Gamboa-Mtagwa This Saturday - Can Mtagwa Cause The Upset?

Yuriorkis Gamboaby James Slater - This coming Saturday night, fans will again get a chance to see the ultra-exciting Yuriorkis Gamboa (for my money, one of the top-three most enjoyable to watch fighters on the scene today) in action in New York. Set to face the tough and dangerous Rogers Mtagwa of Tanzania, now living in Philly, the interim WBA featherweight champ faces a testing evening.

Once again sharing the Madison Square Garden bill with the also exciting Juan Manuel Lopez (planned to meet each other in a big match-up later this year if they both keep winning), Gamboa will surely be hoping he has a less torturous time than the Puerto Rican had when he met the 30-year-old "Tiger" back in October; when "Juanma" barely won on points.

Gamboa, as fast as Lopez and also lethal when it comes to being able to rob a fighter of his ability to remain standing, has also shown in the past, a number of times, how he is open to punches coming back at him. The holes in the 28-year-old Cuban's defences have been well documented, but against the man with the deceptive 26-13-2(18) record, Gamboa must tighten up or risk being put down hard.. Still, it's this willingness to be somewhat reckless in fights that serves to make "El Ciclon de Guantanamo" so thrilling to watch.

We really could be in for a classic on Saturday. Mtagwa has told FightNews how he is better prepared for this fight, as opposed to the Lopez fight, for which he had less than adequate time to get fully ready. If Mtagwa can improve on his performance against Lopez, he really could push Gamboa hard. This fight may well come down to what the younger man does, though - how much Gamboa lets Mtagwa get into the fight.

It's unlikely Gamboa, 16-0(14) will take the teak-tough challenger out quickly, despite his awesome speed and power. Mtagwa has been stopped, twice in his long career, but never has he been blasted out - with Orlando Salido stopping him the quickest; inside five rounds in an IBF featherweight title bout in 2006. Sure, there's always a first time, and maybe Gamboa can make a real statement and shock Mtagwa in the opening rounds, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Mtagwa will be the guy looking to cause the shock on Saturday, and who knows, maybe he can crack Gamboa's not altogether hard-to-hit chin? The thing about Gamboa, though, is he gets straight back up after he's been put down. Just like Felix Trinidad before him, Gamboa gets up and fights harder after he's been tagged and dropped.

It wouldn't be a stunner to see Gamboa go down on Saturday, but it sure would be an upset if he stayed down for the count of ten. Hugely talented as well as hungry and determined, the champion wins in my opinion, but, as was the case with Lopez, Gamboa may well have to work like never before to do so.

A stoppage would be most impressive, but I think Gamboa will have to go the full 12 to get the win.

Article posted on 22.01.2010

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