Long-running featherweight titlist Chris John quickly dispelled any doubts that he's willing to fight Yuriorkis Gamboa or Juan Manuel Lopez when speaking with the Jakarta Globe today.
"I think we’ll jump on it if the offer comes. I’ll be ready to fight either one of them."
He also said they've yet to receive any offer.
John (43-0-2, 22 KO) came to the United States to fight for the first time last year, engaging in two bouts with Rocky Juarez. In February 2009, he was given a highly-disputed draw in Juarez's hometown of Houston (most felt John clearly won), and in September he outpointed him in the main support slot on the Mayweather-Marquez pay-per-view. In both fights, John was rocked late by the strong Juarez, but outworked him for the majority of each fight.
It had been a long time coming. John won the interim WBA featherweight title way back in 2003, and became full titlist when he beat Osamu Sato in 2004. Since then, he's made 11 defenses of his title, mostly in Indonesia. He was long doubted as a valid "champion" by many, but a lot of that was overcome with the two strong performances out of his backyard last year.
At 30, John has had a lot of rounds and a lot of fights as a pro, and he's probably a bit past his very best. Given that the sluggish but powerful Juarez twice came close to knocking him down or even out, I think both Lopez and Gamboa would be awful matchups for John at this stage. He'd be the best fighter either of them has fought, and he's a really good boxer, but I just can't see him surviving 12 rounds against either of them anymore.
Right now, John is scheduled for an April fight in Bali. It will be his first fight in Indonesia since January 2008.