By Jackie Kallen
Interesting. It’s not all that often that two men with identical records (including KO percentages) face each other. That makes for an exciting fight with a generally unpredictable outcome. Such is the case this weekend when 26 year-old Terrance Crawford from Omaha, NE fights 32 year-old Yuriorkis Gamboa from Cuba (now living in Miami). Gamboa will take a shot at Crawford’s WBO Lightweight belt. Both men are 23-0 with 16 KOs.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
The fight will be in Crawford’s hometown, which is a definite advantage for him. You can be sure who the crowd will be pulling for. It’s also a nod to his self-confidence that he chose Gamboa as his first title defense. Many champs would have chosen a lesser opponent. Good for you, Terrance.
Though Crawford just fought in March, Gamboa hasn’t been in the ring in a year. Fans thought that having 50 Cent as his promoter would rocket him to the top. But it hasn’t panned out as planned. He’s only fought twice under 50 Cents watchful eye since 2011 and is fighting a bigger man.
Gamboa has won world titles at 126 and 130. This fight is at 135. At 5’5 1/2″, he’s also 2 1/2″ shorter than Crawford. Crawford’ reach is also 5″ longer than Gamboa’s. Will this make a difference? Who knows?
Gamboa has been in with guys like Darleys Perez, Daniel Ponce De Leon. Jorge Solis and Orlando Salita. He knows his way around a boxing ring. He has knocked out opponents as early as the first round and as late as the tenth round.
Crawford is also at home in the squared circle. He won the title by beating Ricky Burns (36-2-1) and has fought at weights as high as 142. Gamboa’s highest weight was 134 1/2#. By fight time there is no doubt who will be the larger man.
Odds are surely in favor of Crawford. Hometown advantage, height advantage, reach advantage, etc. But you can’t count Gamboa out. He hits hard and must have a lot of guts if he’s willing to fight the man in his own backyard.
The co-main event features two guys with almost identical undefeated records. This fight is for the vacant IBO inter-continental middleweight title. 23-0 (14) Matt Korobov will face 22-0 (18) Jose Uzcategui.
Thirty-one year old Korobov is from Russia, now living in Miami. He’s a southpaw. Uzcategui, eight years younger, is from Venezuela, now living in Mexico. He’s never before fought in the US. This will also be a fight worth watching. It’s a step-up fight for both men.