By Elisinio Castillo
According to a report from El Nuevo Día of Puerto Rico, Top Rank - who promote Puerto Rican contender Felix Verdejo - were trying to match the once-beaten boxer against former world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa.
But Jessie Rodriguez, manager of Gamboa, rejects any talk of a fight with Verdejo. He says his boxer is going to face Juan Manuel Lopez in March - and then they plan to target a fight with WBO, WBA lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko.
"I do not really know where these reports came from, but there's nothing true about them," Rodríguez said to George Ebro. "We are going to fight against Lopez sometime in March of 2019 and then we will go with everything after Lomachenko. That is the plan and it has not changed.''
A clash between the young Verdejo and Gamboa, under the auspices of Top Rank in New York, would generate more interest than a clash against Lopez.
But Rodriguez completely rejected this option, which, in his opinion, is not the most beneficial for Gamboa (29-2, 17 knockouts), who on November 10 won by unanimous decision against Miguel Beltran.
On that same evening, Lopez (36-6, 32 KO) beat the Argentine Cristian Rubén Mino by decision to set up the contest with Gamboa.
"With Top Rank it's always the same," added Rodríguez. "We talk about one thing and they want to do something else afterwards. We want Lomachenko. We know we can beat Lomachenko. That's what we want to negotiate. ''
Verdejo (24-1, 16 KOs) was at the Theater of Madison Square Garden to watch Lomachenko secure a unanimous decision against Jose Pedraza last Saturday night in New York.
"They know that Yuri can beat Lomachenko, that version of Lomachenko we saw last Saturday," added Rodriguez. "He is not the same as he was before. But do not create anything from Verdejo against Gamboa. That is not going anywhere. They will not force us to commit to something we're not looking for."