A fit, motivated Frankie Gomez seems to be headed in the right direction
Friday’s eight-bout card from Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, will be streamed live on RingTVLive.com and The Ring TV channel on FilmOn.com beginning at 5:30 p.m. PT. It can also be viewed on Dish L.A. network channel 6, Sky Channel 237 in the UK, and on the Ring TV channel on Roku.
HOLLYWOOD, California – Frankie Gomez is one of the few fighters who can make news simply by doing what he’s supposed to do.
The moment “Pitbull” walked into the Wild Card Boxing Club for a media workout Tuesday afternoon he made a statement. What was so newsworthy? He appeared to be fit. His weight on Monday for his junior welterweight fight against Silverio Ortiz on Friday: 144 pounds, only four over the limit.
Yes,we’re talking bout Frankie Gomez, the same Frankie Gomez whose greatest opponent has been his own weakness for fattening foods, the same Gomez whose scheduled fight with Humberto Soto on HBO this past May was canceled because he came in 6-plus pounds overweight.
All parties agree that it’s much too early to raise Gomez’s hand in victory over his lack of discipline but they are optimistic. That includes Gomez, who said he uses any skepticism directed his way as “extra motivation.”
“He weighed 44 yesterday,” said Freddie Roach, Gomez’s trainer and proprietor of the Wild Card. “I’m really happy with that. I didn’t expect it. The last time the weight came off slower; this time it’s coming off quickly. I think he can be one of the best fighters in the world. He just needs that discipline.
“And I think he’s back on track. After this fight, I’m going to take him to camp with me and Manny (Pacquiao) in the Philippines. I think that’ll be really good for him.”
Gomez has never fully embraced a proper training regimen but the magnitude of his problem was never more apparent than when he started camp for the Soto fight. Roach barely recognized his fighter when he walked into the gym: “He weighed 180. I said, ‘What happened to you?'”
Gomez was able to whittle his weight down to just over 147 pounds, more than six over the agreed-upon limit of 141, and the fight was canceled after some discussion. He then came in 3-plus pounds overweight in his comeback fight against Jorge Silva in October. That was 15 months after he last fought, which gave him plenty of time to gain weight again.
Roach didn’t seem to be overly concerned with the latter misstep because “he got down as far as he could. It wasn’t easy.”
The goal now is to keep Gomez busy as he prepares for a possible shot at a world title later this year. So far so good.
Roach said Gomez hasn’t missed a day of training during this camp, a sign that things are moving in the right direction. And it would be difficult for Gomez to cheat. The trainer can view his gym on his smart phone even when he travels. “So I know he’s been here,” he said.
Even when Gomez is on his own, he said, he is starting to choose activities over food.
“If I’m not doing anything, I just want to eat,” he said. So when he gets an urge to open the fridge, “I work out. I start doing something, some activity, running or something.”
And he says with some pain that his diet has improved.
“I come from a big family and everybody is always eating,” he said. “I’m the only one who can’t eat. I’ve noticed that eating in a different way makes it a lot easier to lose weight. I feel a lot healthier, I feel better.
“I didn’t blow up as high. I’ve been 10, 15 pounds from my weight,” Gomez continued, adding that this is the first fight in long time for which he hasn’t experienced great stress over his weight.
If he beats Ortiz, a tough, one-time contender who is coming off consecutive losses, at Fantasy Springs Casino on Estrella TV, the next step will be that trip to the Philippines.
Roach said total immersion in what could be Pacquiao’s last training camp will keep Gomez focused on boxing and build upon what appear to be improved habits. Gomez will also help Pacquiao prepare for Tim Bradley, his opponent on April 9. Roach said Gomez and his superstar have engaged in some hellacious sparring sessions, one reason Roach thinks so highly of Gomez’s potential.
“I hesitate to bring him to the Philippines because he and Manny have wars every day,” Roach said. “Frankie is very competitive. That might not be what I’m looking for for Manny at this point in his career, going in with a guy like that. But if Manny wants to compete at a high level, he’s going to have to deal with guys like this.”
Someone asked Roach whether Gomez could beat a fighter of Pacquiao’s caliber?
“He’s getting close,” he said. “Frankie does well in the early rounds with Manny (in sparring). Manny does better in the later rounds because he has more experience and so forth but (Gomez) is very competitive at this point, yes.”
Gomez and his handlers, Roach and Golden Boy Promotions, have always set their sights high because of his obvious gifts. The native of East Los Angeles, the hometown of Oscar De La Hoya, has all the tools – skills, speed, power and a mean streak.
The only thing missing six years into his career is that discipline. Roach compared him to two fighters in that regard: Francisco Bojado, a gifted Angeleno who never accomplished much, and James Toney, a great talent who might’ve been one of the best who ever lived had he been able to control his eating.
Those comparisons aren’t lost on Gomez, who has one more thing going for him: He’s still young. He turns 24 on Thursday.
“I don’t want to be one of those guys,” he said. “I want to do whatever I can in the boxing game, get a couple of championships probably.”