Yuriorkis “El Ciclon de Guantanamo” Gamboa finally entered the ring on Saturday, December 8, 2012 after a 15-month layoff due to contractual disagreements with Bob Arum‘s Top Rank Promotions. Gamboa’s new promoter is none-other than Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, rapper and entrepreneur. Yuriorkis Gamboa is from Guantanamo, Cuba but fights out of Miami, Florida with an unblemished record of 21-0, (16 KO’s). His opponent was Michael “Hammer Fist” Farenas, is a southpaw that fights out of Manila, Philippines with a record of 33-4-3-1 no contest, (25 KO’s). This bout was the co-main event on the undercard of Pacquiao/Marquez IV and was for the Interim WBA Super Featherweight World Title. The three judges at ring side were Richard Houck, Robert Hoyle and Glen Trowbridge. The third man in the ring was the notorious referee Tony Weeks.
Prior to the opening bell, the newly named promoter and rapper 50 Cent performed while being lowered down from the rafters of the MGM Grand and at the same time Gamboa made his ring entrance. As round 1 began Gamboa showed off his high caliber hand speed, landing fast left jabs along with crisp right hands. Farenas on the other hand spent the beginning of the fight doing his best to find his own rhythm, basically trying to feel out the former Cuban gold medalist.
After solidly winning round 1, Gamboa landed a short right hand that sent Farenas on his back side to the canvas with a thud. This was only the second time that Farenas has ever been down in his career. Farenas managed to get back up for he is one tough Filipino of many. As round 3 began, Gamboa threw a barrage of combinations and at times he seemed rusty, he has been out of the ring for over15-months. A lot of Gamboa’s punches landed, some grazed and others missed wildly, in the exact same round there were two vexing head bunts in which Farenas was the ill-fated participant leaving cuts over both of his eyes. Farenas muddled through and uninterruptedly kept throwing those huge left hands known as hammers. Gamboa definitely dictated, never the less Farenas showed heart and that he wasn’t going anywhere, he proved to be a very tough foe.
The fight pretty much continued in the same fashion, Gamboa utilizing his speed, power and foot work, very reminiscent of ex-world champion and current HBO analyst Roy Jones, Jr. in his prime, excluding a lot of the shots landed by Farenas, for Jones was a great deal harder to hit than that of Gamboa. Furthermore, Farenas also did the same in throwing ferocious lefts and a body shot every so often trying to slow down the constant movement of Gamboa.
Gamboa pressed the action in round 5, feeling he had Farenas hurt against the ropes, throwing another desolate combo leaving himself vulnerable to a stiff left hand which stunned and dropped Yuriorkis to one knee for the sixth time in his career. Gamboa is known for hitting the canvas in a few of his bouts. It seems that it is the focal point, but in my opinion it seems that Gamboa constantly gets up, dusts himself off, recovers and even more importantly, wins which is what happened here.
He got to his feet immediately and held on for he is intelligent and identifies with Michael Farenas’s power, hence gets out of the round with a small cut to his left eye.
In round 7, Gamboa did accomplish once again sending Farenas to the mat with a stiff right hand, as we knew he would the immensely tough Filipino climbed to his feet to continue the affair. From here on out, Gamboa was more guarded and alert for the remainder of the bout due to the force of Farenas’s punches. The fight was a hard fought fight that concluded in the judge’s possession.
I deemed this was a very vigorous fight, where the old saying, “styles make fights” really came into play. You had a southpaw with little speed, yet had thunder in his gloves in Farenas. On the other hand you had a boxer in Gamboa; well more of a puncher to say the least who had all the components needed to develop a world champion. After the three judges rendered their decisions, that was exactly the case. Gamboa was the new interim WBA Super Featherweight world champion.
I actually scored the fight 117-108 for Yuriorkis Gamboa who proved to be too much of a “ciclon” for Michael Farenas. I personally can’t wait to see Yuriorkis fight again, with him in the picture there are many match ups for him, even in other weight classes simply because Yuriorkis weighed in at 130 lbs. but entered the ring at 148 lbs. I estimate that if he can make 130 lbs. and blow back up to 148 lbs., and still look as good as he did the opportunities are endless.