By Francisco Salazar
Remember when Yuriorkis Gamboa was knocking out opponents left and right?
Or was in exciting, non-stop action fights?
Golden Boy Promotions does, and they are hoping ‘El Ciclon de Guantanamo’ can return to being the fighter who did both.
Gamboa returns to action tonight when he squares off against Robinson Castellanos in a 10 round lightweight bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The fight will headline a three-fight ‘Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN’ telecast, beginning at 8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT on ESPN2.
Gamboa (26-1, with 17 KOs) is coming off a 10 round unanimous decision over Rene Alvarado on March 11 in Verona, N.Y. Tonight’s fight will mark the first time since 2014 Gamboa will have fought twice in one year.
After winning world title belts as a featherweight, beginning in 2009, the 35-year-old won an interim junior lightweight title in 2012. The combination of speed and power Gamboa exhibited as a featherweight did not accompany him as he went up in weight.
In June of 2014, Gamboa moved up to the lightweight division to face Terence Crawford. The flashes of speed and power were on display, even stunning Crawford late in the fight, but Gamboa was up against Crawford’s precision power and strength before he was stopped in round nine.
Gamboa, who now resides in Miami, Florida, has fought three times since then, but seems to want to be more active, especially since he is now fighting under the Golden Boy Promotions banner.
The plan is to have Gamboa compete in the junior lightweight division, even though he and Castellanos both weighed in at 133 pounds for tonight’s bout.
Castellanos (23-12, with 13 KOs) may be the opponent Gamboa needs to return to form from earlier in his career. His aggressive, come-forward style may play into the hands of Gamboa.
The fighter from Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico has not fought since March of last year when he was knocked out by Oscar Escandon.
Also on the ESPN2 telecast, unbeaten featherweight Abraham Lopez (22-0-1, with 15 KOs) squares off against Jesus Rojas (24-1-2, with 17 KOs) in a 10 round bout.
Yamaguchi Falcao (12-0, with 6 KOs), a 2012 Bronze Medalist, will face Morgan Fitch (18-0-1, with 8 KOs) in a 10 round middleweight bout.
Five more bouts will take place on the undercard, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET/ 4:30 p.m. PT on ESPN3.com.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, RingTV.com, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing