This Saturday’s HBO card from Montreal, Canada featured 2 fights in which the favorites both had something to prove coming into their respective fights. Yuriorkis Gamboa is only fighting for the 4th time in about 3 years, without a defining moment under his belt and “Bad” Chad Dawson was coming off a 10 round destruction at the hands of Andre Ward at 168 lbs., who was also on hand to call the fights.
In the first fight Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa took on Darelys Perez from Columbia, each fighter with an unblemished record. Perez held the advantage in height and reach 2 “, with both rehydrating up about 10 lbs at 144 and 143. Gamboa came out with much to prove after several lackluster fights and needing to secure his spot as a top contender and running out of time fulfill his potential promise, as he is now 31 years old. The first round started suspiciously for him and as Andre Ward was calling the round having gone to Perez, Gamboa knocked him down through his guard with a left in the closing moments, taking the round 10-8.
The next 2 rounds he closely won but seemed to be the aggressor throwing more punches, which was the case most of the fight as you can see below. While Gamboa threw almost double the punches, he wasn’t very effective only landing 16 more shots then Perez. The 4th round was Gamboa’s best and he dominated it connecting on 19 power shots to 2. From the 4th round on though Perez found his legs and was able to start timing Gamboa up. The rest of the fight was not very entertaining besides for the fact that Perez took enough rounds to have the final outcome be somewhat in doubt going into the championship rounds.
In the end the officials score it 116-111, 116-111, and 115-112. I was unimpressed with his performance and actually had the fight 114-113 for Gamboa myself. His knockdown in the first was more of strong punch/push down of Perez, and in the 11th round the Ref scored a possible knockdown of Gamboa as a slip. While his foot did slide on the canvas as shown on the replay, the force of a Perez left was the reason he went down I believe. In the end Gamboa preserved his undefeated record but it was another underwhelming effort that leaves ranking him as a top tier challenger in doubt despite his apparent talent.
Final Punch stats:
129 Landed 113
713 Thrown 365
18 % 31
Dawson vs. Stevenson
In the headliner Chad Dawson sought to redeem himself at 175 after dropping down to 168 to fight Andre Ward in Ward’s hometown of Oakland and getting dominated, AFTER calling him out and asking for the fight. This time he went into another fighter’s backyard in facing Adonis Stevenson. In the HBO pre-fight back-story, Dawson blamed going down in weight and being 9 lbs over the night before the weigh in for his horrible and non-inspiring performance. He then went on to say that none of his previous trainers were right for him, which included Floyd Mayweather Sr and Emmanuel Steward, both highly regarded trainers across the board. He came off as having lots of excuses for any past poor performance, but promised to come back and regain his form at 175. His quest did not last long as he was knocked out by Stevenson’s 3rd punch of the fight at the 1:16 mark, a vicious left under the ear that took Dawson’s equilibrium.
He was not able to recover and the fight was over. The win suddenly put’s Stevenson in line for multiple possibilities of big fights. He came up from 168 to fight at 175 and is able to challenge at both. He called for Bernard Hopkins as well as Andre Ward while sidestepping Max Kellerman’s question of whether he would fight one of his fellow Canadian’s. The win by Stevenson was with trainer “Sugar” Hill, who has filled the role of Emmanuel Steward at Kronk Gym. While I give credit to Chad for going into enemy territory to take fights, I’m curious to see what excuses Dawson has after this since he’s already thrown his old trainers under the bus and blamed going down in weight (which he asked for) as reasons for any hiccups in his career.
Overall on a night where to underperforming boxers had a chance to shine and push themselves to new heights and potential big fights and paydays, as well as help HBO regain some momentum after Mayweather’s and GBP move to Showtime, neither delivered, but at least Gamboa lives to fight another day with his undefeated record and maybe another shot at fulfilling his promise, but he is running out of time. On a side note, the fights on Showtime tonight featuring Angulo vs. Lara and Maidaina vs. Lopez were both action packed and hugely entertaining. Showtime and GBP once again came away winners with a better product tonight, but that’s another story for another day, but 2 networks competing to put on the best fights can only be good for boxing and us as fans.