Yuriorkis Gamboa's next opponent has lost 10 fights, but don't be mislead into thinking Orlando Salido will be a walk in the park. With the Gamboa's turbine-powered, often careless offense, he is fun to watch in much the same way as a NASCAR race: you sense sooner or later there might be a huge accident.
So far in his brief professional career, Gamboa's extraordinary gifts have enabled him to plow through 18 opponents without crashing and burning. One reason why is the 2004 Olympic gold medalist has blazing hand speed on par with that of Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. He also has explosive power in both fists and attacks opponents with a destructive force that has earned him the nickname "Cyclone."
But the 28-year-old Cuban has shown flaws that a wily veteran like Salido might be able to exploit. Cocky to a fault and given to showboating, Gamboa can be full of reckless abandon. In more than a few instances his hell-bent, spitfire attack has resulted in him being dropped to the canvas. To his credit, the 5'5" Gamboa has shown the resiliency to get up and take his opponent out. In his past few fights Gamboa also seems to have dropped most of the unnecessary flash and dash, kept his hands up and fought in a wiser tactical manner.
"The most important thing in professional boxing is mental," says his trainer Ismael Salas. "And I have seen good improvement from Gamboa. For some reason many Cubans are not ready for being in professional boxing. All Cuban boxing is amateur and they're always thinking the amateur way. Now he's much more professional in his thinking."
That supposed change will be put to the test when he faces the rugged Salido (34-10, 22 KOs) on the September 11 edition of Boxing After Dark. In a career which includes 47 fights and 291 rounds, Salido has the experience to handle just about anything thrown his way. Don't be fooled by those 10 losses. Much like Carlos Baldomir did, Salido has resurrected himself in the last eight years of his career.
The 29-year-old started boxing at 15 in Mexico, and eight of his defeats came between his debut and 21 years of age. Since losing to William Abeylan in 2001, Salido has gone 20-2 with one draw. In his last three losses, including to Abeylan, Salido was far from disgraced. One defeat was a majority decision and another was a split decision. The third loss was to Juan Manuel Marquez in a 2004 bout in which Salido took the pound-for-pound fighter the distance and won three rounds on two of the cards. Although Salido has been knocked out five times, the last instance was 10 years ago. Salido's best victory was a unanimous one over reigning featherweight champion Robert Guerrero, but it was wiped off the books and declared a no decision after Salido tested positive for steroids.
Whether Salido has enough to beat Gamboa, or even last the distance, is open for debate. Gamboa is a veritable wrecking machine, a blur of speed and power who assaults you non-stop every minute of every round. All of Gamboa's punches are thrown with bad intentions. An orthodox fighter, Gamboa's thudding left hooks make it impossible to concentrate on staying away from his crushing right hand. If Salido tries to put some distance between him and Gamboa by sliding sideways or backing up, the Cuban will run him down with fast feet. Unlike an Antonio Margarito or Alfredo Angulo, Gamboa doesn't stalk opponents; he rushes them like a bull, throwing both hands as he comes. That tactic will make it very difficult for Salido to counterpunch because with so much power and hand speed coming his way the Mexican will be forced to play defense to avoid a knockdown.
In some ways Gamboa's ultra-aggressive style makes him perhaps even more explosive than Pacquiao. Under trainer Freddie Roach, Pacquiao has developed a style in which he swarms you with rapid multiple punches, then darts away and boxes from a distance. In contrast, once Gamboa gets to you, he'll stick like glue, throwing everything but the kitchen sink until you clinch or try in vain to get away. If Gamboa brings his A-game on Sept. 11, doesn't showboat or get reckless on defense, Salido could be in for a long, painful night. Or perhaps a short one.
The co-feature is an intriguing matchup of unbeaten young lightweights, Brandon Rios (24-0-1, 18 KOs) and Anthony Peterson (30-0, 20 KOs). This fight will be a proving ground for both as neither fighter has a quality opponent on his record. Rios's last four victims had a combined 27 defeats between them while Peterson's had 42. Both, however, show enormous promise.
Rios's best asset is his power, with 18 of his victories coming by way of knockout, including his last six fights. The 24-year old is a very polished boxer on offense, showing sharp technique, good punching form and balance. Rios has all the tools to be a top fighter. His hands are fast; he has power in both fists, throws a lot of combos and has a wicked upper cut. He also has a quality team behind him, including Top Rank and manager Cameron Dunkin, who has a long history of taking young talent and molding them into champions. Defensively, however, Rios is still a work in progress.
The 25-year-old Peterson has even more hand speed than Rios and throws hard combos to the head and body. His greatest advantage might be the freakishly long reach he has for a lightweight. Peterson's wing span is 74 inches, which by way of comparison is more than each of the four current super middleweight champions. The biggest chink in his armor is a defense that is even worse than Rios's. Peterson gets hit. A lot. And he doesn't move all that much in the ring. Also factoring into the equation is the year Peterson had to take off between 2008 and 2009 to rehab a left knee. Since returning, he has had only two fights for a combined total of 13 rounds.
Despite their flaws, both appear to have potentially a big upside because of their solid amateur backgrounds. Peterson was a national Golden Gloves champion, while Rios made the 2004 Olympic team as an alternate. No matter who wins, this should be an action-packed fight because both boxers are highly aggressive.
"The most important thing in professional boxing is mental," says trainer Ismael Salas. "And I have seen good improvement from Gamboa
Posted 12:00 AM | Sep 2, 2010
HBO BAD - September 11, 2010
Anthony Peterson vs. Brandon Rios