Yuriokis Gamboa and Juan Manuel Lopez did their respective jobs on Saturday night: They dominated their fights.
First, Gamboa took apart a vastly outmatched Roger Mtagwa. Technically, it was a knockout at 2:35 of the second round.
That, however, doesn't tell the real story.
Mtagwa was coming off a great fight against Lopez on October 10, 2009. He took "Juanma" to the final bell and lost a close decision.
Many thought this was another "Rocky": An unknown Philadelphia fighter, with double digit losses, who almost defeats the champ.
Well, Gamboa shook him back to earth.
My goodness, Gamboa was a monster. So athletic. So accurate. So skilled and patient. The Cuban sensation was like a tiger playing with a hedgehog—it just wasn't a contest.
He dominated the fight from the opening bell, knocking down Mtagwa twice before finally ending the fight.
Mtagwa had only been knocked out twice before in 40 professional fights.
Mtagwa, quite simply, didn't have an answer for Gamboa's arsenal. He couldn't stop his punches, he couldn't counter, he couldn't get out of the way.
His stunned look after his second knockdown told the entire story; he looked like man who rather be doing something, anything, than be in the ring with Gamboa.
Thankfully, he only had to be in there for another minute before the fight was stopped.
Lopez took on a much more seasoned and proven opponent in Steven Luevano.
Luevano, who was 37-1-1, is a tough and experienced opponent who, many thought, could give Lopez all he could handle.
That didn't prove to be the case.
Lopez knocked out Luevano 44 seconds into the seventh round with a flurry of punches, starting with a vicious right uppercut and ending with a decisive right hook.
Lopez dominated the fight from the outset—perhaps Luevano won one round.
Lopez showed great ring generalship, setting the action, and countering everything Luevano threw at him.
He was clearly the better fighter. He looked quicker, stronger, and much more focused that Luevano (whom I have to wonder is a "shot" fighter).
This sets up a showdown between Gamboa and Lopez that should, in my humble opinion, be a front-runner for Fight of the Year.
That said, I don't think there's any way that Lopez beats Gamboa.
And I'm starting to wonder if Lopez is thinking the same thing.
Gamboa just looked awesome. Very, very strong and very aggressive. He has perhaps the quickest hands in the Featherweight ranks.
Stay tuned for more on this matchup. I think Lopez may try and line up one other fight before fighting Gamboa.
It would be a smart move to get a great payday in.