Frankie Gomez: ready for the next level against Humberto Soto
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Frankie Gomez has hung out in the shallow end of the junior welterweight division pool throughout his young career. However, it looks like the former amateur standout is going to be pushed out towards the deep end.
There is no denying Gomez (18-0, 13 knockouts) is a talented fighter, evidenced by a number of amateur awards before turning pro in April of 2010.
But could Gomez live up to the hype and high expectations Golden Boy Promotions has set out for him? Could he not just look good but defeat one of the better fighters at 140 pounds?
Many questions should be answered on May 9, when Gomez fights Humberto “Zorrita” Soto at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. The 10-round bout will precede the main event bout between Canelo Alvarez and James Kirkland.
Both bouts will be televised live on HBO’s “World Championship Boxing.”
It may look like a sink-or-swim scenario for Gomez. Could the 23-year-old handle himself and then some against a rugged and savvy veteran like Soto?
Gomez believes so.
“[Soto] is very experienced and you can’t count him out,” said Gomez at a press conference in Los Angeles late last week to formally announce the Soto fight. “I’m really excited to get back in there and show what I can do at the 140-pound weight class.”
There has never been any denying what Gomez can do in the ring but there incidents outside the ring that temporarily derailed his progress.
Gomez was arrested twice in Jan. of 2012, four days apart from one another. Gomez spent some time behind bars because of those incidents, which included possession of narcotics and outstanding warrants for failure to appear in court for traffic violations. Gomez went 11 months between fights but has moved on from this period of his life and is focused on his career, particularly Soto.
Oscar De La Hoya, whose Golden Boy banner promotes Gomez, believes the young fighter is a star in the making.
“We feel Frankie Gomez is a fighter who can not only make a huge impact in the sport but can do some big things inside the ring against great fighters,” said De La Hoya. “We believe in him; we are behind him 100 percent.
“The objective for Frankie and his team, along with us at Golden Boy, is to go up against all comers and challenge the very best. This is just the beginning with Frankie Gomez. He’s a young fighter who brings a lot to the table. What he brings to the table is excitement, punching power, not just aggressiveness, but [intelligence as well].”
Gomez resides in East Los Angeles, the same stomping grounds where De La Hoya grew up before reaching greatness by winning a gold medal at the 1992 Olympic Games and eventually numerous world titles as a pro.
While Gomez is more reserved and soft-spoken, De La Hoya sees many similarities between himself and Gomez (other than being Mexican-Americans).
“The hunger, the humility, the passion. I’ve seen all that when he’s sparring. When he’s fighting, there’s passion there. There’s fire. You don’t get that every day. There’s something special there. We want to guide him towards his goal as a world champion.”
“The fire to wanting to become champion. I had the fire and I can see that fire [in him].”
In one month’s time, the boxing world will see if Gomez can indeed hang with the big boys of the 140-pound division. Gomez has fought in 10-round bouts recently but those were against the likes of Lanard Lane and Vernon Paris. The Paris fight on July 25 was Gomez’s most recent bout.
Soto will present a difficult challenge for Gomez, having 75 professional fights and winning titles in three weight classes. But “Pitbull” believes he is more ready to face fighters the likes of Soto.
“[My goals] are to train hard and to win the fight.”
“I’m very excited to be fighting on May 9. It’s a dream come true.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Salazar also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing.