Maybe Bob Arum really thinks letting it "percolate" is the best move. Maybe he or his matchmaker Bruce Trampler saw something last night that let them know that right now is simply not the time. But whatever it is, that much-hyped summer showdown between featherweight titleholders Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa will not happen, as Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports discussed earlier today.
"I want to hear you guys ask me that question [about when they’ll fight] over and over and over," Arum said, grinning. "Because then I know they’re taking care of their business and we’re doing our jobs. They’re terrific young fighters and terrific kids, but this fight is going to be huge one day. If I just threw them in there now, yeah, you’d love it and it would be a great fight, but it wouldn’t do the kind of business it’s going to do a while from now."
This is most of Arum's argument, that the fight can be much bigger than it is right now. He is very right -- it can be.
But who are they going to fight in the meantime? Given the way Arum is talking about Lopez-Gamboa (and it is a fight you can dream on as a promoter), don't expect these guys to be taking any great challenges, even if Bob talks about having the two of them clean out the featherweight ranks. I think both of them would knock Chris John out if they fought right now, to be honest, given that Rocky Juarez rocked John in both of their fights last year, but I don't see that matchup happening.
Given how wild and reckless Cristobal Cruz is, he might be a good fit for Gamboa to pick up another title, since Cruz is basically Roger Mtagwa with better wins. But does Arum want to put Lopez in with Cruz? Would you if you were Bob Arum? Lopez got himself into hell with Mtagwa and barely survived. He proved his guts and his toughness in that fight, but I wouldn't want to do that again. Lopez was one right hand from going down for the count against Mtagwa. Too risky.
Jorge Solis is out there, but again, that's a really good fighter capable of pulling what would be an upset. Elio Rojas has a belt.
More likely, expect to see one of them fighting someone like Bernabe Concepcion or Mario Santiago. Those two will meet on February 13 on Top Rank PPV.
Arum is taking a calculated risk delaying this fight, but it could certainly pay off. It could REALLY pay off if they do what I don't expect, which is match these guys tough for a couple more outings.