Terence Crawford demonstrated that he`s the best lightweight pugilist in the world after he successfully retained his World Boxing Organization`s (WBO) Title with a ninth round technical knockout victory over the previous undefeated and former featherweight world champion, Yuriorkis Gamboa, in which he scored four knockdowns.
Both boxers put on an extremely entertaining and action packed bout in front of a sold out crowd of close to 11,000 passionate fans who were there to support their hometown fighter, Crawford at the CenturyLink Center. This was the first world title matchup in Omaha, Nebraska in 42 years.
Gamboa controlled the first four rounds by getting the better of the exchanges and landed the more powerful shots due to his amazing speed that caught Crawford off guard. Gamboa` s yearlong inactivity and only fighting for the third time in two and half years didn`t appear to be an issue in the early going.
Crawford; however, turned the bout around in the fifth when he switched to a southpaw stance, allowing him to see and time Gamboa`s punches better and it paid off as he landed more consistently. Towards the end of the round, he connected on a devastating right hook that knockdown Gamboa, who quickly got up, but was visibly hurt. Crawford staggered Gamboa again as he was lucky to survive the round.
His success continued in the sixth and seventh round as he continued to control the matchup and land the harder and more numerous punches. Both men engaged in a fierce battle in the eighth round that Gamboa was getting the better of it, after which Crawford connected on a perfectly time right hook that dropped Gamboa to his knee. The fighting intensified in the ninth as both boxers went after each other. Gamboa staggered Crawford and had him really hurt, yet Crawford weathered the attack and knockdown Gamboa two more times with a left and right uppercut, respectively. After the last knockdown, referee, Genaro Rodriquez stopped the bout at two minutes and fifty-three seconds.
According to Compubox statistics, Crawford landed 146 out of 348 punches for 42 percent while Gamboa connected on only 82 out of 345 shots for 24 percent. Crawford kept his undefeated record intact at 24-0, 17KOs and successfully made his first defense of his WBO Belt he acquired when he defeated Ricky Burns in March of this year. He set himself up for unification bouts at 135 or significant fights at 140 pounds, if he chooses to move up a division.
Crawford`s a star in the making and a fighter boxing fans will start to pay more attention to in the future.
Despite the loss, Gamboa, 23-1, 16KOs, boxed courageously because despite being knockdown four times, he got up quickly and went on the attack each time, despite being hurt. He fought well early on and hurt Crawford several times; however, he couldn`t handle the power of Crawford. Crawford was the bigger pugilist who weighed ten more pounds than he did in the ring and fought his entire career at this division while this was Gamboa`s second bout in this weight class. He might be more effective boxing at 126 or 130 pounds, where his power had more of an impact.
Regardless of what weight class he fights in, hopefully Gamboa will box more consistently than once a year and with his speed and skills he`ll be a world champion in the near future.