By Joseph Herron: Tonight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, in the co-main event of the evening, Yuriorkis Gamboa (22-0, 16 KOs) became the interim WBA Super Featherweight Champion by defeating Michael Farenas (34-4-4, 26 KOs) in a surprisingly competitive twelve round unanimous decision.
Although the judges at ringside correctly scored the twelve round contest 117-109, 118-110, and 117-108, in favor of the former World Champion, Michael Farenas proved to be a game fighter who was worthy of competing for a major world title.
The commence the action, Yuriorkis established his speed and power while landing hard, compact shots from mid to long range. The former Top Rank fighter was intent on reminding the fight fans in attendance of what they had missed for fourteen months of political boxing drama and inactivity. The Cuban missile seemed sharp and energetic for the entire three minute round.
After being momentarily wobbled by a straight left hand from the Filipino fighter in the first minute of the second round, Gamboa stayed calm and composed, retaliating with hard combinations on the inside. The Cuban exile floored Farenas with ten seconds left in the round with a hard counter right hook on the inside. Although Farenas was up immediately, the hard punching Filipino was ostensibly shaken by the punch.
In the third round, Farenas was cut over both eyes as a product of two headbutts on the inside. While Gamboa easily won the round by landing the occasional power shot, Michael showed his heart and toughness by being able to comeback from Gamboa’s best shots as well as two vicious head clashes.
Michael Farenas began to time the hard left hand effectively and hurt Gamboa several times in the fourth stanza. Despite being hit with hard shots, Gamboa showed his poise and got the better of the majority of exchanges in a very competitive and action filled round.
In another difficult round to score, the fifth showed the talent and mettle of both fighters. The two fighters threw in combination and landed a similar number of hard, power shots sporadically through the three minute margin.
Within the first thirty seconds of round seven, Gamboa decided to jump on Farenas and unleash a barrage of power shots which wobbled the Filipino fight and caused his glove to touch the canvas. Referee Tony Weeks correctly called the momentary buckle a knock-down and Farenas was easily up immediately. Despite losing a two point round for the official knock-down, the hard punching Filipino recovered well and landed more hard left hands that bothered Gamboa.
In a wild round number nine, Yuriorkis Gamboa was floored for the sixth time of his entire professional career by a hard counter left hook. The dramatic knock-down came after the Cuban born fighter had unleashed several punishing shots that staggered Michael Farenas midway through the round. After being rocked against the ropes, the Filipino puncher retaliated and landed a desperate left hook which put Gamboa on the canvas. Although Yuriorkis beat the referee’s count, his opportunity to possibly finish his opponent quickly turned into a two point round for Farenas.
In the final third of the bout, both fighters looked fatigued and finished the match with an anti-climactic conclusion. Gamboa and Farenas seemed to be content on closing the show with a boxing match. While both men continued to fight through their exhaustion, very few impactful power shots were landed.
Final punch stats showed Gamboa landing 156 of 563 punches at a 28% connect percentage, and Farenas landing only 89 of 384 total punches at 23%.
Despite showing his physical and mental toughness against a very underrated and hard punching fighter, it would be surprising to see Gamboa step in the ring immediately against one of the top rated fighters at 130 or 135 pounds in his next outing. Because the powerful Cuban puncher entered the ring at a shockingly big weight of 146 pounds, it’s seems highly unlikely that we’ll see Gamboa take on the winner of the Salido and Garcia bout that takes place on January 19th, 2013, in Madison Square Garden.