I’m not alone in following the career of gutsy Mexican Alfonso Gomez. His heart-warming willingness to face series favourite Peter Manfredo in the opening show of Contender 1 endeared the soft-featured Welterweight to millions around the world. It is that exposure that facilitated his own elevation to elite competition. Notoriety over achievement. Ticket sales over ability. But the difference with Gomez’s opportunity, as opposed to Manfredo’s against Calzaghe is, Gomez delivered. Those who saw him beat the bigger, more seasoned Manfredo weren’t surprised.
PRESS RELEASE: 19/07/07
Following his seventh round TKO of Arturo Gatti last weekend in Atlantic City , Alfonso Gomez shared his thoughts on the win, his opponent, and who he wants to face next. Gatti announced his retirement after the fight, which took place July 14 on HBO.
“I walked into the ring 100 percent confident due to my training,” Gomez said. “There have been times in the past when I have gone into the ring unsure about my preparation, but on this night I felt completely ready, both mentally and physically.”
Gomez’s skills, endurance, and discipline were honed during an 11-week training camp led by his father, Alfonso Gomez, Sr., who has trained him throughout his career, joined by veteran trainer Pepe Correa. The team’s winning strategy resulted in Gomez’s second seventh-round knockout in a row.
“I was able to execute our game plan perfectly,” Gomez said. “The strategy was to pressure him early and test his legs. Then, when he jabbed, I moved my head to the right and counterpunched, and since it was working nicely, I just kept at it.”
Instead, it was Gatti who was forced to make adjustments during the fight.
His original plan to box me wasn’t working, so within a few rounds he decided to bang with me. Gatti has good punching power, but he’s smaller, so when I saw he wasn’t hurting me, I went inside,” Gomez said. “Brawling didn’t work for him either. I was able to land punches while keeping him at bay, and that was what got him in the end.”
Gomez’s manager Gary Gittelsohn feels vindicated that his fighter was able to steal the show during his first appearance on HBO.
“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do and Alfonso seized the moment,” Gittelsohn said. “Alfonso was considered an underdog going into the fight, and there was no shortage of boxing pundits predicting a Gatti win against an overmatched reality star. Alfonso’s faith in his skills, coupled with determined preparation and sacrifice, resulted in a jaw-dropping knockout.”
While Gomez is enjoying his decisive victory in the most important fight of his career, it is slightly bittersweet due to his longstanding respect for his opponent. “I’ve only watched this fight once on TV since it happened, and that’s it for me. I won’t watch it again,” Gomez said. “I was doing my job, and it was either him or me. I got emotional when I heard about his retirement, and I want to say that I have nothing but admiration for Arturo and his legacy.”
As for what’s next, Gomez said, “Right now, I’m in a position where a lot of guys want to take a shot at me. I’m not calling anybody out, but I would like to face another up-and-comer who’s also looking for a world title and needs to be tested.”
Gomez continued, “One of the possibilities is Jesus Cesar Chavez, Jr. I think people would like to see Gomez vs. Chavez, Jr., especially if it were to take place here in Los Angeles , where we both have a large following.”