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East L.A.'s Frankie Gomez ready to start campaign toward title shot

February 01, 2013|By Lance Pugmire
  • Oscar De La Hoya waves to a crowd before announcing his retirement from fighting on April 14, 2009.
Oscar De La Hoya waves to a crowd before announcing his retirement from fighting… (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)

Oscar De La Hoya said he has ordered his matchmaker to start intensifying the opposition for East Los Angeles boxing prospect Frankie Gomez.

“Without blowing smoke, he is the real deal and I want to start moving him faster than we have,” De La Hoya said.

Welterweight Gomez (14-0, 11 knockouts) will start the campaign Saturday night at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas, headlining a Fox Sports-televised card at 8 p.m. versus Philadelphia’s Lanard Lane (13-2, 8 KOs).

Gomez, 20, was out of action from December 2011 until November, due to what De La Hoya said were “personal problems, hanging with the wrong crowd, being a kid.

“When he came back to us, knocking on that door and saying he was ready to fight again, I knew he was serious, that he had learned his lesson. This kid has great potential.”

Gomez’s interest in the sport is visible in his training sessions at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood. He served as a sparring partner to Manny Pacquiao, and has scored a third-round technical knockout and first-round knockout in his two fights since returning.

“I want to work closely and pick his opponents to show us what he really has,” said De La Hoya. “We haven’t exposed him to the level I think he’s capable of beating, and I’m anxious to see him deal with that. This is the year.”

The Cosmopolitan card also includes 2004 Olympian Mickey Bey Jr. (18-0-1, 9 KOS) versus Robert Rodriguez (7-2) in a lightweight bout, and 2012 U.S. Olympian Joseph Diaz Jr. of South El Monte will have his second pro fight, against Puerto Rico’s Jose Ruiz (2-2) in a bantamweight bout.

Tickets range from $30-$80 and the venue could be packed given the fact it’s Super Bowl weekend in Las Vegas.

“The Cosmo is a great venue with a great vibe, the younger, middle-aged fight crowd in an intimate setting,” De La Hoya said.

De La Hoya expects the crowd to continue gravitating toward Diaz.

“I will look after him personally, this kid is the whole package – a great boxer loved by the girls,” De La Hoya said. “We feel we have the best young local boxing talent.”

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Lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter.com/latimespugmire

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