A Successful Fight Night at MSG

By Francis Walker, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: January 24, 2010

NEW YORK (BASN) — Yuriorkis Gamboa is a Cuban amateur star with over 300 fights, an Olympic gold medalist, and current interim WBA featherweight champion. Gamboa has fought a number of fighters with good records, but hasn’t been tested as of yet.

Very few expected Gamboa to have a difficult time with challenger Rogers Mtagwa on Saturday at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York City. In fact, Gamboa (17-0, 15 KOs) had an easy night’s work having stopped Mtagwa (25-14-2, 18 KOs) in less than six minutes.

Gamboa-Mtagwa was part of an HBO Boxing After Dark world championship doubleheader. Unbeaten WBO junior featherweight titlist Juan Manuel Lopez (28-0, 25 KOs) moved up in weight to conquer WBO featherweight champion, Steven Luevano (37-2-1, 15 KOs) in the main event.

Entering the contest, Gamboa weighed-in at the featherweight limit of 126 pounds. Mtagwa, however, weighed 122, the junior featherweight limit which is one weight division below Gamboa’s.

The size, speed, and strength advantages complimented Gamboa’s boxing skills very well. The Cuban amateur sensation rocked Mtagwa momentarily with a left-right hook combination to the head in the opening round.

Gamboa jumped to an early 10-8 lead on the judges’ scorecards after the first round when he floored Mtagwa with a left hook to the side of the head with less than 10 seconds remaining in the opening stanza.

Gamboa continued his assault immediately to start the second round. Mtagwa’s face was a magnet for Gamboa’s left hook and straight-rights. Gamboa, whose punches were razor sharp, floored Mtagwa with a two-handed flurry that dropped him against the ropes.

The game Mtagwa returned to his feet only to eat more leather. Gamboa continued his assault on Mtagwa until referee Steve Smoger stopped the contest at 2:35 seconds of the second round.

According to punch-stat numbers, Gamboa threw 107 punches and landed 53 (50%). Mtagwa landed a dismal 10 of 57 punches (10%). Gamboa landed 60% of his power punches (52/87), compared to Mtagwa’s 25% (9/35).

Lopez stops Luevano, claims 126-pound title

Luevano has very good boxing skills and will make this an interesting boxing match. Lopez has to prove to the boxing world that his horrific fight against Mtagwa was simply an off-night and that is not a preview of what’s to occur in the future.

However, Lopez, highly touted for his first-round KO title victory over Daniel Ponce DeLeon in 2008, has been a roll since winning the WBO 122-pound title having defended the belt five times. Lopez returned to old form and successfully rebounded from his near loss to Mtagwa by out-boxing a game and determined Luevano.

Desperate to prove that his previous outing against Mtagwa in October was simply an off-night, Lopez proved to have too much boxing skills and firepower for Steve Luevano.

The fight started off as a technical boxing match before Lopez started to assert himself in the third round. Suddenly, Lopez’ jabs and combinations were too strong for Luevano to handle.

The end came at 44 seconds of the seventh round after Lopez floored Luevano in a corner following a barrage of power punches. At the time of the stoppage, Lopez was ahead on all three judges’ scorecards: 60-54 (twice) and 59-55.

According to punch-stats, Luevano may have threw more punches than Lopez overall (390-381), but Lopez was the more accurate (138-98). Lopez even doubled the amount of connected power shots (115-54).

Gamboa vs. Lopez in the future?

Now that Gamboa and Lopez have emerged victorious for the second consecutive time (respectively) at Madison Square Garden, promoter Bob Arum could match the pair in what should be an explosive WBA/WBO featherweight championship unification match.

Gamboa is fast, punches from all angles using a high-punch output, and has displayed one-punch knockout power. However, Gamboa, often reckless with his aggression, has already been floored more than several times as a professional which is why a pending fight with Lopez is a big deal.

Should Lopez drop Gamboa, does he have the skills and the power to stop someone as strong, energetic, and as conditioned as Gamboa?

Wolack & Duddy shine on the undercard

Pawel Wolack (26-1, 17 KOs) won a workmanlike, unanimous decision against Ishmail Arvin (15-2-4, 7 KOs) after eight rounds. The judges scored the bout 80-72 and 79-73 (twice).

Ireland’s John Duddy (28-1, 18 KOs) scored a knockout at 1:55 seconds of the first round against Juan Astorga (14-4-1, 9 KOs).

Mayweather vs. Mosley in May? Closer to reality

HBO Pay-Per-View has reportedly reserved May 1, as possible dates for a much needed Floyd Mayweather vs. Sugar Shane Mosley fight. With Pacquiao fighting Joshua Clottey at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, TX on March 13, and Mosley’s fight with Andre Berto cancelled, all fingers point toward a Mayweather-Mosley showdown.

Both fighters have exchanged rants through the media for years; most notably during Mayweather’s post-fight interview after he dismantled lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez through twelve rounds.

Mayweather and Mosley came close to fighting one another years ago while Mayweather was 130-pound champion and Mosley was a champion at 135 pounds. But nothing concrete ever materialized.

Should Mayweather accept Mosley’s challenge, it would end speculation of Mayweather only wanting to fight smaller guys moving up in weight. Mayweather, who fought only once in the last two years, beat a Ricky Hatton moving up from 140 pounds.

Marquez, having never competed at welterweight, moved up two weight classes from 135 to make the fight with Mayweather.

Mosley is a legitimate welterweight with explosive speed and power. Mosley isn’t as fast as he was six-seven years ago, but he’s still quick and sitting down on his punches more.

Mosley is a dangerous opponent for Floyd and it should be a memorable encounter.