HOLLYWOOD, Fla.—Yuriorkis Gamboa isn’t just here for a payday.
He’s here for the multitude of opportunities which currently exist in the lightweight division.
“This division is hot right now, it’s very hot,” Gamboa (30-3, 18KOs) told BoxingScene.com ahead of his next ring adventure.
The 2004 Olympic Gold medalist and former featherweight titlist takes on another one of the young guns at the weight, as he faces 21-year old lightweight titlist Devin Haney (24-0, 15KOs). The two collide Saturday evening, live on DAZN from Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Their bout comes with both boxers coming off of lengthy layoffs, though also at a time when plenty of action is taking place at the top level.
Miami’s Gamboa saw his stock rise in defeat, fighting through an Achilles tear in eventually suffering a 12th round knockout at the hands of Gervonta Davis. Gamboa’s valiant performance looks better in retrospect considering Davis (24-0, 23KOs)—who turns just 26 this coming Monday—having since racked up a career best win in a scintillating 6th round knockout of Leo Santa Cruz on Halloween.
Three weeks ago came a tour-de-force performance by 23-year old Teofimo Lopez (16-0, 12KOs), who unified three belts while establishing himself as the World lightweight champ following a 12-round win over Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Next month comes 22-year old Ryan Garcia (20-0, 17KOs) in his attempt to shine against England’s Luke Campbell (20-3, 16KOs), a 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and former two-time challenger.
The idea is to get the next generation of lightweights in the ring together in 2021, assuming Haney and Garcia win outright in their next respective bouts. Haney is a heavy betting favorite to not only beat the 38-year old Gamboa, but with many banking on his ending things early and in emphatic fashion.
The incoming challenger is well aware of such talk and looks forward to taking the defending titlist’s place in the lightweight sweepstakes.
“I’m here to mess up everyone’s money at lightweight,” insists Gamboa. “There are a lot of big fights to be made in this division. My first one will come Saturday night, with a lot of big paydays to follow.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox