By Ernest Gabion
Todd duBoef, President of Top Rank, spoke with BoxingScene.com about the escalating situation with former featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa. On February 16th, duBoef and Gamboa reached an agreement on the terms for an HBO televised fight on April 14th with Brandon Rios, at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. DuBoef has a paper trail to document Gamboa's satisfaction with the terms, and his willingness to face Rios. Top Rank scheduled a media tour to promote the fight. To their surprise, Gamboa no-showed the entire media tour - including a Monday stop in Gamboa's hometown of Miami, Florida.
Gamboa's lawyer, Sekou Gary, indicated to BoxingScene.com on Tuesday , that his client was not satisfied with his promotional arrangement with Top Rank and Arena Box, and refuses to move forward with Rios until his promotional contract is re-worked. Gamboa's attorney also stated that his client never signed a contract or agreed to take the fight.
While a bout agreement was never signed, duBoef has documented proof that Gamboa accepted the terms and represented to his promoters that he wanted to fight Rios. For the moment, Top Rank is keeping Gamboa's name in place. But, as the days pass by, duBoef may be forced to secure a replacement if the Cuban boxer refuses to move forward.
BoxingScene.com: Describe the level of disappoint that you are experiencing right now with Gamboa no- showing?
I'm disappointed because these are functions that you are obligated to do as a fighter. For hundreds of years, these fighters show up at press conferences, weigh-ins, and ceremonies. These people want to be promoted and they don't show up on their own turf for it? It’s disappointing to me.
BoxingScene.com: On February16th, an agreement was reached for Yuriokis Gamboa to fight Brandon Rios. That is a correct statement?
BoxingScene.com: What changed? Do you know anything?
All I know is at 8:30 Pacific Time [on Monday morning], 8:45 or something like that Pacific Time - I get a call that [Top Rank's staff and Team Rios is] in Miami and Gamboa isn't, and that he's not going to be at the press conference. After sending my whole staff, have the media there, have the mayor of Miami there - he's a no-show in his own hometown..I don't know what to say about that.
BoxingScene.com: I notice that you haven't mentioned that Gamboa is not fighting on April 14. As far as you’re concerned, Yuriorkis Gamboa is going to fight Brandon Rios on April 14th?
I'm obligated to him for this fight. He has a commitment to me. He has a commitment to us, my partner and I, Arena Box. He has a commitment to HBO. He has a commitment to all of us - based on his representations. I'm not going to pull the plug. People are asking and I'm not going to do anything. That's the match we're with. If it changes, it will be done with the advice of counsel.
BoxingScene.com: Obviously you have a contingency plan in place, in the event Gamboa doesn't show up to the dance on April 14th?
I'm not going to give that 'what if' scenario because I believe that he has an obligation to us. I have an obligation to him and him to us. Until I'm told that somehow he is breaching his obligation to us, and assumes liability for what he's caused, then I'll figure it out. But I'm not going to go 'plan a, plan b, plan c' - until we go down the road. I can tell you this though, [Brandon Rios] is going to be in the ring on April 14th. And the fight fans are going to see a fight on April 14th. That's what we're doing.
BoxingScene.com: A lot has been made about a contract not being signed. For the record, and for everyone out there who doesn't understand how it works, thing don't necessarily get signed the moment they are agreed upon. Correct?
Correct. It's a practice in the business. It’s a practice in all business. I think Lebron James said he was going to Miami before the contract was signed. He held a press conference and days later they had to work out the whole deal. I have a fight with Showtime this weekend [Juan Manuel Lopez-Orlando Salido] and I don't have a signed contract with Showtime. We have agreements in principle that are binding. You are bound to those. That is part of what we do. Regardless of that. Forget about an agreement being signed, people always talk about that - I have ‘agreed to terms’ by Gamboa. That is what I have, the end.