By Jake Donovan
Terence Crawford makes the first defense of his lightweight title versus unbeaten challenger Yuriorkis Gamboa in what serves as the first title fight for the Nebraska city of Omaha in more than 40 years. It's only fitting that such a unique experience comes with a fresh set of officials for both fighters involved.
Veteran referee Geno Rodriguez has been tabbed as the third man for Saturday's headliner at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, which will air live on HBO. The three ringside judges will be Levi Martinez, Dennis Nelson and Robert Hecko. All four officials are from the United States, and will be working their first fight involving either fighter.
Crawford (23-0, 16KO) had to cross the Atlantic in order to capture his first major title, scoring a well-earned split decision over Ricky Burns this past March on the road in Glasgow. Saturday's title fight marks his first pro fight in his hometown, and just his second overall fight in Nebraska.
Gamboa (23-0, 16KO) hits the road for a shot at becoming a titlist in his second weight class, but quite frankly has to be content with fighting anywhere these days. A 2004 Olympic Gold medalist for Cuba who now lives in Miami, the extraordinarily talented boxer has been plagued by ring activity in recent years after such an aggressive start to his career.
His title challenge on Saturday comes 55 weeks after his last ring appearance, a points win over Darleys Perez last June on HBO. The 32-year old previoulsy served as a featherweight titlist, but has only fought just twice in the past 33 months heading into this weekend.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox