COMMENTARY | Bob Arum, CEO of Top Rank Promotions, recently told the media that options for WBO welterweight titlist, Timothy Bradley, are still being discussed. However, Cuban Olympic gold medalist, Yuriorkis Gamboa, was the "top consideration" for a tentative March 16 date.
"The matchmakers are working on a sensational opponent. That fight is being negotiated, and hopefully, that will all fall into place," Arum told Lem Satterfield of RingTV.
From Top Rank's perspective, matching the former featherweight champ, just one fight removed from a fifteen-month layoff, against the welterweight titlist and former consensus junior welterweight champ, Bradley, is a stroke of pure genius.
For Gamboa's management crew of 50 Cent and the rest of the SMS Promotions brain trust, the idea makes no sense whatsoever and, perhaps, speaks to the complete lack of real world experience coming from the rapper's side of the negotiating table.
Gamboa's weak showing in a unanimous decision win over Michael Farenas on December's Pacquiao-Marquez undercard can be attributed to ring rust, but the spotty performance could also point to some real underlying issues that would make a move up beyond 130 lbs. not the smartest of decisions. Getting legitimately buzzed and sent to the canvas by a solid super featherweight doesn't bode well for his ability to take a solid punch from even a relatively light-hitting welterweight like Bradley. And, at 31 years of age, it's not likely that the mega-talented Gamboa will change his game enough to nullify the technical and mental errors that make him vulnerable to a big punch.
Aside from the folly of moving up three full weight classes to take on a fighter like Bradley, pushing Gamboa into this shot would be a ridiculously needless rolling of the dice for the upstart SMS Promotions. Just one bout into their business venture, they would be putting their marquee boxer into a risky fight as a heavy underdog when there are so many other opportunities for him at a more reasonable weight.
Gamboa was recently named no. 1 contender to Takashi Uchiyama's WBA super featherweight title and a bout with the undefeated Japanese world titlist could serve as a solid building block for bigger money fights down the line. Within the 126-130 lb. range there are also possible match-ups with Juan Manuel Lopez, Roman Martinez, Juan Carlos Salgado, and Mikey Garcia. Even with an eye on the 135 lb. division, there's the outside chance of a big ticket showdown with Adrien Broner or a shot at Ricky Burns if things go well at the lower weight.
But an immediate move up to 147 would be disastrous and would leave him with nowhere to go should he lose. Business-wise, it would be the equivalent of buying lottery scratch-offs with the family savings in hopes of falling into a fortune.
For Bob Arum, however, the bout makes infinite sense. It would give him a "name" opponent to face Bradley without risking a loss of the WBO welterweight title. Bradley plus the WBO belt equals a built-in promotional angle should Many Pacquiao decide to avenge his controversial decision loss to Bradley at some point down the line. Therefore, obviously, Arum would like to keep that title in "the family."
Best of all for Arum, he could showcase Bradley in a relatively big fight without risking a loss to one of his other talents. SMS Promotions would be taking all the risk of offering up their fighter. And even if Gamboa should somehow win, he'd likely have to turn around and once again fight on a Top Rank card as a hired hand since 50 Cent & Co. don't yet have the infrastructure to do their own shows.
So, in essence, if Bradley wins-- the ship keeps rolling. If Gamboa wins-- Arum still makes his money, plus he gets first dibs at having one of his other guys take the belt back.
If one didn't know better, you'd think Arum was playing 50 Cent for a sucker-- a rube in the big city of boxing. But, that couldn't be the case...right?
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
Lem Satterfield, Bradley-Gamboa considered, RingTV