Just because of timing issues with when things have gone up, when things have been happening, etc., we haven't really spotlighted Yuriorkis Gamboa's side of the story on the Brandon Rios pull-out saga.
By now you've surely heard that Gamboa no-showed the Miami press conference on Monday, and earlier today he was an expected no-show at the Los Angeles presser, where Rios and Top Rank continued to push the fight, sort of, while also not promising Rios vs Gamboa.
Earlier today, Lem Satterfield of The RING had the Gamboa side of the story, featuring Yuriorkis' comments, plus those from representatives for the fighter. In short, Gamboa says he never signed an agreement for the fight (this is not uncommon practice in boxing, as others have noted):
Gamboa said he skipped out on the press conference "because I never signed a contract for the fight, and since I didn't have a contract, and we're still under negotiations, then there was no reason for me to go to the press conference."
"When I told them that I was not going to show up, they told me that there was no way that they could cancel this, and that I should just show up and be there and this and that," said Gamboa.
So, is Top Rank trying to strongarm Gamboa into a fight he doesn't want?
We're probably too early in the process to know for sure what's going on, but a few things seem obvious to me:
- Gamboa has never been committed to this fight, not fully. Even though he agreed, reportedly, on February 16, we had heard from sources that Gamboa was not wild about the fight, that he had gotten cold feet, and came close to passing on it. I can't say for certain that that's the case, but that's why none of this has truly surprised me at all.
- Gamboa should have spoken up sooner. He says he told Ahmet Oner on Saturday that he wasn't showing up on Monday. If he hadn't agreed to the fight, why didn't he say something when it was widely reported that he had agreed to the fight? It was big news all over the place in boxing circles. Everyone knew. He was told to be in Miami on Monday some time ago.
- The number I've heard is that Gamboa was going to get $1.1 million for the fight. Again, not 100% certain on that, but that's a pretty good deal for a guy with no fan base, but who knows what he thinks he deserves?
Gamboa (21-0, 16 KO) seems to want out of his deal with Top Rank. Lee Samuels, a Top Rank spokesman, says that they have two years left on their deal with Gamboa, and that the Cuban can't fight for anyone else.
As for the talk of Gamboa possibly signing with "Mayweather Promotions" (Golden Boy), he says he's at Floyd's gym in Vegas because the two of them are friends, and Mayweather offered the space.
This seems like it will all take a while to shake out. In the meantime, here's another numbered list:
- Top Rank is sort of acting like this fight is happening. They're also really not, if you read between the lines on what Todd duBoef and Rios are saying, but they're not officially canceling it. That's a way to keep people from canceling their plans to go to the fight.
- The fight seems like it has maybe a 1% chance of happening on April 14, or at all.