It wasn't long ago that Yuriorkis Gamboa was considered one of the up-and-coming stars in the sport, a rise that was stymied by a multitude of contract and promotional problems that have kept him out of the ring for more than a year.
But Gamboa is back and fighting on the undercard of the fourth bout in the epic rivalry between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, taking on Michael Farenas in a bout for the interim WBA junior lightweight championship.
Gamboa was originally scheduled to face Miguel Beltran, Jr., but that fight was scrapped when Beltran's camp pulled out, saying their fighter wouldn't be ready after a grueling bout against Rocky Martinez back in September.
Here's everything you need to know heading into fight night.
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV
When: Saturday, Dec. 8 at 9:00 p.m. ET
Watch: Pay-Per-View ($59.95 for standard definition; $69.95 for high definition)
Live Stream: TopRank.com
Tale of the Tape
|21-0 (16 KOs)||Record||34-3 (26 KOs)|
What They're Saying
Gamboa tells Santos A. Perez of the Miami Herald that despite his extended time away from the ring, he's ready for this fight and remains confident in his abilities:
I have not been fighting, but I have been training nonstop all this time. This is my life, so I’ve been working very hard in the gym to be ready for an opportunity like this. There is some sense of anxiety wanting to return to the ring and prove that I am one of the best boxers in the world. I want to be a world champion again and try to unify all world titles at 130 pounds.
Former two-division champion Gary Penalosa, who served as a mentor for Farenas, told Boxingscene.com and the Manila Standard that Farenas isn't impressed––or intimidated––by Gamboa's previous achievements:
"(Farenas) trained really well, he's in very good condition and is quietly confident (of stunning Gamboa)."
It's good to be confident, but both fighters are going to need more than confidence to get past their opponent in this one.
Keys For Gamboa
It's been more than a year since he last stepped into the ring, so rust is certainly a major concern early in this one.
If he's able to land and score with his snapping jab early and often, Gamboa will be able to quickly get back into a groove and dictate how this fight unfolds.
Gamboa cannot afford to get cocky early and not take his opponent seriously.
Farenas is keenly aware of the fact that Gamboa's been away from competitive fighting for as long as he has been, and he'll certainly look to take advantage of that fact early. Gamboa's counter-punching ability will be key in fending that off.
Keys For Farenas
Gamboa is the superior fighter, and Farenas has never faced anyone who punches quite as hard as his Cuban counterpart does.
It's not as if Farenas will be hitting Gamboa with feathers, as he certainly packs power behind his punches. But Gamboa is going to try and lure Farenas into throwing wild shots, leaving himself wide open for Gamboa's excellent counter-punching ability.
Getting wild and leaving himself wide open to attack is something he absolutely must avoid if he has any chance of hanging with a superior fighter in Gamboa.
Gamboa wasn't hyped as one of the best up-and-coming fighters in the world before his contractual mess––first with Top Rank, then with The Money Team
Now with 50 Cent's SMS Promotions, the former Olympic gold medalist is simply too talented a fighter for Farenas to handle.
Gamboa wins by knockout in the fourth round.