Alfonso Gomez Regroups
By Steve Kim, MaxBoxing (May 19, 2011) Doghouse Boxing
Alfonso Gomez
Late last year, Alfonso Gomez was in line to face Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. It was a fight that Gomez had yearned for. Junior's father, the great “JC Superstar,” had been Gomez’s idol and he salivated at the opportunity to face his son. Gomez- who returns this Saturday night at the Morongo Casino in Cabazon, California versus Calvin Green- was willing to give up significant advantages in size and weight to make this fight a reality. He gave up every major concession to make this happen.  

There was one problem- a bum left elbow was simply too much of a hindrance to Gomez, who was eventually pulled from the show (which nearly blew up when Chavez came down with a mysterious case of the flu the week of the card and dropped out his bout against Pawel Wolak, who replaced Gomez).  

"I was disappointed when the doctor told me that there was a tear in the ligament of my elbow and my manager, Gary Gittelsohn, he just told me, 'You have to think about it; it's a very important fight. I don't want you to go handicapped. You're already going in with disadvantages like weight.' But I still wanted to fight. It was an important fight for me. Even with one hand, I knew I could beat this kid but the fact is I had to pull out because everyone insisted; it just seemed to be the most logical thing to do."  

It turns out this fight was just never meant to be.  

"After I pulled out, he pulls out with the flu," said Gomez, whose facial expression lets you know what he thought of Chavez's alibi. "So with that in mind, it just makes me feel that the fight wouldn't have materialized either way. It seemed more like a publicity stunt for people to say, 'Oh, yeah, he's finally going to fight, like a somebody who's going to give him a hard time' and that was about it. It was like publicity to me. So I pulled out; he pulled out. I pulled out with a legitimate excuse; he pulled out with some B.S."  

Gomez’s elbow injury was suffered early on in his training camp for that assignment. He says that during a sparring session, "I overextended my elbow and it hurt." As the pain and discomfort lingered for over a month, the plug was finally pulled. "I couldn't work through it," said Gomez, who said he struggled mightily with even novice sparring partners during this ordeal. What was prescribed was rest and then eventually, physical therapy.  

The reality is that this was going to be his one and only chance to ever face Chavez Jr., who on June 4th, is facing Sebastian Zbik for the WBC middleweight title and Gomez is going back down to welterweight, where he belongs. It made the decision to scrap the fight all the more agonizing.

"It did," said Gittelsohn, "Chavez has a name and he's got a promotional push that Alfonso isn't the beneficiary of, unfortunately. So we had been chasing Chavez Jr. for several years. He was the guy that Alfonso would wake up and look in the mirror at, with the possibility of fighting, everyday for a couple of years now. So when the day finally came and then we were all very excited about it, even though by that time, Alfonso was an underdog, physically, because Chavez Jr. had continued to grow and Alfonso, if anything, had always been fighting above his natural weight. We still felt it was a great fight, a great opportunity for Alfonso."

Now that Gomez is going back down to 147 pounds, Gittelsohn told Maxboxing, "I think Alfonso is a welterweight. In an effort to get opportunities, starting with 'The Contender,' he always fought above his weight. He even fought at 160 on 'The Contender' against the likes of Sergio Mora and Peter Manfredo Jr. and all those other guys but he's really a welterweight and that's where his strength is. And if he continues to campaign at that weight, I think he's strong at that weight. I think he's developed very good boxing and slugging skills at that weight. If he's successful on Saturday, I believe we have some big-name opportunities out there."  

However, there was one problem; while the contracted weight for his face-off with Chavez was 157 pounds, in the subsequent months, Gomez was much closer to around 197 pounds by February and March. Yeah, that part about him getting a lot of rest, was certainly taken to heart.   "Oh, yeah, I really enjoyed my vacation; I'll tell you what," Gomez said, laughing loudly, not denying that he was rather rotund just a few short months ago. "Definitely, I put on some weight, I guess. And more importantly, I just relaxed. I ate everything I could and laid in bed as long as I could- I hibernated."  

The weight for Green is 150 pounds. If you saw Gomez after his workout at the Maywood Boxing Club last week, you would have seen that he will have no problems at the scales.  

From his run on the NBC reality show to gaining enough notoriety to face the likes of Arturo Gatti and Miguel Cotto, Gomez has had a colorful career. When you ask him about its final chapters, he says incredulously, "Final chapters?! Man, I'm barely starting. I know I'm 30 years old but I'm so motivated and so I feel this is my second wind in my career. At one point, I did think, 'Man, this is my last fight' because of injuries and mentally, I was down. All those cobwebs in my head but now, I've cleared that out; I feel so refreshed. I feel so motivated. I feel young again and I know this fight with Green, I'm going to show that I'm ready to keep going, two or three fights, I know I'm going to get a big fight."  

However, he's resigned to the fact that the Chavez book is closed for good.

"Oh, that's a fact; I'm never going to face him. He's just up there at 160; they're taking good care of him. He's never going to go down to 154 and I'm going to settle in at 147 right now. That's my weight."

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