Media Interview with Featherweight Champion Yuriorkis Gamboa
WBA & IBF World Featherweight Champion Yuriorkis Gamboa
Manager Tony Gonzalez & Top Rank President Todd duBoef
March 24, 2011 Conference Call Transcript From Caesars Atlantic City
Todd duBoef: Gamboa’s team has been instrumental in moving Gamboa along, finding him the right fights against the right opponents. Top Rank has been working on his marketability over the past year and things have been going well and we are very happy to be on HBO this Saturday.
Tony Gonzalez: Gamboa began training nine weeks ago for this fight. The first portion began in Japan then he came back to Miami and finished his training there. We had a great camp and he is ready for Solis who is a very experienced fighter.
Todd duBoef: When you see Gamboa fight you see incredible natural ability that is very Roy Jonesesque. He has speed and power in both hands that are not seen too often in this sport. What he needs now is the ring experience. We are also working on his marketability. People need to see him fight more often and need to see him out there more often. Not just to show the great gifts that he has but to show them against tough competition and that’s how guys get known. Those performances are what will captivate the consumers, fight fans and the media.
GAMBOA: Fight after fight I need to maintain my performances, keep winning and keep my undefeated record. Keep collecting belts as I have been and I will get to that status. On Saturday night I need to showcase my abilities and I will come out victorious.
Personally, I do try and win every fight by knockout. I know a knockout is something that everyone likes to see and it’s something that I shoot for but I won’t risk losing a fight trying to get one.
Juan Manuel Lopez fight?
GAMBOA: In reality I don’t feel rushed to make that fight. By the same token, there has been so much talk about me facing Juan Manuel Lopez and it hasn’t come to fruition. I don’t feel there is a need for so much talk if the fight isn’t going to happen. I want it to happen and I hope it happens but I don’t want to talk about something that won’t come through.
Worried about Solis’ height advantage?
GAMBOA: I have experience fighting guys that are taller than me, especially in my weight division. It is not something that I need to adjust to in training.
Why no rush to fight Lopez?
GAMBOA: I just think that JuanMa’s one of the champions in my division among others. They have created this expectation about a fight that has not happened after a year of talking about it. What I want to do is tend to my business and keep collecting belts, hope that it happens and if it doesn’t I just move on.
Todd duBoef: I wouldn’t say that it’s [Gamboa vs. Lopez] not on the radar. I would say that the business models around the two of them are separate and I think there is time to build the fight into a really big fight and the time both fighters will benefit from. How the fight happens so that we maximize the interest. We saw a recent fight between Alexander and Bradley that was a little early for it to happen. We all talk about when De La Hoya fought Trinidad that became captivated by everybody. I think there is something in between — to build up the marketability of both fighters — fighting good fights along the way and building up demand. I don’t think we do well with time lines, I think we do well building businesses around both fighters and when it’s ready to go, it’s ready to go. We have seen them both progress substantially over the past 12 months and their ratings have grown over both premium networks, and have seen interest grow from people in the community. Yuri got a late start and has moved rather quickly to a high level of fighting and he delivered. We have to take into consideration his marketability as he moves up.
People remember Solis fighting well against Pacquiao. Would an early stoppage be better for you?
GAMBOA: I don’t think it is a marker or any point of comparison. The fight happened awhile back and obviously Manny is a different fighter now than he was then. My fight with Solis I don’t think is an indicator of anything compared to his fight with Pacquiao.
Why train in Japan?
GAMBOA: We went there for a couple of weeks. It was something that my trainer had decided to do. We accomplished what we set out to do and we came back. We left well before the earthquake. It was specialized training that my trainer had set up in Japan and it could only be done there. There was no break in training at all during the trip back.
How has the adjustment process been moving from Cuba to the USA?
GAMBOA: It has one that I have been able to adapt to. In my boxing I have maintained training. What I learned in the Cuba school of boxing has helped me a lot and that is something that has helped me blend into the community in Miami. I love being here and the lifestyle is much better than what it was in Cuba.
(His father and brother are in the States also.)
It is something that is difficult, I still have a lot of family over there – my grandmother, my mom and aunts, brothers and sisters – it is something that I try not to dwell too much upon but knowing that in this situation I am doing all this for my family eases the pain.
I think the first group of defectors, Solis and Bartholemy paved the way for others to follow. Once we got here we have kept in touch but not as much as we would like to but we root each other on for our families.
Will Solis be the toughest opponent to date?
GAMBOA: I know he will be tough but I can’t say that he will be the toughest I have faced. Right now, pre-fight, I would have to say, no, but we’ll see how the fight progresses and I may have a better answer for you at the end. My toughest opponent to date was Marcos Ramirez (10/4/08) and the toughest fight I have been in was my last one against Orlando Salido.
Chris John & Hasegawa?
Todd duBoef: Both are well known in Asia. We have reached out to Chris John’s people numerous times to see about his availability. I know there is momentum building for him to stay home with his popularity in Indonesia – very Klitschkoesque – where we see them fighting out of Germany and Eastern Europe. I see that and the difficulty of bringing those guys over here to fight. I know they have a robust TV market. They are all opportunities but you never know how the timing is and the market is that they are in. Right now Chris John has no reason to come over here to fight any of the featherweights.
I don’t know if it would be right to send them over there. Our objective is to create more of an appeal over here. I think it would be difficult to get done with the time differences. Our job is to create the most interest and to put him in compelling fights.
GAMBOA: Those are names that people have mentioned of being the better ones in our division. I would never back down from anyone and would look forward to fighting either John or Hasegawa.
Tony Gonzlaez: Yuri’s trainer Salas and he have a long history. Salas trained Yuriorkis’ father. He saw Gamboa grow up. He has trained 11 world champions. Salas has been training 20 years outside of Cuba.
GAMBOA: Salas has brought a lot to the table and he knew my amateur background and that has helped me progress into the professional ranks. He has trained me for 13 professional fights.
Todd duBoef: I don’t think you can segment the Latin community into a Cotto or a Morales community. About 62% of the Latin community in the USA is of Mexican descent, a number which is drawn from percentage of American households. Americans have always embraced Cuban fighters, which is why we felt it important he fight the Mexican fighters which is why he fought Salido and now Solis. It’s difficult but we are trying to position him as an overall fighter such as Duran, even though he came from Panama, so I wouldn’t put him into a segment such as a Cotto or Lopez based segment. There are good Cuban communities in New Jersey and New York.
How was it fighting at Madison Square Garden?
GAMBOA: It was a wonderful opportunity for me to fight and walk through those doors at the Garden. Great champions have fought in front of huge audiences and it was the most exciting moment of my professional career.
The most exciting boxers today reside in the sport’s lighter weight divisions and Tomorrow! Saturday, March 26, in the Adrian Phillips Ballroom at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, four of them will take center stage and battle for titles in “Featherweight Fury!” Yuriorkis Gamboa will defend his World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight and International Boxing Federation (IBF) titles against interim WBA Super Featherweight Champion Jorge Solis and undefeated NABF & NABO champion Matt ‘Sharp Shooter’ Remillard of Manchester, Conn. will defend his featherweight titles against No. 1-ranked Mikey Garcia of Oxnard, California.
Featherweight Fury! is promoted by Top Rank, in association with Arena Box and Caesars Atlantic City. The Gamboa vs. Solis and Remillard vs. Garcia title fights will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast.)
Remaining tickets, priced at $200, $100, $50, are available at the Boardwalk Hall Box Office or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 736-1420 or online at ticketmaster.com.