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May 25th
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Home Boxing GAMBOA HEADING TO 130??
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yuriorkis-gamboa-ponce-deleonYuriorkis Gamboa scored another one-sided victory last Saturday.  This time “El Ciclon de Guantanamo” scored a technical decision over former belt-holder Daniel Ponce De Leon .  That result was not strange or unexpected, however Gamboa’s post-fight plans seem to be.  Gamboa announced that he is done at featherweight.  He said he has done all he can do there.  Excuse me??

If his body simply cannot make the weight, that is fine… but has he forgotten the names of men like Chris John or Juan Manuel Lopez?  At least hang out to see if Lopez wins his title back before you abandon the division.  If I were Lopez, the wind would be taken out of my sails a bit.  Now, no matter what Juanma does at 126, he’ll be second fiddle in this era to Gamboa.

He’s likely not risking Chris John either, so the best Lopez can do is win his belt back, and follow Gamboa up to 130.  Perhaps that is Top Rank’s plan with Gamboa in the first place.  They control both fighters, and this may be the first in a chess move that sees Lopez and Gamboa meeting without anyone pointing to spoiler John after they are done.  What is still confusing, however, is Gamboa’s own reasoning for the move.

He is talking now of the taking on the pound-for-pound best.  I think he needs to glance at a boxing website or magazine every once and a while, to see how far away he is from those fights being a reality.  Sergio Martinez is way out of the discussion, as is either Klitschko or Bernard Hopkins.  Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather won’t be going any lower than 147 and 140 resepctively, no matter the money.  Nonito Donaire is a tall bantamweight, but he started as a flyweight.  Even though his height suggests he can perhaps grow into a 130lb-er eventually, this would be years after Gamboa was past his prime.

Who is Gamboa planning on caling out?  The only fighters remotely near that weight class worthy of excitement, in this hemisphere right now, are Brandon Rios and Adrien Broner.  We need to see much more of Jorge Linares before he enters the discussion.  Rios and Broner would also be high-risk low reward fights for Gamboa, until each is established as a bigger attraction (although Rios is close).  Not to mention that Broner is a Golden Boy fighter, so Gamboa will not face him unless he absolutely has to.  Add to that futility the fact that Rios may grow bigger faster than Gamboa will.

Nope, Yuri… your best best is to stay put, and unify your division.  Do what Martinez and Donaire did when their name opponents ran out, or were not yet available… take on the high-risk fighters, everyone else is avoiding (Dzindziruk, Narvaez).  That is what will gain respect with the die hard-fan.  For you, this means Chris John, and/or perhaps waiting out the winner of Rico Ramos-Guillermo Rigondeaux.  All-Cuba showdown, anyone?

Chris Strait

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