Yuriorkis “El Ciclon de Guantánamo” Gamboa, 26-1, 17 KO’s, made his return to the ring on March 11, 2017, after a lengthy, 15 month layoff. Lengthy layoffs have seemingly become the norm for Gamboa at this point in his career. In this return fight Gamboa won a unanimous decision over Rene Alvarado, 24-8, 16 KO’s, in a mostly uneventful fight. I must preface by saying that much of the lack of action was stewarded by Alvarado as he was reluctant to throw shots for the majority of the fight.
At 35 years old, Gamboa looked relatively sharp for a fighter coming off such a long layoff. Additionally, it looked as though Gamboa hasn’t really lost much, if any, speed and reflexes even at this age. This was apparent regardless of the fact that his opponent wasn’t very game. Gamboa maintaining his speed and reflexes could be in part to his inactivity prolonging some some of his physical attributes.
One thing that can’t be disputed is the fact that Gamboa is a very skilled athlete and this was on display through much of the fight as he was in control throughout. Much of the fight was fought on the outside. Gamboa chose to use his elusiveness and superior skill to pot-shot and slip the majority of Alvarado’s punches. Anytime there seemed to be traction gaining in the action department, it was thwarted by the two fighters getting tied up.
Alvarado was credited with a knockdown late in the fight on what replays showed was clearly a slip, though this provided the only real excitement in the fight. Outside of that, it was pretty much a wash for Gamboa as he won a wide unanimous victory on each card. The real intrigue is more a matter of what Gamboa does from here. The fight with Alvarado was contracted at 132 pounds and Gamboa weighed in at 131. This indicates that he should be able to make the 130 pound junior lightweight division. One of the names that was continually thrown out during the broadcast is none other than Vasyl “The Matrix” Lomachenko.
Lomachenko is regarded as one of the top fighters pound for pound in the world and has looked and fought dominant since his lone loss to Orlando “Siri” Salido in his second fight. Salido is the common opponent that Lomachenko and Gamboa share. Gamboa won a unanimous decision over Orlando Salido in 2010. My how time flies. Gamboa and Lomachenko were both great amateurs with each fighting 300+ times and each winning an Olympic gold medal, two in the case of Lomachenko. They both have an exceptional skill level and Gamboa could be the perfect opponent to provide a definitive challenge for Lomachenko at 130 pounds.
Gamboa has been a blazing fast offensive powerhouse in the past but his fight with Alvarado showed a more reserved Gamboa who chose to utilize more of his defensive prowess. That may be a wise choice should he end up taking on Lomachenko next. Though, what we have seen in the past is that Gamboa chooses to fight fire with fire and this could very well change the script of a Lomachenko fight. Either way, fans would be eager to see this challenge as much as I.
Hopefully this marks a turn for Gamboa and we see more of him as he moves forward in a career that has lost much of it’s luster since his 2014 “Fight of the Year” loss to top pound for pound fighter Terence “Bud” Crawford. Hopefully all of the promotional issues are now resolved to the fullest extent. Hopefully we get matchups that bring out the best of Gamboa. Boxing has been on the upswing in 2017, so hope may become more ‘reality’ in all scenarios that are presented moving forward. At least we can hope so.Contact the Feature Writers