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Gomez at Last Chance Saloon?

(Photo © Esther Lin, SHOWTIME)
(Photo © Esther Lin, SHOWTIME)

Since graduating from “The Contender” back in 2005, Alfonso Gomez has made a pretty nice living as a guy able to parlay that association- combined with his fan-friendly style- into some plum, high-paying assignments versus the likes of Arturo Gatti, Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez. Tonight at the HP Pavilion, he faces the undefeated Shawn Porter in the Showtime opener to main event Robert Guerrero vs. Selcuk Aydin (10 p.m., ET/PT). For Gomez to stay relevant, he doesn’t have to necessarily win but at least be competitive and hold his own.
A large part of getting bouts like this is to actually provide a good fight, not just serve as cannon fodder. And it’s one thing to get beaten decisively by a prime Cotto or a much bigger “Canelo” but a guy like Porter shouldn’t run you out of the ring.
“I really need to win this fight and I’m going into this fight with a lot of confidence that I’ve been in this game for a long time. I’ve had a lot of amateur fights- which I know Shawn Porter has had even more amateur fights- but in terms of professional, I’ve been there longer with bigger guys, better guys, champions, ex-champions and I think that’s what going to carry me through this fight,” said Gomez, who believes that while he’s been in deep with the very best this sport has to offer, Porter still hasn’t been allowed to drift from the shallow end of the pool.

Gomez believes his experience and seasoning will be a huge factor in this fight.

“Definitely, it’s the overall experience,” explained Gomez this past Tuesday before his final day at the Azteca Gym before flying to San Jose, “because in terms of technique and skill, Shawn Porter looks like he has a lot skill. He moves well; he throws punches, power punches and the power must be there since he has a lot of knockouts on his record.” Gomez’s scouting report of Porter: “He’s a very capable fighter; he reminds me a lot of Shane Mosley, the way he looks, the way he moves. But I’m not sure he’ll be able to accomplish what Shane Mosley has accomplished. On Saturday, it’s going to be something different. He’s going to be facing a fighter like he’s never faced before. The fighters he has faced, they are local fighters from Ohio, from Minnesota or whatever- but this time, he’s going to face a local fighter from Los Angeles and that’s a little tougher.”
Before this assignment, Gomez was slated to face another undefeated boxer in Jessie Vargas on the Floyd Mayweather-Cotto undercard on May 5th but had to pull out with back spasms. “Coming into this fight, that injury, it’s still there a little bit but it hasn’t prohibited me from moving in training, doing my thing and I know my body and I know myself and know my business. So that’s why I pulled out of the other fight but in this fight, I’m going in at 100 percent,” said Gomez, 23-5-2 (12).
Porter is a connected fighter given that he is advised by Al Haymon. Gomez understands how the deck is stacked against him. He wasn’t necessarily chosen to face Porter to beat him but really because he’d be a well-known notch on the belt. That said, Gomez, in addition to his experience, has a sense of urgency at the age of 31. Not old but certainly not young, either. But he believes that his career is far from over.
“It motivates me that Sergio Martinez, and you got all these fighters, Juan Manuel Marquez, 37, 38 years old, still headlining cards, winning fights and getting a lot of money. So that in itself motivates me to say that, ‘Hey, I’m 31, maybe I’m not really that old for boxing,’- since there are boxers older than me and still hitting it strong.”
This fight should be a good barometer of where Gomez stands in the sport. While a pretty good prospect, Porter is nowhere near the class of Cotto and not nearly as big and strong as Alvarez. His manager, Gary Gittelsohn, who has expertly guided Gomez to these big money opportunities, believes this fight will gauge just how much his fighter has left in the tank.
The manager says, “I think so; I definitely think Alfonso is getting an opportunity to fight at his natural weight and not at a weight above his natural weight class as he has in the past. He’s getting an opportunity on a grand showcase to fight a very well-regarded prospect/contender and Alfonso has to show that he has enough veteran experience to school this kid and if he doesn’t, I think it spells a new era for Alfonso.”
An era without boxing, perhaps?

“I think it’s hard to put things in black and white till we see what happens tomorrow night,” Gittelsohn clarified, “but Alfonso and I made a pact when we first got together that we would always be honest with each other and we would always do what was in his best interest and I certainly haven’t forgotten that pact on my end. We’ll see what happens tomorrow night. But if the wrong thing happens, I’ll have to reevaluate what that means for Alfonso’s future.”
Gomez admits, “This is make-or-break for me. Losing this fight, I’ll have to reevaluate what I have to do. Winning this fight probably gets me closer to another world title shot and there’s good champions out there. But like I said, I’m focused on Shawn Porter right now and he’s the only thing on my mind. I’m training hard for him. I look at my body; it’s there. My weight’s there, my stamina’s there. Now it’s just a matter of time; we’re on the countdown.”
You figure that Gomez will try and put the heat on Porter early and press the attack.
“Whatever tune they play, I’m going to dance to,” he says, “but more than anything, I’m going to try to set the pace in the fight definitely. Pressure him and show him right there from the beginning that he’s in there with a guy who really wants to win and really needs to win.”
Orlando Salido also fights on Saturday night in Mexico ( The question is, will it be televised in the States? I’m told that TV Azteca will be doing the broadcast but I got this email from a reader named Carlos:
Steve, TV Azteca and Azteca America are two different channels (owned by the same network). TV Azteca is in Mexico and Azteca America is in the US.  So the Salido fight will most definitely be shown on TV Azteca; it’s just that TV Azteca isn’t available in the US (for the most part). Now if they said it would be available on Azteca America, then we’re on!!
Carlos, thanks for the clarification. Let’s cross our fingers.
And here’s another email:
Hey Steve,
What’s up dude? I just read your article on Salido & had a comment on some of the other things mentioned in the article, particularly about the Barclay’s card featuring Danny Garcia vs Morales. I agree with you too, I assumed Zab Judah would be the natural pick for this fight- being that super is a Brooklynite & both guys hail from the east coast, & him also being an available jr welterweight with a recognizable name . Would’ve been far more fitting for that venue. Anyways, I was reading the experts picks for the Guerrero vs Aydin fight & didn’t see yours. Just wondering who you were going with? A lot of people pick Guerrero ( as did I – won’t lie), but Aydin from what I’ve seen looks like more than just dangerous foe for a guy to move up a few weight classes to fight. He looks he punches concrete to train  & breaks it. Robert seems far more technically sound & the reach is an advantage but will he be able to keep this bull from goring for the entire fight without getting into some dangerous exchanges? That’s certainly not a certainty. I’m sure your slammed with emails from other boxing junkies, just curious to hear your thoughts. Maxboxing is an awesome site, been reading for years & will. Later bro.
Lui Mendoza
Lui, thanks for reading and your comments. Yeah, regarding the Barclays Center situation, I’ll have more to say about that in my “15 Rounds” column on Monday. As for this weekend’s fight, I think the Showtime card will be fun and provide some good entertainment.
My pick on “TNR” was Guerrero over Aydin but I think this is a real competitive match-up and I’m waffling on my selection. Bottom line, “The Ghost” has to control distance and range (something he hasn’t always done well) and keep the fight outside. If not, I think it’s Aydin’s to lose. Remember, while he has home-canvas advantage, Guerrero has not fought since April of last year and he’s moving up two full weight classes. And I think Gomez will really test Porter, who’s been very inactive recently and, quite frankly, has struggled against lesser guys.
Altogether, I think this card will be much better than what HBO broadcasted last week in Cincy.
Gittelsohn says he still plans on moving ahead with Brian Viloria’s fight against Hernan Marquez and the bout between Roman Gonzalez and Donnie Nietes on September 29th, even if the premium cable networks pass on it...I’m gonna be honest; I will watch very little of the boxing in the Olympics. Why? Well, Pernell Whitaker and Meldrick Taylor aren’t walking through that door and, quite frankly, amateur boxing has become unwatchable to these eyes...Guerrero and Aydin had a bit of mini-scuffle at their weigh-in: and then they traded jabs on Twitter...Really enjoying “The Franchise” on the Miami Marlins on Showtime. Can’t lie, I can watch Ozzie Guillen all day...I can be reached at and I tweet at We also have a Facebook fan page at

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