In a rumor that will rightfully call into question the promotional expertise of 50 Cent and Co. over at SMS Promotions, RingTV.com reports that Yuriorkis Gamboa is the leading candidate to face Timothy Bradley on March 16, live on HBO.
Gamboa (22-0, 16 KO) is a natural featherweight, while Bradley (29-0, 12 KO) currently holds the WBO welterweight title. Gamboa did fight at 130 pounds, beating Michael Farenas in a tough bout on December 8, but that's still a full 17 pounds south of the welterweight limit, and 10, even, of the junior welterweight limit, if the fight took place at 140 instead of 147.
Though fighters have gone from 126 to 147 successfully in the past -- most recently, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez have done it -- a single fight leap from 130 to 147 is still massive, and, well, few guys are Pacquiao or Marquez, anyway. Gamboa is a special talent, but this may be beyond him physically. He's short, with short arms, and has had chin and/or balance issues his entire pro career.
In a way, this seems like Top Rank laughing through dealing with Gamboa and 50 Cent. Last year, Gamboa skipped out on a scheduled fight with Brandon Rios, going to court with Top Rank, where ultimately the issue was settled and 50 Cent bought Gamboa's contract for the never-real TMT Promotions, which was to be run by 50 Cent and the Mayweather camp.
When Mayweather bailed, 50 had Gamboa and nothing to do with him. The Cuban doesn't have a big fan base, and 50 Cent is a novice promoter at best in the boxing world, a unique industry to say the least. So the rapper-actor-businessman-promoter-whatever else took Gamboa back to a Top Rank card in December, and now they might be throwing him into an extremely tough situation where Gamboa has to jump up big-time in weight against a high-level opponent.
Of course, this could all come to nothing. Bradley has had several "potential opponents" for dates in both December (which obviously came to nothing), and the March date has been rumored for a while, too.
Is this a fight that interests you beyond some intrigue of seeing whether or not Gamboa can fight this heavy?