Lem Satterfield of BoxingScene.com talked to Bob Arum, who confirms the rumors and talk that a fight between Yuriorkis Gamboa and Rafael Marquez is being looked at, and the fight is possible for September.
For those who think that Juan Manuel Lopez's loss to Orlando Salido got in the way of Gamboa-Lopez, the reality appears to be that that fight was still absolutely not being seriously explored, only "marinated." Arum said many months ago that he wanted to make it the biggest featherweight fight of all-time, which was a silly reach then and never got any less ridiculous, really.
Top Rank's plans for this year were to match Lopez with Marquez in a rematch of last November's fight between the two. Gamboa-Lopez was not going to happen, so did Arum let it cook too long, really? Probably not. He can do the fight next year at 130 if both hold on, and if Lopez comes back strong, and probably still make exactly as much money, if not more, than he was going to had he done the fight sometime this year. Now that Lopez-Marquez II isn't going to happen, Top Rank is looking at Gamboa-Marquez, a fight that makes good sense from their end, and a rematch between Salido and Lopez probably around the same time in the autumn months. Salido will fight in Mexico in July, likely against a relatively easier foe.
Currently, Marquez is supposedly scheduled to face Mike Oliver on June 4 in Los Angeles, part of the Zbik-Chavez undercard, but that hasn't been totally confirmed.
As for this "cooking" stuff promoters talk about, there was another fight that did happen that you could argue proves you do need to let fights simmer a while, though I still disagree in that particular case. I'm talking about January's "superfight that wasn't" between Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander, which was a flop in and out of the ring apart from the fact that HBO paid good money for it.
Last year I argued that having those guys fight inferior competition, guys with no fanbases of their own who weren't going to draw any attention to the fights, wasn't going to make Bradley-Alexander any bigger than it already was. The fact that it tanked in January probably can be argued as evidence that that viewpoint was wrong, but consider this:
- They totally oversold the fight, giving it the illusion of being some mega-event, which it absolutely was not. It was simply a very good fight to be made between two undefeated top contenders at 140 pounds, but the promoters and HBO made it out to be a supershow.
- Devon Alexander was going to lose to someone, sometime. His poor performance last August against Andriy Kotelnik probably sped up the process of signing him up to fight Bradley.
- The promoters chose quite possibly the absolute worst possible venue for the fight when they picked the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan. We're talking about an outdated venue that nobody goes to except monster truck fans, which is cavernous and was not possibly going to sell many tickets, in a metropolitan area that (A) is broke and (B) doesn't much care about boxing anymore. The only city for that fight was St. Louis or Las Vegas.
Lopez-Gamboa could have done very well in Puerto Rico, Vegas or New York any time Top Rank wanted to pull the trigger. HBO would have paid quite handsomely for it. Truthfully, it appears Top Rank just didn't want the fight as much as hardcore boxing fans did. But as Max Kellerman said the other day, real superfights make themselves. Lopez-Gamboa this year was not to be. And Bradley-Alexander was never going to be a true superfight. It's really just about the fighters, and the true fan demand.