3 More Rounds

Gomez Returns to Where It All Started

Photos: Hoganphotos / GBP

Gomez Photos: Hoganphotos / GBP

Nearly 15 years into his professional career, former three-time title challenger Alfonso Gomez finds himself headlining a fight card to be televised by Fox Sports facing Yoshihiro Kamegai on somewhat familiar territory.

Friday’s fight will represent a homecoming of sorts for Gomez, who had his first glove-up affair in the pro ranks in the same arena where he will now headline what pundits are labeling a sleeper type bout that could bring unexpected action.

“Yeah, I remember that fight man,” said Gomez to 3MR when interviewed prior to Friday’s contest.

Gomez faced Pedro Antonio Ochoa at the Fantasy Springs Casino on May 19, 2001.

In Ochoa, he faced a fighter with six pro fights under his belt to his none, with Ochoa a hometown favorite and with Julio Diaz and Co. in his corner that night.

Despite the odds going into the Desert locale which has since become a hotbed for boxing, Gomez came out victorious after four rounds, albeit with a split decision nod with the scores of 36-38, 38-36 and 38-37.

“That’s my life; I’m always coming in the underdog.”

Gomez has notched himself a decent career since then, fighting against notable opponents including Arturo Gatti, Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez. Along the way Gomez was featured on the short-lived Contender series and has fought for titles on multiple occasions.

Remembering Gatti, Gomez spoke of his encounter with the since deceased fighter following their fight in Atlantic City and being very cordial, swapping pictures with each other’s family. In a radio interview conducted following that fight for Fight Net Radio, this writer spoke to Gomez, who said Gatti told him he was glad that Gomez was his last opponent, as ‘Thunder’ called it a career after their July 2007 fight in which Gomez notched a TKO win.

Gomez took on Miguel Cotto in a gallant effort against the Puerto Rican that was stopped after five rounds after suffering knockdowns in the second, third and fifth frames. In 2009 and 2010, Gomez notched wins over Jesus Soto Karass and Jose Luis Castillo.

The Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico native faced Alvarez in September 2011 and dealt with numerous injuries in the following years.

In July 2012 he dropped a ten-round decision to Shawn Porter in what he felt could have been a bit closer, if not a win in his favor.  Porter recently went five heats with one-day replacement opponent Erik Bone’ as a part of Spike TV’s inaugural boxing card last week.

“I was only two points off… It was a good back and forth fight,” said Gomez of the fight against Porter at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.

Once again, it was felt some cards may have been in Porter’s favor even prior to the fight, with an alliance to certain entities in boxing that would not have wanted to see Porter lose his undefeated status on his way up the boxing ladder.

Gomez took the loss in stride, noting that some decisions “come with the territory” of punching for pay.

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Sidelined a bit by injuries, but still doing work in the gym, 2013 was a non-fight year for the former title challenger. “I was perfecting my game, making my game better because I’ve already been proven for 10 years.” Gomez has nearly a decade and a half under his belt with a respectable 24-6-2 record, so hyperbole that is not.

Gomez stepped into the ring last in July 2014, coming off the canvas twice to grind out a decision nod against opponent Ed Paredes in Las Vegas and now finds himself up against Kamegai.

“It’s gonna be a war, people are going to be surprised,” said Gomez, who watched Kamegai’s fight against Robert Guerrero last year and described it as a barn burner and Fight of the Year candidate. A few delays in the fight being made has had Gomez ready for Kamegai as far back as November of last year, so the Mexican-American has had a Kamagai type mindset for some time now.

Photo: Ed Mulholland / Getty  Images

Kamegai looking to make his own statement (Photo: Ed Mulholland / Getty Images)

Gomez is an introspective type, stating he can see the fight play out in his head and the career trajectory he would like to take afterward, with a possible slot on the Canelo Alvarez/James Kirkland undercard on May 9 looming.

“You’re going to get a good fight when you put up a Samurai warrior in against a Mexican warrior.”

Gomez vs. Kamegai is live on Fox Sports on March 20 as the main event of a Golden Boy Promotions fight card with tickets starting at $25.

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