Yuriorkis Gamboa - A World Champion And A Shining Star In 2009?

by James Slater - Though there have been a few chinks discovered in his armour - most notably his tendency to be a touch reckless and drop his hands when under return fire - unbeaten Yuriorkis Gamboa remains one of the very best boxing prospects to have come along in years. Blessed with an abundance of talent, including speed and withering punching power, the 27-year-old (Gamboa turned 27 just this past December 23rd) Cuban defector who now lives in Florida is also sensationally exciting to watch - each and every single time out..

Yuriorkis GamboaIf anything, his perceived defensive vulnerabilities have only served to make the featherweight contender (Gamboa can no longer be referred to as a mere prospect, truth be told) that much more exciting. Basically, as there is a good chance he may wind up being put down himself at any given moment, or as there is an even better chance his opponent may wind up being put OUT at any given moment, it's a case of don't blink when "El Ciclon de Guantanamo" is in action. As gifted and as thrilling as he is to watch, can Gamboa go all the way and become a world champion, and if so, can he do it in 2009?

The 12-0(10) powerhouse has a January 9th bout scheduled against 30-year-old Roger Gonzalez, currently 27-2(18). Without being disrespectful, only a huge upset will see to it that the fighter nicknamed "Speedy" spoils Gamoboa's march towards the world title. California's Gonzalez is a good enough boxer, but he is coming off a TKO defeat and he has been stopped twice in his career. Gamboa, defending his WBO NABO featherweight belt, should be able to get his 11th stoppage win, inside the halfway point. But then what?

There has already been talk from Ahmet Oner, Gamboa's promoter, about a world title shot in 2009 - very possibly against The Dominican Republic's Elio Rojas, for the interim version of the WBC featherweight championship. If this is a fight that is indeed made, Gamboa will have an excellent chance of making his dream (or at least phase one of it) come true. But the sizzling Cuban will not be content with picking up just one world title at one weight; Gamboa wants to win world titles at 126, 130, 135 and even 140-pounds. The 27-year-old also wants to become known as the greatest ever fighter to have come from Cuba. It's clear then, that superstardom is very much craved by the fighter who has been called anything from "A mini Mike Tyson", to "A Floyd Mayweather Junior with awesome power."

Perhaps a better, more accurate description or comparison for Gamboa would be, "The new Felix Trinidad." Like "Tito" before him, Gamboa has a questionable chin, but also the amazing recuperative powers and the sheer KO power to go along with it that make it possible for him to be able to rise immediately from a trip to the canvas and come back stronger and even more dangerous himself. It does seem, what with the three official knockdowns he has suffered and the response he has shown a second or three later, as though the comparison is a valid one.

But is there anything so bad about that? Trinidad, his somewhat shaky chin aside, was able to carve out a truly great career for himself; one in which he became world famous and a genuine superstar. Starting next year, there is a good chance Yuriorkis Gamboa will get at least half as far as the Puerto Rican legend did.

After a mere 12 or 13 pro bouts, the former Olympic gold medallist may be capable of earning himself some paid gold.

Article posted on 30.12.2008

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