper was b/sing. Word is the clinic used big names to get clients in, showing them all…

Comment by Cubanborn87 on 01-31-2013

sounds like the source is full of ish gamboa clean as my air forces used to be back in high school

Comment by jlcelestine on 01-31-2013

Maybe this would have been his first time taking PED's because he wasnt confident moving up to 135 so quick, and upon further thought he dropped out of the fight and never took the stuff all together... Rather just drop…

Comment by Angry Cuban on 01-31-2013

Yeaah I been like WTF is he talking about..Gamboa!!!..? Seriously?

Comment by .:: JSFD26 ::. on 01-31-2013

[quote=jri9d0] I don't know what to believe anymore regarding this Gamboa business. But to be honest, all P.E.D talks aside he seriously needs to step up his game regarding his competition, all of these spoon feds are getting tiresome... [/quote]…

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