The much anticipated featherweight showdown between Puerto Rican Juan Manual Lopez and Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa should take place this year, 2011, late summer or fall.
If you recall, both fighters, which are promoted by Bob Arum's Top Rank, were suppose to tangle in 2010.
On January 23 of 2010 at Madison Square Garden, Juanma Lopez (30-0, 27 KO's) picked up the WBO World featherweight title by defeating Steven Luevano (37-1-1) by TKO in the seventh round. On the undercard the same night, Yuriorkis Gamboa (19-0,15 KO's) defended his WBA World featherweight title by second round TKO over Rogers Mtagwa (26-13-2).
Arum had mentioned that after there respected separate bouts in New York that night they would meet by the end of the year 2010. It never happened.
This fight needs to happen soon, as both fighters are at there prime—Juanma is 27 while Gamboa is 29. They are exceptionally talented and exciting as they can be knocked down and come back to knock out there opponent.
These two fighters are presently the best in the featherweight division, which Puerto Rico and Cuba have to offer.
Juanma started boxing when he was 10 years old, had an amateur record of 126-24 and competed in the 2004 Olympics for Puerto Rico. As a pro, he has taken on all comers, most recently stopping Mexican legend Rafael Marquez (39-5-0) in the eight round (didn't answer bell) on November 6, 2010.
Prior to that, he defeated by TKO in the second round Filipino Bernabe Concepcion (28-3-1) on July 10, 2010.
Bob Arum already has a scheduled date of April 16, 2011 in Puerto Rico for Juanma to defend his WBO World featherweight title—unfortunately, it won't be against Gamboa.
Rumor has it that it will be the former WBA super bantamweight interim champion, Panamanian Ricardo Cordoba (37-3-2), on Showtime.
Gamboa, the IBF/WBA featherweight world champion, which could be said has the quickest hands in boxing, has had over 250 amateur bouts and won the Gold Medal at the 2004 Olympics at flyweight representing Cuba.
Since his defection from Cuba in December, 2006, he has impressed by defeating top veterans like Orlando Salido (34-10-2) in his last bout on September 11, 2010 and other formidable opponents such as Rogers Mtagwa, mentioned earlier, and Al Seeger, Johnnie Edwards and Adailton De Jesus.
Rumors out there have it that HBO has agreed on a fight between Gamboa and Jason Litzau (28-2, 21 KO's) in a date to be determined later. I reached out to Gamboa and Litzau via facebook. Litzau responded that that it was "just rumors," nothing concrete, while Gamboa has not responded yet.
A Gamboa-Litzau matchup might put a Juanma-Gamboa showdown in jeopardy, as "The American Boy," Litzau, is capable of pulling an upset like he did to Celestino Caballero (34-2-0) back on November 27, 2010.
Whatever happens, I feel Bob Arum of Top Rank must make this fight between Juanma and Gamboa happen soon, or we might not see it at all.
Let's keep our fingers crossed—hopefully it will happen in summer or fall of 2011.