HBO BAD - March 26, 2011

Yuriorkis Gamboa vs Jorge Solis

Remillard vs. Garcia

Gamboa Makes Short Work Of Solis

Mar 27, 2011

In his first fight of 2011, Yuriorkis Gamboa found the distance, created distance, and closed the distance. He found the distance to land his devastatingly fast punches on Jorge Solis. He created distance between himself and ordinary opponents like Solis as well as between himself and the other Cuban pros with whom he is so frequently lumped in. And he closed some of the distance between himself and the sport's premier fighter, Manny Pacquiao, by wiping out Solis in half as many rounds as Pacquiao did four years (and four weight divisions) ago.

Now the question on everyone's mind is this: How much distance remains to be traversed before we see Gamboa and Juan Manuel Lopez in the ring together?

"I've never said no, Gamboa's never said no, we just have to negotiate," Lopez said in the ring after watching his potential rival dispose of Solis in four explosive rounds. "We're the best in the division, we have to do it."

Gamboa had just finished saying he didn't think promoter Top Rank was eager to risk the ticket-selling Lopez against him, but he welcomes the fight. "After [your next fight], let's get this one done here," Gamboa responded.

The opening round between Gamboa and Solis featured more feinting than actual punching, but the feeling-out period ended abruptly in the second round when a clubbing left hook dropped Solis. Gamboa opened up after the knockdown, but Solis showed craft as he moved his upper body well and made Gamboa miss. Eventually, however, "El Ciclon de Guantanamo" found his target, flooring Solis for a second time with a right to the ear. Gamboa was completely unconcerned by Solis, holding his hands by his sides-a flaw that has gotten him into trouble at times in the past, but didn't on this occasion.

Of course, comparisons between Gamboa and Pacquiao are pure fantasy. It's the comparisons between Gamboa and Lopez that fight fans hope soon connect to reality.

A huge left hand, a hybrid between a hook and an uppercut, sent Solis to the canvas again in the third, but it came at the tail end of the round and the Mexican got up and was saved by the bell. A groggy Solis tried to walk the punch off between rounds, while Gamboa stayed on his feet during the rest period also, eager to finish the job.

A sizzling one-two combo sent Solis down again early in the fourth, Gamboa's blend of speed and power simply overwhelming his opponent. Gamboa, 20-0 (16 KOs), soon pinned Solis along the ropes and put him down for a fifth time with a flurry of punches, prompting referee David Fields to wave it off at the 1:31 mark without a count.

Solis, 40-3-2 (29 KOs), was asked afterward what it's like to fight Gamboa. "It's terrible," he said bluntly. "He's a great fighter, he hits hard. Pacquiao doesn't hit that hard. He throws a lot of punches, but he doesn't hit as hard as Gamboa."

Of course, comparisons between Gamboa and Pacquiao are pure fantasy. It's the comparisons between Gamboa and Lopez that fight fans hope soon connect to reality.

In the opening fight on the broadcast, Miguel Angel "Mikey" Garcia, 25-0 (21 KOs), turned in a workmanlike performance for eight rounds and a brutally effective one for the next two, stopping Matt Remillard, 23-1 (13 KOs), in 10 to take a significant step toward contention at featherweight. Garcia's boxing skills allowed him to pull out to a comfortable lead, then his power finally surfaced in the ninth. The Californian scored two knockdowns in that round and one more in the 10th, prompting the game Remillard's corner to sensibly surrender with two scheduled rounds remaining.

In an outstanding off-TV bout between unbeaten junior featherweight prospects, Philadelphia's Teon Kennedy moved to 17-0-1 (9 KOs) with a unanimous decision over Jorge Diaz, 15-1 (9 KOs), of New Brunswick, New Jersey. Kennedy scored a flash knockdown in the third round and a smash knockdown in the sixth, and had anyone other than the liberal Steve Smoger been the referee, the fight would probably have been waved off during Kennedy's follow-up sixth-round assault. Instead, the fight continued on and Diaz fought bravely, deserving better than the 118-109 and 117-109 scores that two judges carded in favor of Kennedy. The third score, 115-111, was more representative of the closely contested battle witnessed by a passionate crowd at Boardwalk Hall.

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