Boxing

Gamboa Wins First "World" Title, But He Must Beat Chris John To Make It Really Count

by James Slater - As most fans, and certainly the odds makers and the experts felt he would, Cuban hotshot Yuriorkis Gamboa proved to be too much for veteran Jose Rojas last night, stopping the 36-year-old in the 10th round in Nevada. In so doing, the 2004 Olympic gold medallist who defected his country and came over to live in Miami, Florida won his first world title.. Picking up the interim version of the WBA featherweight title that in no uncertain terms belongs to Indonesia's superb Chris John, the unbeaten 27-year-old collected what he hopes will be the first in a number of belts at different weights. However, before the gifted and sensationally exciting Gamboa can be universally accepted as having won his first alphabet title at 126 pounds there is one man he must defeat - the aforementioned John, of course.

To his credit, after dominating Rojas last night, Gamboa and his team called for a fight with "The Dragon" next. John, who must first take care of Texan Rocky Juarez in a rematch of their controversial February draw, would surely relish another high profile bout, now that he has shown his appetite for boxing in the US. A John-Gamboa clash, to decide who is not only the best WBA belt-wearing featherweight out there, but the best featherweight, period, sure would be some fight.

Both men have genuine class, and both men are crowd-pleasing fighters who are in no way reluctant to let their hands go when they are in the ring. 29-year-old John holds a huge and undeniable edge in pro experience over the still-learning Gamboa, and he would likely be the favourite to win should the two men get it on later this year. However, Gamboa's enormous amateur experience would stand him in good stead against John (who, before turning pro, was a very successful Wushu athlete, Wushu being a Chinese martial art) or any other featherweight in the world. Also, Gamboa would enter a bout against the Indonesian as the puncher of the two. With just 22 KO's or stoppages from his 42 wins (2 draws), John is no monster puncher. Gamboa, though, has 13 KO's or stoppages from his 15 wins and he carries real lightening in both fists.

While Gamboa is still raw-like and making mistakes, the fight would make a great match-up even now. Though some will claim John's greater experience and pro pedigree could well make a mockery of a fighter who has been boxing in the paid ranks for a mere two years, Gamboa's speed and power, not to mention his sheer desire and self belief, would give him a real chance to pull off the win here in 2009. For all his ability, John is no invincible fighting machine.

Juarez, though the majority felt he'd lost clearly, pushed the champion hard last time out and he was able to land a fair amount of punches. Had it been Gamboa hitting him like that, "The Dragon" may well have been slain.

What we can all pretty much agree on is the fact that a John-Gamboa fight would likely be a 2009 fight of the year candidate. Two unbeaten, stylish, fast and aggressive featherweights who truly believe they are the best on the planet at their weight - how could the pairing of these two fail to please?

John must first get past the never-to-be-written-off Juarez, while Gamboa could do with a first defence of his interim strap in the meantime - before the two featherweight sensations meet head-to-head late this year.

There is something to settle here, and it's not just who the real WBA featherweight champion is. A John-Gamboa fight could determine the world's best 126 pound operator.

Article posted on 19.04.2009



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