Alfonso Gomez says experience, not brawling, will beat Yoshihiro Kamegai
Have you ever seen Alfonso Gomez in a bad fight?
Win or lose, he has demonstrated a fan-friendly, aggressive style. But what if that version of Gomez has disappeared? Would a boxing version be equally entertaining, or would the right opponent drag out the “old” warrior in him?
Those questions could be answered on Friday night as Gomez faces Yoshihiro Kamegai in a 10-round bout at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif.
The bout will headline a “Golden Boy Live” card and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports Deportes at 11 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. PT.
Gomez (24-6-2, 12 KOs) has had a lot of highs and lows throughout his 14 years as a professional prizefighter. His name became well known to boxing fans when he appeared on “The Contender,” a reality series in 2004-05.
He also fought some of the bigger names in boxing, including Arturo Gatti, Miguel Cotto, Jesus Soto-Karass and Canelo Alvarez.
But Gomez has had to deal with recent out-of-ring issues. He withdrew from a few fights due to hand and elbow injuries, the most recent in 2013, when he had a fight lined up with Victor Ortiz.
“I took time off after the Canelo fight because of issues with my wrist and elbow,” Gomez told RingTV in a recent interview over the phone. “For the Ed Paredes fight (on July 9), I came in to the fight with a different mentality. I was smarter and efficient. I used my experience in that fight.”
Gomez using a more technical approach to each fight may sound puzzling, considering he typically uses his aggression and sheer will to overwhelm his opponents.
Then again, Gomez would like to continue fighting to support his family, which includes two children. To do that, he needed a new approach to his fight game.
“[Kamegai] is a warrior and gives it his all,” said Gomez, who fights under the Golden Boy Promotions banner. “He’s brave, packs a punch, and is relentless. He comes forward a lot.
“However, I have to take a different mentality for this fight. Ten years ago, I would’ve said, ‘Great. Bring it on.’ But I have to be smarter. I have to use the qualities I have, which is my experience. … We’re both warriors, but I have to put those advantages in my favor.”
The fame Gomez has received over the years in the ring has paid off. At 34, he is still a viable name in the sport, and though he may not have Father Time on his side he believes he is a legitimate contender at 147 pounds. The contract weight for the Kamegai fight is no more than 150 pounds.
Whether that will happen remains to be seen. Gomez is confident his new fighting style will produce wins in the future, including his fight against Kamegai.
But do not be surprised if Kamegai brings the “Aztec Warrior” out of Gomez. Maybe that could make Friday night’s fight very compelling to watch.
“I believe I have three, four, five, six years left in me. I’m going to squeeze as much as I can out of my career. As much as people have known me for my battles, I have to make him miss. I’m treating this as a business.
“I grew up in boxing and I was a warrior. I’d go in there and go all out. That’s changed.
“I just want to prove that you can still achieve your goals and my goals are winning a world title. I’m taking each fight step-by-step.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Salazar also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.