June 27th, 2014 By Kevin Perry
2004 GOLD MEDAL WINNER YURI GAMBOA FACES TERENCE CRAWFORD IN HIS HOMETOWN
Las Vegas, NV- Gaps of inactivity have hampered the ascension and career of former 126lb champion Yuriorkis Gamboa ( 23-0, 16 KOs). Now promoted by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, a superstar rapper and business entrepreneur, Gamboa faces his biggest test at 135lbs, WBO champion Terence Crawford (23-0, 16 KOs) on Saturday.
Both have identical records but took completely different paths to achieve success. Crawford is a native of Omaha, Nebraska, where the bout will take place live on HBO. The naturally bigger man has tested the waters at 140lbs in one of his biggest victories, a one-sided rout over tough journeyman Breidis Prescott (27-5, 20 KOs). He earned the title in his last effort, a decisive victory over Ricky Burns (23-3-1, 11 KOs), beating him in Burn’s home country of Scotland. Gamboa on the other hand has only had 2 fights in the two previous years .
IS GAMBOA STILL A GREAT TALENT?
Question marks remain as the Cuban amateur star was a monster at 126lbs. Ultra explosive, fast, dynamic and powerful are a few words to describe how he chose to go about his business. After stopping Jorge Solis (41-2-2 at the time) in 4 one sided rounds in 2011, Solis declared that Gamboa was the hardest puncher he had ever faced. That’s remarkable when you consider that he was stopped by Manny Pacquiao almost four years earlier when Manny was on his tear through the same division. If Gamboa can still crack at 135lbs, this bout becomes even more interesting.
SLIGHT EDGE GOES TO CRAWFORD
The Omaha native has battled a remarkable 8 times since 2011. On Saturday in the HBO main event he fights in front of his home crowd. Gamboa is shorter, and has yet to score a stoppage win above 126lbs. While Gamboa has the better pedigree and faced better opposition, much of that was at the lower weights. Can Gamboa overwhelm Crawford with his speed when he gets inside? Will he be able to get inside on a slick crafty boxer such as Crawford? Looks like a toss-up fight that goes to the cards with Crawford getting his hands raised. All of the intangibles appear to lean in his favor.
Mr Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org