Gamboa vs. Estrada, Prescott-Toledo & Lara-Gross Tonight

By Boxing News - 02/20/2009 - Comments

gamboa4573290By Jim Dower: Undefeated Cuban featherweight Yuriorkis Gamboa (13-0, 11 KOs) sees action tonight against Colombian journeyman Walter Estrada (35-8, 24 KOs) in an eight-round bout at the University Center Arena, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Gamboa, 27, a former 2004 Olympic Gold medalist for Cuba, is one of the most exciting fighters in the featherweight division and all of boxing for that matter.

With his blazing fast hands, excellent power and aggressive fighting style, he’s won over a tremendous amount of news fans despite having fought professionally for only two years. Having moved down recently from super featherweight, Gamboa is already ranked #2 in the WBC, #3 in the WBA and #6 in the WBO.

Gamboa, who has a leaky defense, was knocked down in his fight with Darling Jimenez in May 2008. Gamboa was nailed often in the fight by the hard shots from the veteran Jimenez. However, in the later rounds Gamboa focused more on his defense and was able to avoid getting hit as often, winning by a 10-round unanimous decision. Gamboa has also been knocked down by Adailton De Jesus and most recently against Marcos Ramirez.

In each case, Gamboa got up off the deck to score an early knockout. However, his tendency to get dropped in his fights against lesser opponents is something to worry about in the future, because as of yet, he’s still hasn’t faced a quality fighter in the featherweight or super featherweight divisions. Still, he should have little problem with Estrada tonight. Estrada, 34, has lost four out of his last seven fights and has been stopped in two of them.

Only 27, Gamboa looks to be the real thing. He would do well against any of the current champions – Chris John (WBA), Oscar Larios (WBC) and Steve Luevano (WBO), and probably knock all of them out in the process of taking away their titles.

In other action on tonight’s card, undefeated Colombian lightweight Breidis Prescott (20-0, 18 KOs) will face Humberto “Bam Baby” Toledo (34-5-2, 20 KOs) in a 10-round bout. Prescott, 25, shocked highly ranked lightweight contender Amir Khan in September, knocking him out in the 1st round.

Khan came out looking as if he wanted to mix things up, and was immediately staggered by a hard jab from Prescott. Instead of backing off, Khan then tried to land a right and was nailed by a left hook by Prescott and staggered badly. Prescott then went after him and dropped him with another huge left hook.

After Khan got up, Prescott finished him off with another huge left hook. Khan got up but was too hurt to continue fighting and staggered backwards into the ropes and the awaiting arms of the referee. This win singlehandedly catapulted the young Prescott into the top 15, putting him #7 in the WBO, #11 in the IBF, and #13 in the WBA and WBC.

With his incredible punching power, Prescott has the chance of beating any lightweight in the division, especially now that Nate Campbell has moved up to light welterweight. Prescott, with his power, would be a tough fight for anyone in the top 10. Tonight, he’ll probably have too much power for Toledo, who has been knocked out early in two of his last seven fights against Humberto Soto and Lamont Peterson.

The undefeated light Erislandy Lara (3-0, 2 KOs) battles against Keith Gross (3-0, 1 KOs) in a four-round bout. Lara, who defected from Cuba in 2008 and is now fighting in Germany for Arena Promotions, is a former three-time national amateur championship for Cuba between 2005 and 2007, and a 2005 World Champion.

A southpaw, the 25-year-old Lara has obliterated his competition thus far in his young three fight career. With boxing skills far more advanced than the average light middleweight, Lara has knocked out two of his three opponents and looks good enough now to compete with the best fighters in the light middleweight division.

In his 2nd fight of his career against Denis Alekseevs in September, Lara using hooks and uppercuts, dropped Alekseevs down three times in the opening round leading to an early stoppage at 2:19 of the round. In Lara’s most recent fight, a 1st round TKO of Rodrigo Aguiar in January 2009, Lara knocked Aguiar down in the 1st round with a right-left to the head late in the round.

The fight was stopped after Aguiar, looking in bad shape, got up off the canvas. Lara, however, looked much less impressive in this fight, lacking good hand speed and showing poor defense. He periodically would stop punching and would just cover up, as if he was using a sparring partner type method of fighting. It allowed Aguiar to land a lot more punches than he probably should have given his lesser talent.

Though the defense is something that Lara can fix, the lack of hand speed isn’t. He doesn’t have the huge power of light middleweights like Alfredo Angulo or James Kirkland to fall back on, so Lara is going to have to figure out how he can excel in the division without speed or power.