By David P. Greisman and Ryan Songalia
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Yuriorkis Gamboa’s win over Jorge Solis wasn’t the one performance that justified his mystique, nor was it the one victory that solidified him as a top titleholder and a true talent.
Rather, it was just the latest in stellar performances showcasing what he is capable of doing – and how easily he can do it.
Gamboa demolished Solis, knocking him down five times and taking nary a solid shot in return en route to a fourth-round technical knockout victory Saturday night at the Adrian Phillips Ballroom at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Both featherweights came out cautiously in the first. Solis jabbed, looking for openings. Gamboa blocked Solis’ punches and threw an occasional shot, looking to see what his opponet was bringing.
This was the difference between the two. Before the bout even began, Solis already knew he was in for it.
By the time the first round was over, Gamboa knew that Solis was his for the taking.
Gamboa didn’t need a jab to create openings – not with his superlative speed, and not with the skills and ability honed over a long, illustrious amateur career.
His lead punch was a left hook, which was then followed by a right hand. One right hand landed with Solis near the ropes. It was followed with a left hook to the chin that sent Solis down for the first time of the evening.
It was very clear that it would not be the last.
The second knockdown actually shouldn’t have been ruled as such – later in the second round, Gamboa landed a right hand behind Solis’ head. Solis went to the canvas, and the referee wrongly called it a knockdown.
Gamboa returned to that combination again and again. And with an opponent vulnerable to those punches, Gamboa put himself into a higher gear, ensuring that Solis wouldn’t be able to handle him.
Then Gamboa – already a handful with what he was throwing – threw Solis for a loop.
Toward the end of the third round, he changed his combination up, leading with the right hand and then following with the left hook. Solis went down hard but rose, beating the count as the bell rang to call a close the stanza.
Solis went to his own corner, then walked to a neutral corner, seemingly seeking to shake off the damage.
The fourth round wouldn’t bring a respite.
Another left hook and right hand from Gamboa put Solis down in the opening minute. Solis looked at his corner and motioned toward them, as if to say that he was fine, that the fight should continue.
It wouldn’t continue much longer.
Gamboa hurt Solis with a right hand against the ropes, and then he followed with a blazing flurry of punches. None of those were of much consequence, but they served to overwhelm Solis to the point where the mat was the only refuge.
There, on the canvas, Solis shook his head. The fight was over.
“It’s terrible,” Solis (40-3-2, 29KO) said afterward. “He hits hard and is a great fighter. He hits behind the head, but he is a great fighter.”
Though Solis has held a sanctioning-body belt at 130 lb., he was far from a top-notch opponent. Nevertheless, the ease with which Gamboa (20-0, 16KO) blew threw him leads to speculation about how he will do against the best of the featherweights.
This was yet another fight that leaves boxing fans calling for a unification bout between two of the three best featherweights: Gamboa and Juan Manuel Lopez.
Lopez wants it.
“Of course I do,” said Lopez, who was in attendance. “The only thing I have to do is face [Orlando] Salido, but we can do it. I never said no. Gamboa never said no. So we have to do it.”
Gamboa likely wants it, too. But he also knows that he and Lopez share the same promoter, and so they will not fight until it is worth it to Top Rank to risk one of its investments.
“Top Rank is going to put that fight very far away or at a far distance because they know I will beat him,” Gamboa said afterward. “I want Chris John or anyone else in the 126 or 130 lb. division.”
John is the other top featherweight. A win over him would propel him even closer to a fight against Lopez. Those two victories wouldn’t just justify the mystique or solidify him as a top titleholder and a true talent.
They would confirm that Gamboa is special.
Garcia TKOs Remillard
For the first seven rounds, the battle of unbeaten featherweights Miguel Angel Garcia and Matt Remillard seemed destined to be the kind of match that only the truest of boxing fans could admire.
Both Garcia and Remillard were content to feel each other out in the opening rounds, with the typically aggressive Garcia successfully outboxing the pure boxer, Remillard.
Remillard was visibly frustrated by the subtle defense of Garcia, who was able to brush off the light blows that did breach his defense.
All of that changed in the eighth, when the 23-year from Oxnard, Calif. broke the fight open with a fight changing left hook from which Remillard, 24, of Manchester, Conn., never seemed to recover.
Garcia, whose trainer/brother is former world champion Roberto Garcia, continued to press his advantage in the ninth. Remillard, who was working with trainer Mike "Micky Red" Skowronski for the first time since splitting with John Scully, appeared to be mentally defeated as he collapsed from a series of blows.
Garcia scored a cleaner knockdown later in the round on a left hook that that caught Remillard's chin exposed in the air.
The ringside doctor appeared close to stopping the fight in Remillard's corner but opted to let the fight continue despite the absence of competition.
Remillard made one final stand before a right hand to the temple collapsed him for a third time in the 10th round. His corner made the right decision this time in not allowing Remillard out for the final rounds, even telling the fighter, “You can blame (us)” after informing the referee of their decision.
Garcia, now 25-0 (21 KO), punched his ticket to bigger paydays, with blockbuster names like Gamboa and Lopez making the featherweight division a good place to be.
Remillard drops to 23-1 (13 KO), suffering his first loss in what served as his debut under the Top Rank banner.
David P. Greisman and Ryan Songalia are members of the Boxing Writers Association of America.