Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa will always be linked in my mind. Both came up as Top Rank prospects, and they were going to have a big fight together if they managed to be undefeated. The dream of that super fight took a major hit last year when Juan Manuel Lopez lost to Orlando Salido. After that loss, Top Rank seemed to favor Yuriorkis Gamboa as their most-prized prospect. However, these two fighters might have switched places with the events that happened today.
[ Related: Gamboa No-Shows Rios Presser, Fight Likely Off ]
JuanMa spoke to Kevin Idec about the potential fight between Gamboa and Brandon Rios.
"I think [Gamboa] going up to 135 is not a real smart thing to do. I think there's a lot of good fights here at 126 that he could've done. I think he's making a mistake by going up there. I know Rios has problems making 135, and that's what they're hoping, that he kills himself to make that weight. But at the end of the day, he's just a bigger, stronger guy and I don't think it's so smart to jump up to that division."
I agree with Lopez, that taking on Rios at 135 had huge risks, but it also had a huge upside as well. If he would have won the fight, Gamboa would have been on most people's pound-for-pound lists, and he would have solidified his position as a must see fighter.
Later in the interview, Lopez said that he eventually wanted to fight Gamboa. It seems that he might need to wait a good amount of time before that fight even becomes a possibility. If Gamboa leaves Top Rank, then the only way that fight could happen is if Lopez eventually left Top Rank as well. I guess this matchup will be remembered as just another potential big fight that simmered for too long.