A special two-way gamble involving two unified featherweight title belts was held at Las Vegas Nevada's Palms Casino Resort on the eve of the fateful September 11 anniversary last Saturday.
The undisputed WBA World Featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa (18-0-0 15KO) took the seasoned defending IBF Featherweight champion Orlando Salido (34-10-2 22KO 1NC) through 12 rounds of boxing, which was concluded with him padding yet another victory unto his untarnished record.
Taking a look at the participants before the bout; Gamboa, 28, boasted a spotless reputation in the ring—acclaimed for his 83.33 knock-out percentage and his consistent routing of international opponents—which he established mainly in the United States, as he now fights out of Florida despite his Cuban heritage.
Salido, 29, a mere year older than Gamboa, held a 28 fight experience gap over his opponent, brought about by the fact that he turned professional at the age of 15. Salido's career was met by controversy back in 2006 wherein he tested positive for Nandrolone, an anabolic steroid following a fight with Robert Guerrero (27-1-1 18KO 2NC) which was also his first attempt at winning the IBF championship, thus recording a no contest.
Despite his double-digit defeat count, the Mexican has only lost three of his fights since he reached the age of 21.
Upon their entrance into he ring, it seemed almost certain that Gamboa had the physical advantage over his opponent as his width and muscle sculpt alone upstaged his opponent's; Salido looked a couple years older than his 29 judging by the definition of his body.
For the first five rounds, Gamboa noticeably piled on the point margin over his opponent, as he scored effectively and kept the pressure on his opponent in more ways than one. It could be noted that Gamboa observed a balanced measure of spacing and timing, he connected continuously with combinations composed of three or more punches while he clearly did not allow Salido to close in enough to duplicate what he was doing.
Balance, in turn, allowed Gamboa to have control over the offensive tempo early on because not only was he able to land at a good pace but he was able to integrate different styles and stances into his performance, knowing exactly which to use at what time.
Gamboa's defensive abilities were also widely showcased as he made Salido miss by using techniques ranging from the basic bob and weave moves to the complex shoulder roll style defense, which aided his punch opportunities. Gamboa also neutralized the threat of Salido's notorious left hook by pinning down the "Siri's" left arm.
It was quite a marvel to see the complexity and refinement that Gamboa had enforced into his game, with shots landing consistently and effectively, he appeared to have the same fight characteristics as fellow undefeated icon and current WBC Super Welterweight title holder, Floyd Mayweather Jr..
Desperately needing to catch up, Salido stepped up his attack in the sixth round. He got low, charged his way inside and got aggressive, but wasn't able to do much damage as Gamboa kept him contained with a number of clean clinches. It looked like Salido took the round, but in no way did Gamboa ease up his efforts.
Early into the seventh, Gamboa advanced towards Salido and harassed him unto the ropes, showing discipline, he did not pursue the dangerous knockdown but rather allowed the momentum to play itself out.
It was at the end of the seventh round wherein professionalism almost flew out the rafters of the Palms Casino Resort; Gamboa threw a punch shortly after the bell had gone off causing Salido to lose his temper and go after his mistaken opponent. Veteran referee Joe Cortez stepped in to restrain Salido and quickly sent the frustrated fighter back to his corner.
Serving as a potential turning point in the contest, a heated Orlando Salido came in guns a' blazing to punish his opponent, Gamboa obliged to partake in the tense exchanges and in turn caught a sudden right hook from Salido, sending him down for the eight count. Gamboa tried to argue that it was in fact a slip, but Salido's right hand clearly connected before the topple.
The two rounds that followed comprised of Salido trying to cut down Gamboa in any way he could, changing the tide as he was now the one pursuing his rival. Gamboa did a great job of evading the assaults and counter acting them with some of his own, it proved to work for him as he ended the tenth round by almost getting Salido to take a slide.
Though Salido still had a shimmer of hope for victory, the nail in the coffin was finally delivered in round 11. Gamboa drove Salido towards the ropes on offense similar to how he did in the seventh, but this time both fighters were involved in an unfortunate head-on collision, creating a cut on the left side of Salido's forehead. With Salido's cut forehead bleeding profusely, Gamboa began targeting it to further allow the loss of blood.
The 12th and final round sealed the deal for the Cuban champion, with steady and uptempo combinations, he forced the weakened Salido to the ground to even out the knock down earlier scored on him. Gamboa kept his surge going—most likely looking for a chance to knock the Mexican out—but in the process lost a point for landing a second headbutt.
Knowing that the decision was secure, Gamboa laid off and clinched his opponent to let the remaining moments gradually slip away.
All three judges reached a unanimous decision in favor of Gamboa, who now holds both the WBA World Featherweight title and the IBF Featherweight title to his name. Each with judge arrived at a calculation varying that of their fellow judges at 116-109, 114-109, and 115-109.
In attendance was Puerto Rican WBO featherweight champion Juanma Lopez (29-0-0 26 KO), who is set to fight Rafael Marquez (39-5-0 35 KO) this autumn. It was said that the winning camp between the Gamboa and Salido bout may possibly an opportunity to challenge Lopez after the conclusion of his meeting with Marquez.
This article is brought to you by: The Carlo Chronicles
Carlo's scorecard: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 TOTAL
Gamboa: | 10 | 10 | 10 | 10 | 10 | 09 | 10 | 08 | 10 | 10 | 10 | 09 || 116
Salido: | 09 | 09 | 10 | 09 | 09 | 10 | 09 | 10 | 09 | 09 | 08 | 09 || 109