Alfonso Gomez is out of his scheduled December 4 Top Rank pay-per-view main event with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. with an elbow injury, and Pawel Wolak has been tapped to replace him, according to ESPN.com.
The injury is a torn ligament in Gomez's left elbow, and his promoter gave him credit for being honest about the injury:
"I give Alfonso Gomez credit because he could have been like a lot of fighters getting a big payday and gone in there and gone two rounds and then said, 'Oh, my shoulder hurts,' and quit," Top Rank's Bob Arum said. "But Alfonso owned up. He was very honest about the situation. It's a credit to him. He's not in any condition to fight through no fault of his own. ... When he's ready to come back, he'll get a fight. Will it be against Chavez? Probably not, because you move on with Chavez. That's boxing."
It's bad luck for Gomez, and good luck for Wolak, basically. Wolak (27-1, 17 KO) was going to face Elco Garcia on December 16 in New York, but now moves up to a fight he'd been set for earlier in the fall, before talk of Chavez fighting Miguel Cotto got in the way. That didn't happen, but Gomez stepped in, and now that that's off, Wolak has his chance.
Wolak is a good fighter but hardly exceptional. He deserves the shot as much as Gomez, though, so I don't think anything is lost. Chavez should beat Wolak. Wolak is a sturdy pressure fighter, but right about the same size as Gomez (same reach, and an inch shorter than Alfonso), which makes him much shorter than Chavez.
It's maybe worth noting that outside of one fight in Poland in 2007, Wolak has never fought outside of the New York/New Jersey area in his pro career. This trip to California is something special for him. Wolak has won six in a row since a loss to Ishe Smith in 2008, including a June victory over James Moore on the Cotto-Foreman undercard at Yankee Stadium.