Gamboa becomes a contender

By Tom Donelson
Updated: April 18, 2009

Boxing Gloves IOWA CITY — SHOBOX is taking their series to a new level as their prospects are now taking their next steps toward contender status. Turkish fighter Selcuk Aydin challenged Said Quali in his American debut.

Aydin’s style is the meat grinder approach as he moves forward in a methodical way, attempting to grind his opponent into the ground. Quali’s challenge was to use his height and hand speed to play the matador to the Aydin’s bull.

The question in any fight is which fighter will impose his will on the other. And there times that a fighter will simply surrender for strategic purposes and Quali did exactly that.

Aydin’s style is a more primitive and straight forward but in the first round; Quali moved to the rope and allowed Aydin to pound on him. Quali gave up his height and fought small.

Aydin’s punching were both short and sharp but he rarely jabbed his way; whether this was due to his inexperience in fighting southpaw or simply inexperience.

Quali fought the second round as he did the first and this did not please his corner. In the third round, Quali countered off one of Aydin’s rushes and stunned the young Turkish fighter.

The right hand hook came as he countered off the roof and this may explain Quali’s own wiliness to fight close in as he felt his punches had more power.

Throughout the fight, the pattern seems to follow a script.

When Quali went to the rope, Aydin followed and nailed his opponent with sharp punches including upper cuts that got through Quali defenses but when Quali led Aydin to the middle of the ring, he got the better of the exchanges.

After six rounds, Aydin looked comfortably ahead, even with a point deduction in the sixth round for a low blow.

In the second half of the fight, Roger Mayweather extorted his fighter, Quali, to get off the rope. In between the ninth and the 10th round, Mayweather laced into his fighter with obscenity laced words.

The word “mother f*****g” often began his sentences but Quali often did not respond in the ways that his corner wanted. He seemed content to stay on the ropes and this allowed Aydin to score points.

Quali gained a point when Aydin nailed Quali with a low blow and lost a point for the blow. This along with his more accurate punching allowed him to gain ground on his opponent.

With one round left, Quali needed a knock out to win and he finally followed his corner advice and used his boxing skills. Sharp punches found their targets and Quali outboxed his opponent to gained leverage against his opponent.

With less than a minute a combination sent Aydin reeling and for the remaining of the fight, Quali unleashed combinations with the goal of ending the fight but that combination never came.

Quali lost the fight by a split decision. This was a fight that Quali lost more than a fight that Aydin won. He rarely jabbed and while he showed the ability to unleashed sharp combinations, his power did not faze Quali whereas Quali twice nearly derailed Aydin.

Quali’s strategy allowed Aydin to win the fight and his corner knew that as they repeatedly told him lay off the rope and threw punches. Aydin is still undefeated but within the talented welterweight division, he will have to show improvement.

As a small welterweight, he has to learn to how move into his opponent chest.

In the main event, Yuriorkis Gamboa faced his biggest challenge as he fought for a portion of the featherweight title, the WBA interim championship, but this was not a true championship fight for his opponent Jose Rojas had fought only one fight over the past two years against a legitimate opponent and lost his last shot at a title against Chris Johns.

Team Gamboa did not view this as a true championship but a step toward the elite status. This was a championship fight in name only and gave the WBA an excuse to charge a sanctioning fee.

Gamboa have seen the canvas in his first fourteen fights but always got off the ground to win; often by knock out. In this fight, Gamboa showed patience and Rojas showed reluctance to fight as he rarely let loose with his best weapon, a straight left from his southpaw position.

Gamboa’s power became evident as his punches swelled Rojas’ right eye.

In the fifth round, Rojas hit the canvas briefly as he was caught off balance. From this point, this was Gamboa fight as he found ways to hit the moving Rojas more often.

He had no answer and in the 10th round, a final combination sent Rojas reeling into the rope and with his eyes more swollen, the referee stopped the fight. Way behind on points, Rojas was not going to hurt Gamboa; much less knock him out.

By nabbing a portion of the title, Gamboa has now a bargaining chip to negotiate but the real question is whether Gamboa is truly ready with only 15 fights?