Making it through high school is a difficult enough task for most teenagers. Eddie Gomez is working his way through school like anyone else, but he has significant stresses outside school to worry about as well, like a budding professional boxing career.
As chronicled by the New York Daily News, Gomez turned professional during his junior year at JFK (N.Y.) High in the Bronx after fielding offers from nearly every major boxing promotion company in the business. He eventually signed with the Oscar De La Hoya-founded Golden Boy Promotions, and received a large enough signing bonus to buy a BMW to drive to school.
Five fights and four knockouts later, the now 18-year-old is finally scheduled to make his hometown debut on August 19, as part of Mexican television network TeleFutura's Solo Boxeo Tecate broadcast. If he wins, the junior middleweight could find himself on the undercard for a much bigger fight: The much ballyhooed Las Vegas bout between Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz on September 17.
Gomez's rapid rise up the boxing ranks has surprised some, though the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, Richard Schaefer, made it clear that he felt the high school senior's rise was just the beginning of what he could achieve.
"Once in a while you get a fighter who is the total package," Schaefer told the Daily News. "They have a great amateur background and the charisma to go with it. I believe that Eddie has all of these attributes, and I look at him as one of the best young prospects in boxing."
Of course, Gomez's continued move into the boxing hype stratosphere will rely on him racking up knockouts more than it will on his youthful exuberance and the boost he receives from being a part of the New York boxing scene.
All the while, many amateur boxing aficionados continue to voice their displeasure that Gomez chose to turn professional during his high school years rather than compete in the 2012 Olympics and the circuit of competitive tournaments that lead up to it.
For his part, Gomez is content with his decision, and excited about the future that lies ahead.
"When I turned pro, there were people who said, 'Oh Eddie, we need you,'" Gomez told the Daily News. "'New York doesn't really have anyone who can put us on the map right now.' That was after the [pro] contract had already been signed. I'm not turning back. They're not doing nothing for me. People are going to know me regardless [of the Olympics]. …
"I wanted to get paid for something that I'm good at. In the amateurs, I could be working hard to get a medal [in the Olympics] or breaking my body down for something I'm [not getting paid for]. It's all politics in the amateurs. Over here [in the pros], you make yourself the favorite."
At the moment, Gomez continues to be the favorite of nearly any fight he enters. However, Gomez might do well to heed a word of advice should he land that Las Vegas date in September: He should do his homework before the fight, because there are sure to be plenty of distractions afterward, win or lose.