Fight of the Day: Terence Crawford vs Yuriorkis Gamboa – 28th June 2014
At the time, WBO lightweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford deserves his spot in the top five pound for pound. Will we see him against some of the largest stars calling him out at Welterweight soon? The likes of Errol Spence, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter or Manny Pacquiao are all hungry to get at him.
In his first defence of the WBO Lightweight Title, Crawford faced Yuriorkis Gamboa, a Cuban boxer with elite level skill who won gold at the 2004 Olympics and the IBF and WBA world title belts at Featherweight. There has been recent talk of superstar Devin Haney battling with him at Lightweight. A prospect which would be sure to whet the appetite of any boxing fan.
Already a highly acclaimed boxer, Crawford looked calm and composed on the first bell. Gamboa had other plans for this composure as he consumed Crawford in a whirlwind of punches. Crawford, himself had very quick hands but Gamboa’s upper body movement was making him miss by a large margin.
Round two was no different and many at ringside smelled the distinct smell of upset in the air as Crawford drowned in Gamboa’s waves of punches. Crawford looked somewhat dejected as his jab was being slipped and countered centre ring where he usually dominates. Gamboa landed a hard straight rights in the latter half of the round.
In the third, Crawford switched to southpaw, which he often does, enabling him to land some tapping shots. But Gamboa for the moment was unphased. Caught up in his own success, Gamboa was throwing his right hand at will, which of course is a southpaw’s equaliser.
Crawford composes himself between rounds and found better range at the beginning of the fourth. Stepping back after his own jab, made it harder for Gamboa to counter. Gamboa was using his straight right less which made it easier for Crawford to pick his shots from Southpaw. Gamboa was still very potent with his attuned jab.
The fifth round sounded and the two vie for centre ring. Both landing flush punches, neither man wanted to give up an inch. Gamboa circles around Crawford and lands a four-punch combination which did nothing to hurt Crawford except anger him. Now Crawford wanted his own back. Through the middle rounds, the two men engage in thrilling exchanges until Crawford very shrewdly switches stances to land a chopping right hand in orthodox. The concussive blow lands on the side of Gamboa’s head. The challenger is helped down with a bit of shove. The rest of the round is a test of survival for Gamboa.
The sixth and seventh round was an exhibition of fury from Crawford as he crisply countered and ravaged Gamboa. The Cuban Olympian frequently covered up and his backhand lead was nullified.
This belligerence continued through the eighth before a frenzied attack in the corner had Gamboa teetering on the edge of unconsciousness before some savy footwork saved him. The circling and range control of Gamboa had disintegrate and the fire of Crawford’s assault was brutal.
Round nine revealed a glimmer of hope as a ‘cash all chips’ right hand clipped the champion. Crawford was clearly quite hurt and held onto the challenger.
Gamboa ultimately failed to capitalise on this and after regaining his poise, Crawford went back to work. Gamboa’s corner implored him to keep his hands up as Crawford was now boxing him, hitting him and generally dismantling him around the ring. Gamboa was dropped twice more. The second and final knockdown of the round, and fourth of the fight, came on a vicious right uppercut.
The ref had seen enough.
Good fighters will get in the ring with a well drilled game plan. GREAT fighters will know how and when to adapt.