So, Now Who'll Start Favourite When Yuriorkis Gamboa and Juan Manuel Lopez Clash?
by James Slater - As fight fans are aware, Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa were both in action last night at Madison Square Garden, and both men won and kept their respective world titles as a result. Fans will also surely have read how the plan is for the Puerto Rican super-bantamweight and the Cuban featherweight to meet up in a genuine super-fight some time next year.
But because of a combination of WBO 126-pound champion "Juanma's" lethal one-punch KO power and WBA featherweight champ Gamboa's slack attention towards defence, most fans pretty much felt Lopez would win the battle of the two unbeaten stars. However, after last night's action, this perception may no longer apply. Hurt badly and forced to hold on in the final seconds of his tougher than expected points win over the pretty much unheralded Rogers Mtagwa, southpaw Lopez, 27-0(24) was taken the 12-round distance for the first time and he also looked vulnerable for the first time in an otherwise dominant career..
Gamboa, on the other hand, once again showed how fast and powerfully accurate he can be, as he knocked down and then stopped Panama's Whyber Garcia in the 4th-round. Weight problems on the part of Lopez may or may not have had a great deal to do with it, but there is no doubt Gamboa looked the superior fighter last night. This begs the question: who will start favourite - in the opinion of the fans as well as the odds makers - when the two exciting young fighters meet?
It's possible, according to promoter Bob Arum, as quoted by Newsday.com, that the two potential superstars could meet in their next fight. 26-year-old Lopez blamed his struggle to make weight for last night's less than impressive (though hugely entertaining) victory over the man from Tanzania, and said he plans to move up to 126 right away. And for his part, Gamboa, 16-0(14) said he needs no further fights to get himself ready for Lopez.
"I don't think Juan Manuel Lopez is better than me," 27-year-old Gamboa said. "I don't need no warm-up fights. I think I should be carrying the card. I am the better fighter."
And you know what, he may well be. Sure to cause much debate, that will not be settled until the two warriors meet, opinions on who will win look sure to be heard from everywhere from now on. One thing can be agreed on, though - the featherweight battle will in no way be a dull or less than thrilling affair; with the fighting styles of the two men that would be impossible! Also, if the hype machine Bob Arum has at his command does its job correctly, Gamboa-Lopez will be absolutely huge.
Maybe, as he claims, "Juanma" will be a better and stronger fighter up at 126-pounds. Or maybe, as he claims, Gamboa is the better, more precise puncher and the better overall boxer. There's only one place to find out, and that's in the ring. What better ring than the one inside the very venue the two sizzling punchers won in yesterday?
Juan Manuel Lopez Vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa - 12-rounds for the WBA featherweight title - live from Madison Square Garden. What could be better!?!
Article posted on 11.10.2009