By Chris Robinson
Former WBA featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa kept things moving Saturday night in Atlantic City, scoring a dominant, technical-decision over former champion Daniel Ponce De Leon. Gamboa won nearly every round all on three judges’ scorecards before seeing the fight stopped due to a nasty cut on De Leon’s forehead that was caused from an accidental clash of heads in the eighth.
Undefeated with a mark of 21-0 with 16 stoppages, there is no denying the striking talent that the explosive Cuban possesses, but he has shown weaknesses in previous fights that have had a long list of potential opponents eyeing his every move. Count in Miguel ‘Mikey’ Garcia as one of those with a vested interest in Gamboa.
“I saw it,” said Garcia, an undefeated featherweight from Oxnard, California, of Yuriorkis’ latest showcase. “Gamboa is very fast, we always knew that. People were saying that it wasn't as exciting as other fights but he had a different game plan coming into the fight. He just wanted to get the fight to go a few more rounds than his last fight, which I think was stopped in the fourth round against [Jorge] Solis. He just wanted to carry the fight longer and that’s what he did.”
With former WBO champion Juan Manuel Lopez’s upset loss to Orlando Salido earlier this year in Puerto Rico, Gamboa’s future in the featherweight class is now much more uncertain. After his victory this past weekend, the 29-year old told HBO’s Max Kellerman that he was done with business at 126 pounds and would instead prefer a lucrative showdown with Manny Pacquiao in the future.
Understandable aspirations for Gamboa but Garcia feels he still has matters to settle in his own weight class before venturing north.
“There are fights he could stay for at 126,” Garcia insisted. “He could fight Lopez, which is a big money fight that people were talking about, if he can rebound and win a world title. Maybe he could beat Salido again or Jhonny Gonzalez, a fellow champion. You also have the younger guys like myself and Gary Russell coming up. We haven’t really been proven against the top champions but our opportunity will come.”
And if that chance ever does come, what does Garcia feel he would bring to the table against the ultra-talented Gamboa?
“The way I fight, I am pretty calm and patient, but I work behind my jab [and] I have a good, strong right hand that I like to use. I am taller, have a height advantage, and a reach advantage over Gamboa. If I stay on the inside, he may be faster with his combinations but I would stay on the outside and try to carry the fight into the later rounds. He’s usually very explosive in the early rounds; he didn’t show it in this fight, but in previous fights he showed that he’s very explosive, very exciting, very fast for four rounds or so. But I think I would be able to carry it into the later rounds.”
It would be a very interesting fight in my opinion, but just like his style in the ring, Garcia is in no rush. The latest word has the 23-year old in line for an October 22nd appearance at the WaMu Theater inside of New York's Madison Square Garden on the undercard of Nonito Donaire’s return against Omar Narvaez.
“The latest that I know is that they already set up that date, to give me a spot on the Donaire card. But we don’t have any opponent signed yet or anything like that. Anything can happen in boxing but that’s the date they are giving me and hopefully we can get someone for that night.”