It has been a little over a year since Yuriorkis Gamboa (23-0, 16 knockouts) last entered the ring, earning a lackluster unanimous decision victory over Darleys Perez. Since then, Gamboa has spent most of his time pining for a shot at junior lightweight titlist, Mikey Garcia. After months of call-outs at both public events and over social media, a lawsuit with Top Rank appears to have grounded Garcia for the time being. With that fight falling through, Gamboa and his team decided to take on lightweight title-holder, Terence Crawford (23-0, 16 knockouts) in a bout set for June 28th in Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.
The public may disagree or even fail to notice the match-up, but for Gamboa this is a fight that only makes sense.
“ I think it’s the next best fight since the Garcia fight didn’t materialize, and yes, importance wise it is the next best fight.”
Although the match-up may lack the promotional draw that would come with the names “Garcia vs. Gamboa” being plastered on a poster, but it’s still an interesting style match-up between the two fighters. An even more important thing to note is that Crawford himself has spent his professional career at lightweight whereas this will be Gamboa’s second fight in the weight class. With size already being an apparent issue when comparing both fighters, some actually believe that Crawford poses more problems for Gamboa than even a fighter like Garcia could.
“ I think they are equal as far as talent level is concerned” , said Gamboa. “I don’t think that one fighter is necessarily better than the other. That being said, I think the importance and magnitude of this fight for me means a whole lot and it’s a great fight to take.”
As confident and appreciative Gamboa may seem with the match-up, it’s hard for one to ignore Gamboa’s in-ring performances as of late. Since a 2011 win over Daniel Ponce de Leon, Gamboa has only fought twice; earning criticism for lacking any of the energy and finishing power that was once synonymous with “El Ciclon de Guantanamo”. Even so, Gamboa is confident going into preparations for his bout with Crawford. When asked to identify his biggest strength going into the fight, Gamboa with a wry smile responded, “That I’m Yuriorkis Gamboa.”
As the days countdown and the betting lines shift, speculation will only grow as to which Gamboa will show up against Terence Crawford on June 28th. A win is a win, but Gamboa needs to win in a particularly dominant fashion. It will be then that fans remember him as “El Ciclon” rather than just another Cuban points fighters.