Alfonso Gomez ready for Gatti

By Brad Cooney


Alfonso Gomez ready for Gatti

Alfonso Gomez, best known for appearing on the first season of The Contender reality show, is winding down camp and has his sights aimed at the legendary Arturo Gatti. Their fight is scheduled for July 14, 2007 at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Gomez sat down with Boxingtalk to give us an update on his camp - and discuss what is no doubt the biggest fight of his career so far.

BC - Camp is winding down. How has it gone for you in preparation for Arturo Gatti?
AG - Camp has gone great, I started camp 11 weeks ago so this has been the longest camp for me so far. This camp has been the most grueling, the longest, the most intense, and it should show up in the ring.

BC - What's the biggest difference in this camp as opposed to your previous ones?
AG - Well, it's just that we are taking this fight very serious. Not that I haven't taken my other fights serious, but I see this is as a make or break fight for me. After Peter Manfredo's performance and early stoppage, I have to show everybody that I am here to stay and that I deserve to be in the top rankings. My training has been me concentrating 100 percent. I am taking this camp very serious, and we know that Arturo Gatti is a dangerous fighter.

BC - Do you put much on your shoulders, having to prove the credibility of "The Contender" fighters?
AG - Nah, I don't put a lot on my shoulders as far as that goes. But what I did learn from Peter Manfredo's fight against Calzaghe is that I am going into Gatti's backyard, to his house, (with) referees that know him and judges that know him. I am going to have to put forth an extra effort to beat him.

BC - Peter didn't throw punches against Calzaghe and that's what really got him into trouble, I am guessing you will throw punches early.
AG - You can definitely count on me throwing punches, and I have worked on my stamina. I have fought middleweights that have gone up to super middleweights, and I have not been dropped or hurt. I think I can take Gatti's punches, but I don't plan on testing that. I will move my head and I will be working on my movement and jabs.

BC - I think that will be a big factor for you, because in earlier fights of yours you have been hit too much.
AG - Arturo has gone from almost being knocked out to knocking out his opponent with his power, so we are definitely working on my defense. Moving my head. Holding my hands up. So it should show in the fight.

BC - Do you think there is a misconception out there with Gatti? Gatti fought Mayweather in what was one of the worst style match-ups in years. Do you feel that because Gatti was beaten so soundly by Mayweather, that people may underestimate him?
AG - Definitely, a lot of people think Gatti is a shot fighter. He has lost some fights, but the people he has lost to are very, very good fighters. He has a lot of knockouts, a lot of victories, and has fought the best of the best. I know he will keep coming forward and he will  throw a lot of punches. But I am ready for that.

BC - You have the youth, and he has the experience. Which guy has the advantage here?
AG - He has more experience than me. He has fought the best in the world. I think he is hungry, but he has had the fame and the titles. I am the bigger man. I am hungrier and I am stronger. I think that is what will make me win this fight.

BC - What do you think Gatti's plan will be for you?
AG - From what I am hearing, he plans to box. They say he has learned a lot from Mayweather, so he may come and try to box me and use his legs. At the end of the day, you follow your heart. I have been sparring with both styles, come-forward guys and boxer-puncher guys. I have trained very hard for this. This is my time to shine, and there is no doubt about it.

BC - If you win this fight, your stock will go up quite a bit.
AG - I consider this my world championship fight. After "The Contender," I  have gotten the exposure, but now it's time for me to prove that I belong. This is my make or break fight. Winning this fight brings me so much closer to a world title, and the bigger paydays. This is my world title fight. This will take me there.

BC - You're going right into Gatti's backyard. Is there any concern if this fight goes to the cards?
AG - Well, there's always that concern. But, in my mind, I have to win every round convincingly. If they do take it away from me, for whatever reason, I will be in a better position to justify a rematch at a neutral venue. I plan on going in there and doing my thing, and hopefully stopping him. I want to be the one who determines the outcome of the fight.

BC - You might have a few of your fans in there, with your "Contender" fame.
AG - Well, I came out of "The Contender" with my family values, and I proved that I have a Gatti-like heart. I think I will have some fans in there. But we all know who will get the bigger cheer. (Laughs)

BC - Have you received some encouragement from Sugar Ray Leonard?
AG - Yes. Ray Leonard came into the gym a few times and watched me spar. He said that he was impressed with what I was doing in the ring.

BC - If this fight goes late, are you prepared to go 10 rounds against this guy?
AG - Well, the farthest I have been was 8 rounds, but I have been working and sparring for 10 rounds. It's not too different from 8 rounds. I have been improving my breathing, as well. I will see how much Gatti pressures me, and I plan on pressuring him as well.

BC - When you look at tape of Gatti, do you see many areas that you can exploit in the ring?
AG - Definitely, there are areas that everybody knows I am good at. I am working on things to attack, and my stamina, and other key things to bring me a victory.

BC - Do you have closing thoughts for your fans?
AG - Yes, I want to thank my fans. This is a dream come true, and I want to thank HBO, the Gatti camp (and) "The Contender" people. I have been a Gatti fan for a long time. I respect him and it's an honor to fight him. It's my dream to have a Fight of the Year, and it may just happen in this fight. Expect a full war come July 14th!


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