Unlike many in boxing, Freddie Roach has a hard time fudging his true opinions.
When the famed trainer was asked recently who he expects to have a more distinguished pro career — the gritty East Los Angeles prospect Frankie Gomez or the more publicized two-time Chinese Olympic champion Zou Shiming — Roach picked Gomez.
While flyweight Shiming is already drawing capacity crowds for main events in Macao, China, televised by HBO, light-welterweight Gomez (17-0, 13 knockouts) has taken the less glamorous path.
He’ll get a lower-key main event Friday night when he meets Florida’s Vernon Paris (28-1, 16 KOs) at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio. Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes will televise the bout at 8 p.m. Pacific.
Roach said Gomez, nicknamed “Pitbull,” has a nasty streak about him that can carry him through a bout’s toughest moments, complementing his power.
“I see a brand new, motivated, focused kid,” Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker Robert Diaz said, referring to how Gomez has rebounded from prior legal trouble. “We have one of the best 140-pounders in boxing, and tonight the world will begin seeing that. I see him passing this test with flying colors.
“You see so many talented fighters. They have to want it. Frankie’s actions speak volumes to us. As long as he keeps his head on, wow!”
Gomez, 22, is coming off a second-round knockout of Orlando Vazquez on April 26 at StubHub Center and he’s held his own in heated sparring sessions against Lucas Matthysse and Ruslan Provodnikov.