Juanma Lopez's First Loss: 7 Other Fights Gamboa Can Still Look Forward to
Top Rank Promotions had an all-Hispanic guaranteed action-packed featherweight (126 lbs) superfight between two of its own fighters, the still undefeated Yuriorkis Gamboa (20-0, 16 KO's) and the recently defeated Juan Manuel Lopez (30-1, 27 KO's).
Rarely do you see one boxing promoter with two fighters it can pit against each other for an instant classic in high demand. Top Rank had that, but wanted to "let the fight build" by keeping the fighters apart to increase demand.
Well, now that one fighter has lost via eighth-round stoppage to Mexican veteran Orlando Salido (35-11-2, 23 KO's), the mystique of two undefeated fighters engaging in war for featherweight supremacy is all but lost.
Or is it?
Gamboa has options as to where his next big fight can come from. He may have to wait on a fighter to move up to his weight or he may have to move up in weight.
Either way, a superfight for Gamboa is not that far away. In fact, I've listed the top seven biggest fights within two weight classes of Gamboa.
7. Nonito Donaire
Nonito Donaire (26-1, 18 KO's) is a 28-year-old boxing phenomenon expected to continue moving up in weight like his fellow Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao.
He's already won world championships in the flyweight (112 lbs), junior bantamweight (115 lbs) and bantamweight (118 lbs) divisions.
If he wants to continue the Pacquiao comparisons that have made him into the extraordinarily hyped competitor he is, he will have to continue moving up in weight.
That means a few fights at junior featherweight (122 lbs) and then finally landing at featherweight (126 lbs), where Gamboa resides.
Donaire is considered a fast, tough, smart fighter. He will offer more than all of Gamboa's other opponents combined, but he will also offer a big payday that could supersede that of the Lopez fight.
6. WIlfredo Vazquez Jr.
Professional Record: 20-0-1, 17 KO's
Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. is the current WBO junior featherweight (122 lbs) champion. He has a perfect record and is only four pounds away from Gamboa's division.
Vazquez and fellow Puerto Rican warrior Juan Lopez have exchanged fierce words before about each other's status in boxing.
Now that Lopez has suffered his first loss, Vazquez may move up to featherweight to seize the opportunity to become the new undefeated Puerto Rican half of a superfight with Gamboa.
5. Guillermo Rigondeaux
Professional Record: 8-0, 6 KO's
Now don't be fooled by Guillermo Rigondeaux's small professional record. He has one of the best amateur records of all time, so he achieved success rather quickly after turning professional.
Rigondeaux is a fellow Cuban and an all-Cuban featherweight world championship match could be a big seller.
4. Rafael Marquez
Professional Record: 39-6, 35 KO's
Rafael Marquez is a hard-hitting Mexican favorite with a heavy heart. Gamboa could easily raise his profile with a victory over the much beloved veteran.
The only problem is how much credit would Gamboa get for beating Marquez. Juan Manuel Lopez already beat Marquez recently.
The only thing Gamboa can do is beat Marquez even faster than the eight rounds it took Lopez to get rid of Marquez. If Gamboa does that, his victory shoots him into the atmosphere.
3. Chris John
Professional Record: 45-0-2, 22 KO's
This has been one of the most logical matches for Gamboa for a while.
Chris John is undefeated and holds the other part of Gamboa's WBA world championship at featherweight.
John is the holder of the WBA super championship belt. Gamboa holds just the WBA title. What that means is hard to tell in today's fighting world of many championship belts.
What is understood is that if they fight, it will be a classic boxer vs brawler scenario. Gamboa will have to be smarter than he's ever been and hope his speed advantage conquers John's craftiness.
2. Orlando Salido
Professional Record: 35-11-2, 23 KO's
Salido gave Gamboa a decent fight. Though it wasn't a close fight, Salido's victory over Lopez might change fans' minds about a rematch between Salido and Gamboa.
Top Rank is sure to put Salido in a rematch with Lopez this fall to either salvage a superfight between Lopez and Gamboa or raise Salido's profile with another victory over Lopez.
Should a repeat victory occur for Salido, he and Gamboa could provide as much excitement and action as the first time around, except with more hype and more on the line as Salido defends his WBO world featherweight title.
1. Juanma Lopez
Professional Record: 30-1, 27 KO's
Sure he lost to Salido, but Top Rank Promotions is already putting together a rematch for the fall in hopes Lopez wins. If Lopez beats Salido, talk of a Gamboa fight might spark up again.
The only problem is Lopez's victory has to be VERY convincing to make the people demand Gamboa vs. Lopez again.
If Lopez does not win convincingly, he will possibly never face Gamboa and a featherweight superfight will be lost for all eternity. No pressure, right?
All these fights are pretty realistic over the next year for Gamboa to take,
If he wishes to carve out a great legacy, then one or more of these fights would greatly help him.
Though none of these fights can replace the hype and mystery behind Lopez Vs Gamboa before Lopez's first loss, these fights will have to do.