By Keith Idec
If Yuriorkis Gamboa can’t beat Jason Sosa later this month, his career, for all intents and purposes, is over.
Eric Gomez, president of Golden Boy Promotions, said as much during a conference call Tuesday.
“This is probably like his last chance,” Gomez said. “This is do-or-die for him, I think. And that’s the way he’s taking it, as do-or-die.”
Gamboa’s comeback under Golden Boy’s banner was ruined by Mexico’s Robinson Castellanos on May 5 in Las Vegas. Castellanos dropped Gamboa once apiece in the third and fourth rounds, and stopped the two-time Olympic gold medalist after the seventh round of their ESPN main event at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Castellanos (24-13, 14 KOs) was supposed to face Sosa (20-2-4, 15 KOs), a former WBA super featherweight champion from Camden, New Jersey, on November 25 in New York. He suffered a back injury during training camp, though, and Gamboa jumped at the opportunity to replace the man that upset him six months ago.
Gamboa (27-2, 17 KOs) returned to the ring August 12 in Cancun, Mexico, where he struggled to win a 10-round fight against Mexico’s Alexis Reyes (15-3-1, 7 KOs). Referee Celestino Castro deducted three points from Gamboa – two for hitting on breaks and one for leading with his head – but he still won a majority decision (95-94, 95-94, 94-94).
Gomez remains optimistic that the 35-year-old Gamboa can get back on track by winning this 10-round fight against Sosa in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
“You know, he’s still exciting,” Gomez said. “He’s one of the most exciting fighters in boxing. He can bang, he can punch, he can move. He might not have the same hand speed he had when he was a little younger, when he first came on the scene. But he’s gonna fight tooth and nail in this fight.
“This is gonna be a great fight because his back’s against the wall and in order to get more paydays or be considered in title fights, he’s gonna have to win this fight. And Jason Sosa, in many ways he’s in the same position as well. So it makes a great fight when you have two guys that are fighting for their future, and they wanna stay at this elite level. So I’m looking forward to a great fight.”
HBO will broadcast Gamboa-Sosa as part of a “World Championship Boxing” tripleheader two weeks from Saturday night.
The main event will pit Russia’s Sergey Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) against Ukraine’s Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KOs) in a 12-round fight for the vacant WBO light heavyweight championship. The third televised fight will be a 10-round, light heavyweight bout between Cuba’s Sullivan Barrera (20-1, 14 KOs) and the Dominican Republic’s Felix Valera (15-1, 13 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.