ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It’s the prospect against the trial horse, the up-and-comer vs. the gatekeeper.
Is the kid kidding himself? Is the veteran washed up?
The concept is as old as boxing itself – so old, it’s almost a cliché.
Even so, the formula has been known to make some interesting fights.
Albuquerque Convention Center: Cristian Cabral vs. Joe Gomez, Victoria Cisneros vs. Kita Watkins, three other fights. Tickets: $25-$80, holdmyticket.com
On June 28, Albuquerque boxing fans will see if Cristian Cabral and Joe Gomez can produce some sparks.
Albuquerque’s Cabral, a 19-year-old welterweight (147 pounds) with six professional fights, is matched against Aztec’s Gomez, a 28-year-old with 26 pro matches, in the main event of a five-bout card that night at the Albuquerque Convention Center.
Gomez (18-7-1, eight knockouts) made his professional debut when Cabral was 10 years old. He has fought 139 rounds to Cabral’s 24.
“It really doesn’t bother me,” Cabral (5-0-1) said at a Wednesday news conference at the Convention Center, when asked about Gomez’s vast experience advantage. “I’ve sparred with some other guys that have more experience. I’ve sparred (with Albuquerque’s) Fidel Maldonado. … I’ve been doing pretty good with him, so I’m not worried about it.
“… This is a big step up for me, and I’m ready for anything he’s gonna bring.”
It falls to trainer Ray Zamora, then, to do the worrying.
“I’m a little nervous about Joe Gomez,” Zamora said. “We have an excellent fight plan. I know how to beat him, but it’s a lot tougher doing it than just saying it.”
Still, Zamora said, Cabral is as prepared as he possibly could be.
“We’ve been doing two-a-days for three weeks, so Cristian’s ready,” he said. “If the fight was today, he could fight (Gomez) today.”
Recently, Cabral’s readiness had been brought into serious question. Last October, Cabral managed just a six-round majority draw against Michael Coca Gallegos, who entered with an 0-10 record.
“I wasn’t really prepared for Coca,” Cabral said Wednesday. “I wasn’t doing my work in the gym. That was just something that made me wake up and realize I had to push myself more, and that’s what I did.”
Zamora said he had a long talk with his young fighter after the Coca Gallegos bout.
“He was like, ‘What do you think?’ Zamora said. “I told him, ‘What I think is you were out of condition.'”
Some five months later, a better-prepared Cabral stepped into the ring with Albuquerque’s Donald Sanchez, who had defeated Coca Gallegos handily.
Cabral outboxed Sanchez en route to a victory by unanimous decision.
“I knew everybody was underestimating me against Donald, but I wasn’t worried about it,” Cabral said Wednesday. “… I just wanted to prove everybody wrong, and that’s what I did.”
Gomez, who didn’t attend Wednesday’s news conference, once had a record of 16-1-1 but has lost six of his last eight bouts.
ln his most recent fight (July 2012), Gomez lost by split decision to Albuquerque’s Josh Torres.