Yuriorkis Gamboa: A Warrior To The End

12/29/2019 - By James Slater - Comments

Yuriorkis Gamboa was fighting a lot of things last night: Father Time, an ankle injury and a naturally bigger man in Gervonta Davis. But the 38 year old, around eight years or more past his prime, gave a good account of himself. Above all, the Cuban showed admirable heart and courage. In getting up from hurtful knockdowns and almost going the full 12 rounds with Davis, who he tested all the way, Gamboa gave it one last big effort.

(Photo credit: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME)

Maybe Gamboa’s heroic effort last night came in his final fight. Who knows where Gamboa, a natural featherweight, can go from here. Gamboa should be in a different place altogether right now; he should be a superstar. When he emerged, or dazzled his way onto the world stage, the former amateur sensation looked for all the world like a future world champion and a future superstar.

The belts came, but the super stardom did not. Inactive spells, poor career choices and the inability, for whatever reason or reasons, to land a super-fight (Gamboa should have faced/could have faced Juan Manuel Lopez in what would possibly have been a great one) hindered Gamboa and fans were forced to give up on him. The fast and powerful puncher with skills fought on and he did pick up solid wins over Orlando Salido (this arguably Gamboa’s best career win), Daniel Ponce De Leon and Darleys Perez, but he was stopped in the biggest fight of his career, by the too big Terence Crawford in the summer of 2014.

Since then, aside from last night, Gamboa has not faced an elite fighter. It may be unfair to lable Gamboa as a waste of talent, a big disappointment, but as excitingly promising as he once was, this is unfortunately the only accurate tag one can place on Gamboa. He had greatness within him, yet for a number of reasons Gamboa was unable to mine the gold within him.

Gamboa, 30-3(18) may or may not fight on (probably the former) but his future fights will only see the Cuban battling frustration and disappointment.