source: Rich Mazon | PhilBoxing.com
Atlantic City, New Jersey - Yuriorkis Gamboa's attempt to leap into boxing's elite was not as spectacular as everyone expected it to be. Against a tough and seasoned veteran in Daniel Ponce de Leon, Gamboa's performance tonight was solid but not dazzling. His athleticism was there. His speed was there but the one thing everyone present in the Boardwalk Hall Arena came for and the millions watching in HBO were waiting of never materialize. Gamboa was unable to duplicate his impressive outing from his last fight in this very same venue. There was no knockdown on an opponent that would boost his resume incredibly. There was no perfect ending that would light up his name after this fight. But he did win unanimously in a fight cut short by an accidental clash of heads in the 8th round of the featherweight match. And it happened just when the fight was heating up for both fighters.
Ponce de Leon suffered an inch cut above his left eyebrow when he collided with Gamboa midway in the 8th round. Referee Allan Huggins stepped in from there and instructed the former Super Bantamweight titlist to report to his corner to have it checked. The ringside physician together with his corner pressed on the wound but was unable to stop it from bleeding. Huggins stopped the fight at the 1:24 mark of the said round much to the disappointment and frustration of the crowd here in Jersey..
The fight as mandated by New Jersey rules went to the judge's scorecards thereafter. The scores were 70-63 twice and 69-64 all in favor of Gamboa. It was later corrected that it were actually scores of 80-72 twice and 79-73 as the eight was omitted from the initial announcement.
The technical decision win preserved Gamboa's unbeaten record and improved it to 21-0. Ponce de Leon dropped to 41-4 after the loss. Ponce de Leon did not seem adamant at the decision of his corner when the fight was stopped. He later said that he wanted to continue fighting but also agreed on the decision reached by his team upon the advice of the physician at ringside. For Gamboa, he said that this is it for him at 126. He states he is moving up to 130 on his next fight. He also expressed interest in getting in the ring with Manny Pacquiao in the near future when interviewed after the fight.
The future looks promising for the former Olympic gold medalist from Guantanamo. He has good competition in the junior lightweight division in the likes of Ricky Burns, Takashi Uchiyama, Adrien Broner and Diego Magdaleno if he indeed moves up. But the fight everybody was wondering about was against fellow Featherweight star Juan Manuel Lopez. But first Lopez must avenge his only loss to WBO champ Orlando Salido before the fight with Gamboa can happen. There are also the likes of Mikey Garcia and Gary Russsel to contend with in the 126 pound division. Now as it pertains to Pacquiao. Everyone including Gamboa can dream.