By Keith Idec
Knee replacement surgery last week will leave Bob Arum to watch the Terrence Crawford-Yuriorkis Gamboa fight from a comfortable chair Saturday night, far away from Omaha, Neb.
The polarizing promoter is still very eager to tune in to HBO to watch Crawford make the first defense of his WBO lightweight title.
“The thing I like about this fight is this is not just a title defense or an appearance fight,” Arum said. “This is the best two lightweights in the world. I think it’s a tremendous fight. I like Crawford’s chances. A lot of people like Gamboa’s chances. It’s a real, real fight.”
Arum’s Top Rank Inc. promotes Crawford, who is on the cusp of breaking through as a legitimate gate attraction in Omaha, his hometown.
“I was very impressed with Crawford against Ricky Burns,” Arum said of Crawford’s title-winning performance, a unanimous-decision defeat of Scotland’s Burns (36-4-1, 11 KOs) on March 1 in Glasgow. “And I was impressed with him when we had that fallout on the card last year and we needed to find a guy to go on HBO against [Breidis] Prescott. I pushed for this guy because I realized he has a lot of talent. So far he has come through tremendously. He is really a talented, talented young man. From all I can see about him, he has great, great Midwestern sensibilities and habits.”
Crawford (23-0, 16 KOs) is a slight favorite, presumably because he is bigger and has a perceived hometown advantage over Gamboa (23-0, 16 KOs), a Cuban-born Miami resident promoted by rapper/actor 50 Cent.
Russia’s Matt Korobov (23-0, 14 KOs) and Venezuela’s Jose Uzcategui (22-0, 18 KOs) will square off in the opener of HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” doubleheader Saturday night (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.