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Gamboa’s stock goes up in loss to Crawford

Yuriorkis GamboaBy Dan Ambrose: The former IBF/WBA featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa (23-1, 16 KO’s) really raised his stock last Saturday night in his fight against junior middleweight sized WBO lightweight champion Terence Crawford (24-0, 17 KO’s) in their fight at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

While Gamboa ended up losing the fight by a 9th round knockout after referee Genaro Hernandez pulled the plug on the fight following a knockdown of Gamboa in the round, it was a very spirited performance from the Cuban star in fighting someone much bigger than him in the 5’8”, 152 pound Crawford. Gamboa, only 5’5”, was fighting what was essentially a junior middleweight last Saturday night in 26-year-old Crawford, and he did a good job of it.

Gamboa is really little more than a featherweight who moved up in weight two divisions hunting for greener pastures in terms of bigger paydays. He’s not the same fighter he was at featherweight, because he’s continually fighting guys that are much bigger than him. Crawford, as good as he is, would be in the same exact boat if he were to move up in weight 2 divisions tomorrow and get thrown in the ring with Floyd Mayweather Jr, Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter.

Crawford would get snapped in two by those fighters, even if he weighed the same as them. He’s not in their class, and he would be totally dominated. But Gamboa wasn’t totally dominated in moving up two divisions to fight Crawford, as we saw in the first four rounds. I think Crawford gets destroyed by Lucas Matthysse and Ruslan Provodnikov if/when he moves up to 140. Those guys are a lot more rugged than Gamboa, and would walk through Crawford’s counter punching shots to punish him with head and body shots.

Crawford is good when he’s got a huge size advantage like he’s had in the lightweight division, but if you take that away by moving him up in weight to 140 and 147, then I see him as another Brandon Rios in being out of his element. Rios, like Crawford, was a terror at lightweight with his size and weight advantage over his smaller opponents, but when he moved up to 140 and 147, he was no longer special.

HBO had Gamboa sweeping the first four rounds of the fight before he slipped on the drenched canvas in getting knocked down in the 5th round by Crawford. Gamboa never recovered from that knockdown, because his legs were gone from that point and he fought in desperate/sloppy manner that ultimately ended up being self-defeating for him.

With the exciting style that Gamboa fought in last Saturday, you have to imagine that HBO will be looking forward to televising his next fight against whoever he faces. He’s too good for HBO not to televise his fights, and he’s arguably far more entertaining to watch than Crawford, who is more of technical counter puncher, who makes for frequently boring fights.

Gamboa’s hand speed, power and offense makes him an exciting fighter to watch, and he makes for good television. Gamboa just needs to move back down to featherweight if possible because he doesn’t belong at lightweight or super featherweight. He’s too short to be fighting guys that are 5’7” and 5’8.”

Don’t be surprised if Top Rank looks to push for a Mikey Garcia vs. Gamboa fight now that Gamboa has been seemingly softened up by Crawford. I bet this loss will make Gamboa more of a viable move for Mikey, because he’ll be seen as a lesser threat to the stiff and straight up Mikey. I can see Gamboa knocking Mikey out if that fight is make. But ideally, Gamboa needs to move down to featherweight so he can mix it up with the likes of Nonito Donaire and Vasly Lomachenko. There’s money to be made for Gamboa if he can move down in weight to fight those guys, if Top Rank will let him fight them.

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