Last night in Miami, veteran former champions Yuriorkis Gamboa and Juan Manuel Lopez scored wins that set up a March/April clash between the Cuban and the Puerto Rican. Gamboa pitched a shut-out decision win over Miguel Beltran, while Lopez won a wide ten-round decision of his own, over Christian Mino.
Photos: David Martin-Warr
Lopez though, took some shots in his fight, being hurt in an exciting fifth-round. It is this vulnerability that has fans cringing whenever the powerful but suspect-chinned warrior is in action. Gamboa almost scored a quick first-round win in his fight, decking Beltran with a right hand to the head. But Gamboa then pretty much cruised to the points win.
Still fast and explosive and seemingly having more left than Lopez even though he is the older man, Gamboa is the pick to win the March/April clash. Lopez has not been able to hold a good shot for some time now, suffering some nasty and quite vicious KO defeats, and while Gamboa is also well past his best and has also been stopped, the one-time potential superstar could take Lopez out and fast.
This fight – one that should have taken place around 2010 or 2011 – still carries fan interest, though nowhere near as much as it once did. At an asking pay-per-view price of around $20 to $30, Gamboa-Lopez might do decent numbers. Or maybe a network like DAZN could pick up the fight next spring.
Again, neither former champion is the sizzling talent he once was, but this ‘better late than never’ fight has retained more than enough fan appeal to convince both warriors to neglect hanging up the gloves just yet.
In flashes last night, Gamboa looked good, Lopez too. And when they put whatever they collectively have left on the line in their eight or nine years too late rumble, who knows – Gamboa and Lopez just might serve us up a thrilling and memorable little fight.
Certainly, there are far worse fights and ideas being peddled around right now. We know Gamboa and Lopez will both train hard, enter the ring in top shape and be willing to put it all on the line. A number of things have changed regarding these two,, but as far as heart and desire goes, some things never really change.
Lopez remains one of the most fiercely determined fighters you could wish to mention. And Gamboa has retained a fair amount of his style and excitement value. It’s a seniors fight for sure, but Lopez-Gamboa is more than likely a fight that should still happen. And it will.