Cuban lightweight Richard Abril might get a big, big chance on April 14, as scuttlebutt has him a leading candidate to replace Yuriorkis Gamboa on April 14 against Brandon Rios.
For those who may have missed it, Gamboa no-showed today's press conference in Miami, and while the fight has not been officially called off, as in there has been no statement from Top Rank about it, it's no secret right now that Rios vs Gamboa is off.
Abril (17-2-1, 8 KO) is coming off of a decision win over Miguel Acosta in October in Panama. Acosta, you likely remember, was the man defeated in February 2011 by Rios on Showtime to give Rios his first major title.
The 29-year-old Abril isn't any type of serious replacement for Gamboa, it must be said, but options are very limited. Most credible fighters at 135 or 140 are tied up in other fights right now and just are not available. Abril, who is more of a standard Friday Night Fights type of guy than an HBO main eventer, suffered split decision losses to Breidis Prescott in 2008 and Hank Lundy in 2010. Realistically, he would not be considered any real threat to Rios, but this might just be the best that can be done.
It's a little tough when even Top Rank interviewer Crystina Poncher calls him "some guy":
He may indeed be Gamboa's sub. And at least we can say this for Richard Abril: He actually wants the fight.
For the record, it's no great surprise that Gamboa (21-0, 16 KO) has apparently bailed on this fight. From what I understood during the negotiation process, Gamboa had cold feet after calling everyone out, and almost didn't sign for the fight. Maybe he shouldn't have -- it would have been far less a slap in the face for boxing fans, for Brandon Rios, and for everyone else if he'd just turned it down.
Tomorrow's press conference in Los Angeles will still happen. The only question is who shows up -- we could know as soon as tomorrow what's going on with the April 14 fight, or it could simply be a chance for Brandon Rios and Bob Arum to vent.