By Elisinio Castillo
Veteran coach Ismael Salas is now training an army of fighters, like Jorge Linares, Rances Barthelemy, Nonito Donaire and several others.
The one fighter he will not continue training is former world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa (26-1, 17 KOs). The two get a long on a personal level, but Salas does not want to work with Gamboa.
"Our personal relationships have always been very good, but Gamboa has always been a victim of his own decisions, which I respect. I don't think we can work together any more. We won't get back together," Gamboa told George Ebro.
Salas explained that Gamboa needs to break away with the bad habits that are affecting his career, which includes not dedicating himself to the life of a boxer on a full-time basis. Gamboa has been very inactive over the years, with only one fight in 2015, none in 2016 and he picked up a decision win earlier this month.
"The best way to say it is to do it. He has to sit down to think about his own well-being. He has to dedicate himself full-time to his career. That's what keeps us from having a goal like when he was an Olympic champion, a world champion. He can be that again, but he has to break the old patterns that have not worked," Salas said.
Gamboa is now in the mix at super featherweight and lightweight. He's called for a fight with WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko (7-1, 5 KOs). Salas believes Gamboa, if he fully dedicates himself to boxing, is capable of beating Lomachenko.
He doesn't see Gamboa doing much damage at 135, but feels he can still be a force at 130. Gamboa is slated to return on May 5th, possibly against Jayson Velez.
"I'm not saying this because I'm working with him, but Linares is taking the lead [at lightweight]. He is always fighting on other people's turf, against decent opponents. [I'm not sure sure about] 135 pounds because of [Gamboa's] stature and his physique, I think he can still shine at 130," Salas said.
"Gamboa has all of the talent to beat Lomachenko or anyone else, but it's Gamboa,... if he's pre-occupied with something else... he just has to think about how he had all of those achievements at the beginning of his career and what he's doing differently now. And correct those mistakes."