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Crawford: I saw Gamboa as a featherweight, not a lightweight

Yuriorkis GamboaBy Dan Ambrose: One of the reasons why WBO lightweight champion Terence Crawford (24-0, 17 KO’s) felt assured of victory going into last night’s fight against 5’5 ½” Yuriorkis Gamboa (23-1, 16 KOs) was because he saw him as someone who was little more than a pumped up featherweight who had moved up in weight to the lightweight division, but who really belonged still at featherweight.

Crawford, 5’8”, outweighed Gamboa on the night of the fight 152 to 145, and had a long reach advantage of 5” inches. It was no wonder that with all of the things in his favor that Crawford was going to come out ahead when the two of them went at it last night at the CenturyLink Center, in Omaha, Nebraska, USA. Crawford used his size to stop Gamboa in the 9th round after putting him down 4 times in the fight.

“I said to the press, I believed Gamboa was a legitimate 126 pounder [featherweight], but not a legitimate 135 pounder [lightweight].”

Gamboa moved up in weight from the featherweight division to get bigger paydays at super featherweight and lightweight. There isn’t big money to be made at featherweight despite there being some quality fighters in that weight class like Vasyl Lomachenko, Gary Russell Jr, Nonito Donaire, Jhonny Gonzalez, Evgeny Gradovich and Nicholas Walters.

Gamboa obviously realized that, and that’s why he moved up in weight. Besides that, Gamboa is 32, and making featherweight would be a difficult task for him now, and it’s unclear if he can still even make the weight, even though his frame is technically that of a featherweight.

Gamboa did the best that he could against Crawford given his small size, and you’ve got to give him a ton of credit for being able to win the first 4 rounds on HBO’s scorecards. Two of the judges had it 3-1 for Gamboa after four, while the other had it 2-2. Things went downhill for Gamboa after he was knocked down in the 5th round, however, as he became sloppy after that in trying to make up for the knockdown in the 6th and 7th rounds.

Had Gamboa continued to fight in a conservative manner like he had in the first 4 rounds, it’s possible that he could have come back from the knockdown to win a decision. But Gamboa lost his senses completely after getting dropped, and he fought more or less like a mad man until getting stopped in the 9th. Gamboa stopped fighting smart, and when that happened it was only a matter of time before he was beaten by Crawford.


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