Frankie Gomez was seen by many as a sure thing when he entered the pro ranks in 2010, an East LA kid who’d come up from a humble beginning and would transition to superstar pugilist, piling up titles and gaudy checks. It’s been a couple years, and the going has been a bit slower than some predicted. Critiques are floating around, from name writers, labeling him a disappointment.
But I will take the contrary viewpoint, and point out the Pitbull is just 22. I shudder to recall what I was doing at that age, and so I am not prone to be the judge-y sort, label a prospect who was “can’t miss” a bust when he’s just 22.
On Friday, we shall see who is more right, the labelers, or me, who thinks that a 22 year old who owns a fully functional set of traits which add up to make him a complete pro is the exception, not the rule.
Gomez, a Golden Boy boxer, will headline against Vernon Paris on a Fox Sports 1 card from Fantasy Springs in Indio, CA.
He will take his 17-0 mark in against the Michiganer Paris, who sports a 28-1 mark, with the sole blemish coming at the hands of Zab Judah in 2012.
Paris hasn’t been that busy since then, fighting twice in 2013 and not at all in 2014, but he seems like a step up. Is that right, Frankie? “I think it is a step up for me,” Gomez told me. “He fought Judah, it is a big step for me, but I’ve been training hard for this.”
In his last outing, Gomez, trained by Freddie Roach, beat 12-3-1 Orlando Vazquez in April (via KO2). He said that the Wild Card has been superb for him, as he gets different looks all the time and is able to test himself against all different styles. Gomez worked with Abel Sanchez, Gennady Golovkin's trainer, and learned a lot about defense, and moving his head more. With Roach, he’s learned to target more specifically, aim for the chin, dig to the body more, and pace himself, not expend excessive energy early on. He’s turning over his shots, stepping into punches more, and he’s thinking that’ll show against Paris. The vet is a slick fighter, who can whack you with counters, so Gomez said he won’t be over-aggressive. He’ll target the body, get the hands to drop, and then go up high, and head hunt later on. if and when he beats paris, he told me, he'd like one more fight to get some seasoning rounds, and then aim for a title crack; he's not particular who. "I'll fight anyone," he said.
His family labeled him “Pitbull” when he was younger as he was fascinated with that breed, and wore t-shirts advertising his fondess. But of late, he said, he’s become more of “The Patient Pitbull,” someone who will be more methodical when he senses a foe is weak. Yeah, I know, “The Patient Pitbull” doesn’t have such a fearsome ring, right? But I think it speaks to how he's acclimating more and more to the pro game....
Gomez said he isn’t bothered by the critiques from the naysayers who have never laced them up. He said he prefers to let his in ring actions speak loudest. Against Paris, Marvin Samodio will corner him, along with older brother Paul Gomez, with Roach being in NY with Glen Tapia, who's fighting on the Golovkin-Geale undercard at MSG.
Asked for a prediction, Gomez lived up to that “The Patient Pitbull” tag I slapped on him.
“You have to wait and see,” he said.