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Crawford-Gamboa replay on Sunday at 8:45 am ET/PT on HBO

Yuriorkis GamboaBy Allan Fox: HBO will be showing a replay of the clash between WBO lightweight champion Terence Crawford (24-0, 17 KO’s) and challenger Yuriorkis Gamboa (23-1, 17 KO’s) this Sunday at 8:45 am ET/PT. Crawford gave an impressive performance in knocking out 2004 Olympic gold medalist Gamboa in a fight that could wind up being the Fight of the Year.

Both fighters were hurt I the fight, and Gamboa was put down on the canvas 4 times in the course of the 9 rounds of action. Crawford, 26, finally put an end to matters in the 9th round by knocking Gamboa down two time to get the stoppage at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska. This was by far the biggest win of Crawford’s still young 6-year pro career.

Gamboa said after the fight, “There were two warriors in the ring trying to get the victory, and he won. I was waiting on some of his punches and I was able to come back with my left and my right. But as time wore on he got a lot better, and he was able to recuperate from those punches and he was able to get back into it, and that was when he caught me again. No, I don’t think he’s the best man. I think I could have continued the fight. I think we could have continued the fight, and we thought we could have proved that we are the champion, and the official decided to stop it and we have to respect that.”

Gamboa was getting up from the second knockdown in the 9th round when referee Genaro Hernandez grabbed him from behind while he was sitting up and physically stopped him from getting back to hit feet. It would have been interesting to see if Gamboa could have made it out of the round.

The referee stopped it with just 7 seconds left in the 9th round at 2:53, and if Gamboa could have had time to recover in between rounds, it’s possible he could have launched another assault at the start of the 10th round. Gamboa hard Crawford hurt at the start of the 9th round after hitting him hard with a combination to the head.

Crawford said after the fight “I was warming up and getting used to his style in the first couple of rounds. I just wanted to test him out and see where he was at and then and adjust. My coach told me to keep my hands up a little more, and catch him coming in. He was coming in wild, and I was just lazy. I wasn’t reacting as fast as I normally. He caught me with a good shot. Being careless, he caught me with a good shot that I wasn’t ready for because I was too flat-footed. But I felt like I came back strong.”

When asked my HBO’s Max Kellerman who he wants to fight next, Crawford said “That’s up to Cameron [Dunkin] and my manager Brian McIntyre.”

If Crawford stays at lightweight, he has the options of trying to get unification matches or making a simple title defense against the likes of Raymundo Beltran. I can’t imagine that any of the other lightweight champions will want to fight Crawford after seeing him beat Gamboa tonight. If Crawford stays at 135, he’s likely going to have to be satisfied with making normal title defenses against the top 15 contenders, but not getting anyone really interesting to fight. For Crawford to get more recognizable opponents, he’ll have to move up to 140 and hope that Top Rank can give him Manny Pacquiao, Ruslan Provodnikov, or Chris Algieri.

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