HOUSTON -- Frankie Gomez badly missed weight -- 6½ pounds over -- on Friday, leading to the cancellation of his junior welterweight fight with Humberto Soto on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.
Gomez and Soto were due to meet in the HBO-televised 10-round co-feature on the card headlined by former unified junior middleweight titlist Canelo Alvarez squaring off with brawler James Kirkland in a scheduled 12-round bout.
A 23-year-old former amateur star from East Los Angeles, Gomez had been given a prime slot for his HBO debut -- between HBO's tape-delayed coverage of last week's Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao megafight and the 2015 debut of Alvarez, Mexico's most popular fighter.
The fight with Soto, a former lightweight and junior lightweight world titleholder, was contracted at 141 pounds. However, Gomez was nowhere near weight when he arrived in Houston earlier this week -- a Golden Boy Promotions official estimated he was about 16 pounds overweight -- and Soto agreed to raise the contract limit to 145 on Friday. Yet when Gomez stepped on the scale, he was 147½ pounds. Soto weighed in at 142½, easily inside the renegotiated limit.
Golden Boy Promotions and HBO officials huddled to discuss their options. Soto was willing to go through with the fight as long as Gomez was willing to melt off a little more weight and agree to a weight check Saturday morning to make sure he didn't balloon up more than around 10 pounds. Soto would have also received a chunk of Gomez's purse.
However, Gomez's team said he could not lose anything else, and the fight was canceled.
"There's no fight. We're going to pull it," Golden Boy vice president Eric Gomez, no relation to Frankie, said in an impromptu address to a few media members at the weigh-in. "[Gomez] is not in condition to fight. Both fighters can get hurt. We're not doctors, but we don't want to take a risk. Frankie is in bad shape. He can't lose any more weight. Soto wants him to lose a little more. He can't do it. Frankie is dry."
The 24-year-old Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs) and Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs), 31, of Austin, Texas, both weighed in at 154½ for their bout, which was contracted at a maximum weight of 155.
Gomez's issues getting down in weight were not a surprise. Golden Boy officials knew he was heavy this week, and he skipped Thursday's final news conference to work out.
"We are very disgusted, very upset," Eric Gomez said. "This spot, this position in between those two fights, was a golden ticket. We could have put on any fighter we wanted. If we would've known two weeks ago that he was sick and not responsive, that he was really heavy and wasn't going to make weight, we would've considered maybe doing something else. We've got a lot of young prospects. We have at least 20 other fighters that would've killed to be in that spot."
Golden Boy has considered Gomez (18-0, 13 KOs), who is trained by Freddie Roach, one of its best up-and-coming fighters, but his future with the company is in jeopardy. He was paid a signing bonus of around $400,000 when he turned pro in 2010, and although he remains undefeated and few question his talent, he has drawn ire from the company for coming into fights in poor condition and not having a strong work ethic. He has also had legal problems and has not fought since July.
The fight with Soto, Gomez's biggest test as a pro, was supposed to be something of a coming-out party on a major HBO telecast.
Now he won't fight or be paid. Eric Gomez said Soto (65-8-2, 35 KOs), 34, of Mexico, also won't be paid but will be able to keep the five-figure advance he was paid on what would have been a $250,000 purse.
"The kid is very talented," Eric Gomez said of Frankie Gomez. "We're going to have to sit down with his team and decide what we want to do. [Golden Boy president] Oscar [De La Hoya] is upset. Frankie worked out all morning, but his body is not responding."
Gomez had two months to train and make weight.
"I feel bad for Soto. He worked hard," Eric Gomez said. "Soto was very disappointed, but he understood. Somebody has to be the adult in the room. We couldn't let this fight go on and risk one of these guys getting hurt because of [the weight situation]. We had to do the right thing."