By Keith Idec
Now that negotiations have fallen apart for an HBO doubleheader that would’ve showcased them in separate bouts, Yuriorkis Gamboa is eager to fight Brandon Rios next.
Ahmet Oner, Gamboa’s co-promoter, is awaiting an offer from Top Rank Inc. to fight Rios in a lightweight battle that would require Gamboa to move up two weight classes.
“I want to go directly to Brandon Rios,” Oner told BoxingScene.com. “Top Rank is right now trying to bring something to Rios. I think both fighters want to fight. Now the economics must be done.”
Gamboa hopes the deal can be consummated quickly.
“It’s probably going to be a real, real good fight,” Gamboa said, “and the public’s going to love the fight.”
When asked why he thought this was the right fight for him at this point in his career, the confident Cuban said, “I never said that I could beat him. I’m going to give my best and get the victory.”
The rugged Rios predicted recently that he would eventually “catch” Gamboa later in their fight, after the faster, highly skilled Gamboa attempts to out-box him early in their fight. Gamboa didn’t offer a prediction, but the former featherweight champion said Rios is “not very technical, but he’s very tough and hard to fight. He’s a very good fighter.”
The 30-year-old Gamboa (21-0, 16 KOs) fought nine times at junior lightweight earlier in his career, but the 2004 Olympic gold medalist will be new to lightweight. The 5-foot-8 Rios (29-0-1, 22 KOs), of Oxnard, Calif., definitely will out-weigh him when they touch gloves, and is at least two inches taller than Gamboa.
“I’ve done that all my life,” Gamboa said of switching divisions. “I became a world champion doing it. I’ve been up and down in weight all my life. I can go up and I can come down. It doesn’t really matter.”
Oner isn’t concerned about moving up to challenge a larger man, either.
“I don’t want to talk too much,” Oner said, “but I believe in [Gamboa] and I think he will do the job. Brandon Rios is a big step. First we have to finish this step and then we’ll see what happens.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.