By Francisco Salazar
Alfonso Gomez has been good to boxing. Then again, boxing has been good to Alfonso Gomez.
That may be hard to believe considering Gomez has a record of 24-6-2, with 12 knockouts and has fallen short in two attempts to win a world title.
But Gomez believes the knowledge and experience he has now is a greater asset than when he was fighting in sheer will and aggression.
He plans to utilize those attributes on Yoshihiro Kamegai on Friday night in a 10 round bout at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif.
The bout will headline a Golden Boy Promotions card and will be televised live, beginning at 11 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. PT on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports Deportes.
Gomez became a household name amongst boxing fans when he appeared on 'The Contender' reality series in 2004-05. While he did not win the tournament amongst fellow welterweights, his fan-friendly fighting style appealed to numerous boxing fans.
Gomez has had a number of high-profile fights in recent years. Gomez has faced the likes and beaten Arturo Gatti and Jesus Soto-Karass, but fell short in bouts against Miguel Cotto, 'Canelo' Alvarez, and most recently, Shawn Porter.
While Gomez enjoys the fight game as much as any fighter, he needed to make certain adjustments as a fighter in order for him to increase his longevity in the sport. He is no longer the young stud that trains endless hours at a gym or grinds out a win with his aggression.
He will intend to demonstrate that tonight.
“Golden Boy did their homework (matching up) a Samurai Warrior (Kamegai) against an Aztec Warrior,” Gomez told Boxingscene.com in a recent phone interview. “He’s brave and gives it his all. He packs a punch, comes forward, and is relentless.”
“We’re both warriors, but I’m going to show the world that I don’t have to brawl. I’m going to use my experience and timing. Those are valuable tools to have, along with being smarter in the ring.”
Gomez has spent more time out of the ring in recent years due to a hand and elbow injury. It has made fight fans wonder whether his body is breaking down or whether the effects of all the brutal wars he fought in have taken their toll.
While part of that may be the case, Gomez came to the realization he is not the same fighter he was 10 years ago. At 34, he has to utilize more his psychological advantages as opposed to his athletic capabilities.
“I took time off after the Canelo fight,” said Gomez, who is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions. “I had a broken wrist and I had hurt my elbow (which is why Gomez was out of action for almost two years). When I fought Ed Paredes (in July of last year), I used a smarter and efficient game plan. I used my experience.”
As Gomez is growing older, one wonders how much more he has left in the tank. A win over Kamegai tonight could put him in a position for another high-profile fight. But he does not want to look past his opponent, who gave Robert Guerrero a run for his money in a 12 round bout last year.
Gomez wants to continue fighting and his long-term desire is to continue his longevity in the sport. In order or him to do that, he is treating the fight game more from a business standpoint.
“I want to squeeze out as much of my career as I possibly can. I hope to prolong my career another three, four, five, or six years. I want to continue and establish a legacy that regardless of what cards you were dealt, you can still achieve greatness.”
“I’m treating my career as a business. We’re taking each fight step-by-step.”
“I’m happy with how my career has turned out, but there’s still a lot left for me to do.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Salazar also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing