Dan Rafael of ESPN.com reports today that the fight between Yuriorkis Gamboa and Orlando Salido is off, and in its place will be a much better, far more interesting fight between Gamboa and Elio Rojas. HBO will televise.
Rojas (22-1, 13 KO) holds a featherweight title belt, as does Gamboa, and so does Salido. But Gamboa-Rojas is far more compelling stylistically, at least to me, because Rojas might actually be able to give Gamboa some trouble. Salido, in my view, had almost no hope of doing anything against Gamboa because he's simply not good enough.
Top Rank's Carl Moretti told Rafael his own thoughts on the fight, which pretty much mirror mine and do a better job explaining anyway:
"Style-wise, Rojas presents Gamboa with a different kind of fight than Salido," Moretti said. "Salido is right-handed and in front of you and can punch. Rojas is a lefty, he's taller than Gamboa and not easy to hit. He's more of a pure boxer."
Rojas has been toiling under the "care" of promoter Don King, who has failed to get the fighter much by way of significant matchups, which like a lot of talented King fighters, he seemed to genuinely desire. In an interesting twist, Rojas will train under Kevin Cunningham for this bout. Cunningham also trains Devon Alexander, and by association has himself been highly critical of King's management, or lack thereof, of young fighters in his stable.
The 27-year-old Rojas will still be the underdog, as Salido would have been, but I think he has a legitimate (if not great) shot at throwing a wrench into the big plans of Gamboa and Top Rank. At the very least, it's a better fight than Salido would have been.
Top Rank is planning a good co-feature for the card, too, as it's likely Anthony Peterson (30-0, 20 KO) will face Brandon Rios (24-0-1, 18 KO) in a lightweight bout.