Yuri Gamboa

Yuri Gamboa


San Francisco, CA– The boxing world, at least it’s knowledgeable fan base, want to see Yuri Gamboa face Juan Manuel Lopez. But will it ever happen? Boxing, both the sport and the business, do not have the balls that fighters from past eras have possessed. In his first professional run, Ray Leonard fought everybody in their prime, unlike Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao who both seem to only want to fight guys on the downside of their careers. The concept of fighting foes that don’t possess much of a threat, while this builds the pocketbooks of Floyd and Manny, it is indeed a pugilistic sin when you look at prior eras.

Juan Manuel Lopez

Juan Manuel Lopez


Lennox Lewis had beaten Riddick Bowe in the amateurs. When they were set to face off, Bowe flat out refused to fight Lewis, opting instead to face the likes of Jesse Ferguson. At one point, Lewis was the #1 WBC contender and was Riddick’s mandatory defense. Instead of manning up, Bowe, with manager Rock Newman standing next to him, threw the green WBC title belt in a garbage can. I always have had a problem wit that, partly because at the time, Bowe was the better professional while Lennox was still a little on the green side. It would have been the biggest heavyweight fight in the 1990s outside of a clash with the then incarcerated Mike Tyson.


In 1978, bantamweight (118 lbs.) champ Carlos Zarate feared no man. The Mexican bantamweight world champ was 52-0, 51 KOs, decided to move up and challenge 122 lb. king Wilfredo Gomez (21-0, 21 KOs). While it wasn’t the wisest move seeing he was stopped in five, you could never question the intestinal fortitude of Zarate in taking on his Puerto Rican rival. Before he got hurt, you didn’t have to force Ray Leonard’s hand to fight guys in their prime, as he went through unbeaten Wilfred Benitez, the once licked Roberto Duran, this before coming from behind to halt the undefeated Thomas Hearns in 14 rounds.


Manny Pacquiao made both Miguel Cotto and Antonio “The Cheat” Margarito fight him at unnatural weights that he and his promoter Bob Arum dictated. This sounds like the script that a faded Ray Leonard penned for guys like Donny Lalonde (1988) and the rematch with Thomas Hearns (1989, this after his retirement in 1982 due to a detached retina. Ray’s initial comeback was in 1984 when he faced Kevin Howard with “thumbless” gloves. Three years later, Leonard came back and beat up and old, slow and past his prime Marvin Hagler, a man whose age has always been of question for those of us that have been around the game a while. After the Hagler fight in 1987, Ray played it real safe


That is the $64,000 question today in boxing, isn’t it? Cuba’s Yuri Gamboa is 20-0, 15 KOs, while Juan Manuel Lopez is 30-0. 27 KOs. Instead of making the fight, it appears the Puerto Rican Lopez is moving up to 130 lbs. Personally, I think this has a lot to do with the mainstream media not covering boxing. For when you had boxing writers like Jack Fiske, Dick Young or Royce Feour, to name a few, fighters could and would feel the heat from these award winning scribes. Now with the Internet being boxing’s lone voice, everybody with a computer can be a boxing writer, thus the words written today mean far less than when the writers like the aforementioned trio were on top of their game.

Pedro Fernandez


  • Warren, there are some similarities with Hamed, but I get the feeling Gamboa has a better head on his shoulders, seems to be all business in there – no preocupation with theatrical enterances or sexually ambiguoud mannerisms. I’d still rather he was living in Germany than Florida, but thus far he seems to be handling it well and it;s quite possible he will maintain his focus and determination longer than the Hamed did.

    It’s true that Gamboa hasn;t been tested as well as Naseem yet. He has a little less 1 ounch power but the speed is there and I think he could – if needed – keep a better pace and flow than the Prince. I also think he may have a better chin (both are down often but Gamboa’s never really been hurt ).

    As for boing things all wrong, that may yet come back to hanunt him. However, I don;t see any Barrera or Morales level Featherweights around the corner any time soon. Also, lets not forget that another athletic phenom by the name of Manny Pacquiao who did a bunch of things “wrong” completely erased Barrera & Morales and established himself as THE definitive 126/130 guy of the post-Nelson era … the textbook is right 9 times out of 10 but there are always special exceptions….

  • Gamboa reminds me of Naseem Hamed. He fights wrong in so many ways. JMM and Barrera would have, in their day, taken him apart.

  • I posted last year that I didn’t believe Gamboa-Lopez would happen as long as Arum could prevent it. I think Arum and his advisors don’t believe Lopez can deal with Gamboa and so unless Lopez ceases to be a marketable comodity (by losing badly to someone else) he will be kept away from Gamboa for business reasons.

    Props to Gamboa for the loaded statements in the post fight interview. Really challenged Lopez pride. You can bet that if Lopez wasn’t lobbying Arum hard enough for this fight, he certainly will be now. Remains to be seen if Arum gives in to the pressure.

    Top Rank is not “building the fight”. Gamboa-Lopez will never be bigger than it is now. All other opponents at 126 & 130 are NOBODIES. Any chance of a Plan B went down the drain after the Caballero-Litzau fight. Chris John is a worthy opponent but not one that is widely recognized let alone cared about. Therefore, further “interim” fights can not further build up either man. In fact they are only an opportunity to have an off night against a lesser fighter and lose lusture, as Caballero did.

    So it is simply a case of steering Lopez away from Gamboa, as Lopez is the more valuable commodity. For various reasons, the Cuban guys just don’t resonate beyond the Cuban exile market, the general public gives them grudging respect but don’t really care about them. Gamboa might be able to change that, but only by winning MULTIPLE superfights, against Lopez AND eventually the unified Banthamweight champion (Donaire) or a rehabilitaded Linares (provided Linares can even fight at 130 12 months from now). But this is an ambitious project, it is much easier and safer to protect and sell Lopez for a while longer.

  • Tony, that’s absolutely what happened.

  • Ron:
    Maybe the South African group agreed to all of Mayweather’s stipulations and all of a sudden Mayweather found himself with nowhere to run. So he upped the ante to $100M.

  • Boxing fans are sick of arguing about who is ducking whom. Juanma and Gamboa must fight before one of them moves out of the featherweight division. If it doesn’t happen they are both cherrypickers and both deserve ridicule.

  • Pete the Sneak:

    I agree with you about Nick Charles. I also thought that Bob Papa was eulogizing Nick there for a minute, but when he came on camera I was relieved. I thought I was watching Showtime as my mind couldn’t associate HBO with Nick Charles for a moment. Nick looks rough but he’s still fighting the fight. Kudos to HBO for showing some class by allowing Nick Charles to do his thing.

  • I think by Juan Ma going up in that ring and how relaxed he looked he is not scared of Gamboa…Bob Arum is proably pissed he went in that ring because they agreed to fight after Juan Ma and Salido fight its going to be interesting to see how this plays out because we have two top fighters who seem to be more than willing to fight each other but we have a promoter who wants to build this fight up as a major event…hopefully Juanma has a great showing and we get that fight this year.I am more hopeful of this one than Manny and Floyd!

  • Lennox Lewis “priced himself out” of fighting Riddick Bowe then turned down a $10 million payday in 1995 to again face Bowe,Lewis turned down career high paydays his entire career to avoid all the top fighters like Tyson in 1996, Jones Jr. in 2002, Hide in 96, Vitali in 2004 as well as Lewis being the only champion in history to be stripped of every belt for refusing to fight the No1 contenders John Ruiz, Chris Byrd & Vitali Klitschko.

  • Pedro Fernandez

    Not in recent times. He had a year off. He had been making 147 by dying, not dieting. The fight was for the WBC 154 lb. title, not the 150 lb, title which doesn’t exist!

  • Dynce,

    Yo hit the nail on the head, it’s the Boobfather’s fault. However, JuanMa should remind Arum, that Arum works for him (JuanMa). We’ve seen too many Top Rank fighters allow themselves to be strung along, and coerced into giving in to Arum’s Fighter of the moment with catch-weights and the like.

    Tony has it wrong: “Why not fight guys on the downside of their careers so you can earn top dollar and top recognition. No, it doesn’t work that way.” – Yes, it does. A fighter’s fans will watch and Pay to witness their favorite fighter beat up on drained, small, and shot guys almost all the time.

    You’re right! Pac don’t duck, he just waits for Roach to pick ’em when they are shot, and have no chance of winning. Gamboa doesn’t have a built in fan base, because he’s from Cuba. He keeps KO’ing guys like that, and he’ll earn a huge following.


  • How is 150 an “unnatural weight” for Antonio Margarito? Almost all of his fights have been at a lower weight.

  • Speaking of Mayweather and Pacquiao, there is an article in the Phillipine Star, stating that Arum says that Mayweather will fight Pacquiao for $100 million dollars.

    “It’s not about Mayweather being afraid to box, it’s about him being afraid to lose,” said Arum. “I don’t know what his game is. But I think it’s not right that he jerked a group from South Africa around for 10 days then came up with a ridiculous amount for the fight with Manny”.

    I don’t know if it’s OK to post the link to the story but here it is:


  • Anyway, Gamboa has this nasty habit of rabbit punching, just like Ricky Hatton. He is boring to watch, no wonder he is a boxoffice dud!

  • Pedro Pacquiao ducked noone! You should be careful with your statements, Floyd Jr. ducked a lot, Cotto, Margarito, Pacquiao…to name a few…

  • I’m puerto rican and I’ll say that Lopez has no chance!!!! He will get beat to the punch every time, by a superior puncher. And I’m sick of these Pansy azz so called fighters today that run from their challenges instead of facing them. These promoters and pussy azz punks that call themselves fighter are what killed boxing. That’s why people are going to mma because they must face their biggest challenges. Lopez knows he must face gamboa. God willing these guys all grow some balls

  • If fighting is all about “having balls” then why not stand in front of each other and get a whack at each other until the other falls like the gladiators used to do!!!
    But that’s not it. Some people fancy boxing to see who’s got more balls. Others prefer styles. But I disagree with Pedro’s “unlike Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao who both seem to only want to fight guys on the downside of their careers”. If that’s what it takes to gain popularity and put hundreds of millions in your pocket, I don’t think fighters and promoters are not stupid enough NOT to take that course. Why not fight guys on the downside of their careers so you can earn top dollar and top recognition. No, it doesn’t work that way. It’s because they (Pacquiao and Mayweather) proved people wrong in their assessments.

  • Thanks Pedro!

  • Pedro Fernandez

    No, by the time Curry was in position, Ray had long left the welters.

  • Pedro, help me out here please. Wasn’t Leonard accused of ducking Donald Curry? I can’t remember anymore. I linked your article URL at another website and they are saying that. What really happened with Leonard and Curry, Pedro? Thank you!

  • No, the fight can happen tomorrow if the fighters understood that the promoters are working for them instead of thinking that they are working for the promoters.

  • I agree wholeheartedly with Dnyce. These promoters are the ones who are not banging down doors to make these type fights happen. Why risk having your star lose to a worthy challenger when you can make more money feeding these guys to less caliber opponents and then selling it to us as ‘Fights of the Year.’ Hey Pedro, what did you think of HBO having Nick Charles do a Cameo? It certainly elevated that Broadcast’s classiness over the roof as far as I’m concerned. Must admit, when Bob Papa was first making the introduction, I was scared for a moment thinking ‘oh no, did something happen to Nick? Is this a tribute to a fallen broadcasting colleague? Then when they presented him on the Broadcast, man none of the fights that night topped the excitement I felt when I saW Nick standing alongside Papa. Very cool indeed. Peace.

  • i think that fight will happen if juan ma wants they just need to keep winning and gamboas fan base to grow. another figther that played it safe roy jones jr untill the world found out what he already knew he has no chin.

  • Or your gonna end up losing fighters to your rival promoters for not getting them the fights they want like u did in losing nonito donair..im surprised that one hasnt given u a heart attack yet..lol

  • So more times then so its the promoters not the fighters who are scared.. They are greedy and want to keep there money generaters undefeated..bob arum your like 80 yrs old make these fights before u pass away, your already filthy rich..why die with all this greedyness n gold

  • Pedro Fernandez

    Well put Dnyce, thanks!

  • Well i dont think juanma is scared of yuri, he showed that by going in to the ring after yuris fight n interupting his post fight interview..i think the bobfather is the one scared and doesnt want to put juanma in there with yuri cause he scared of his bigger cash cow losing the fight.. Cause juanma has a bigger following n generates more money of the 2 fighters

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