Where art thou, Yuriorkis? Yuriorkis Gamboa, 25-1, 17 KO’s is one of the most exciting fighters of this generation. He’s comparable to a missile. A lot of power packed in a small shell. He opens each fight as though he were shot out of a cannon with the single mission of seek and destroy. Additionally, as with a missile, Gamboa has no regard for what may come in his path as though regardless of the outcome, he will have served his purpose.
Gamboa is and will continually be recognized as one of the best fighters to defect from Cuba and establish himself in the United States. If putting on a show could be defined by a fighter’s output, Gamboa has notoriously left us craving for an encore. He’s an elite level fighter with a high powered offense comparable to the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League. And for that same matter he’s also comparable to the Saints defensively, which has ultimately been to his disadvantage at many times throughout his career.
If you read a list of the fighters that Gamboa has clashed with it reads like a ‘who’s who’ of the lower weight divisions. He’s fought and defeated the likes of Orlando Salido, Daniel Ponce De Leon, and Rogers Mtagwa. Gamboa has always come out of the gate like a bat out of hell and somehow overcame his defensive flaws up until the Terence Crawford fight, where he saw his first defeat in what was a thrilling fight. That aside, he has been dropped and stunned more times than you typically see with an elite fighter. Yet, he never lost his poise during those moments and pressed on. He’s one who’s best defense is his offense. He chooses to bang it out in his moments of despair, regardless of how big a puncher his opponent is.
One of the big fights that we never had the opportunity to see was Yuriorkis Gamboa vs Juan “Juanma” Lopez, 35-5, 32 KO’s. This fight was gaining much deserved anticipation when the two seemed to be headed for a major clash at Featherweight, 126 pounds. As the case in many situations in boxing, higher powers thought it would be better to wait on making the fight happen in order to build the most public interest possible. Sounds like a plan, right? Wrong! Juanma ultimately ended up losing to Orlando Salido, a guy who Gamboa beat. That detailed what would have been an exciting fight that I’m certain wouldn’t have went the distance.
That had been the story of Yuriorkis up until 2011. Since 2012, Gamboa has only fought a whopping five times. Yes, that’s an average of one fight per year for an individual who started out very promising. A fighter can’t maintain an elite level at that rate. Inactivity coupled with promotional problems have seemingly cost Gamboa the latter part of his career. The warrior mentality that Gamboa possesses leads me to believe that he’s been listening to people who haven’t had his best interest in mind. Every fighter has a different path. For fans sake, I hope Gamboa can redeem himself but stories of this nature are all too familiar in boxing. For now, we can only live off of clips of who he was.Contact the Feature Writers