HBO Boxing Preview: Gamboa vs. Perez, Dawson vs. Stevenson
By: William Holmes
Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions are not the only two promoters in the boxing world, and on Saturday night HBO will be featuring some of the biggest stars in boxing who compete outside the promotional framework of the big two.
Once again Chad Dawson is willing to go to his opponent’s hometown to fight despite the fact he’s ranked number one in the light heavyweight division by most boxing experts. Yuriorkis Gamboa looks to give 50 Cent his first legitimate championship belt as he takes on Darley Perez for a vacant interime WBA Lightweight title.
The following is a preview of both televised bouts from Montreal, Canada.
Yuriorkis Gamboa (22-0) vs. Darley Perez (28-0); WBA Interim Lightweight Title
Yuriorkis Gamboa dominated the featherweight division when he was promoted by Bob Arum and Top Rank promotions but a contract dispute led to Gamboa being released and then signed by 50 Cent’s TMT Promotions.
Gamboa has since moved up two weight classes and will now be competing in the lightweight division.
Gamboa won the Gold Medal in the 2004 Olympics for Cuba in the flyweight division. He has one of the fastest pair of hands in boxing and is an offensive dynamo. Sixteen of his victories have come by way of KO or TKO, but his aggression has cost him at times.
In his last fight against Michael Farenas many experts expected Gamboa to dominate the less experienced and less talented Filipino boxer. Gamboa was cruising until he was dropped by a straight left hand in the ninth round. Gamboa went on to win, but that bout and his previous featherweight championship bout against Orlando Salido showed that Gamboa’s chin can be tested.
Gamboa has defeated some excellent boxers but he’s missing the big name on his resume to really make him stand out amongst the lightweights. He’s defeated Michael Farenas, Daniel Ponce de Leon, Jorge Solis, Orlando Salido, and Rogers Mtagwa.
His opponent Darley Perez is the naturally bigger man and he has spent most of his career fighting in the lightweight division. He competed for Colombia in the 2008 Summer Olympics but failed to medal.
Perez has nineteen stoppages on his record, but they came against inferior competition. His last opponent had a .500 record and his opponent before that only had six fights. Perez has also competed in eight round bouts in four of his last five fights.
Darley Perez is making a big jump in competition when he steps inside the ring with Yuriorkis Gamboa and it’s hard to imagine him pulling off the upset when he has yet to be really tested inside the ring.
Chad Dawson (31-2) vs. Adonis Stevenson (20-1); WBC Light Heavyweight Title
Adonis Stevenson is thirty five years old and it will be extremely difficult for him to bounce back towards another legitimate title shot if he were to lose on Saturday night.
The Haitian Stevenson has incredible power and has stopped seventeen of his opponents and he has stopped his past seven opponents. He doesn’t have the deep amateur background of a boxer like Gamboa, but he has won the national title as an amateur in Canada.
Stevenson didn’t turn professional until 2006 when he was only a year away from being thirty. He got a late start to his professional career but he has fought some solid competition. His only loss came to Darnell Boone but he avenged that defeat in March of this year. He’s defeated the likes of Don George, Jesus Gonzales, Noe Alcoba, and Derek Edwards.
Stevenson has rarely traveled outside of Montreal to fight and he will have a big advantage by fighting in front of his hometown crowd.
Chad Dawson is coming off of a loss to Andre Ward in Andre Ward’s hometown but Dawson fought at a weight class he wasn’t completely comfortable in and in front of a hostile crowd.
However, Dawson is no stranger to fighting in front of hostile crowds. Dawson has also fought in Bernard Hopkins’, Adrian Diaconu’s, Jean Pascal’s, and Glen Johnson’s backyard or in a crowd where they were largely in favor his opponent.
Fighting in front of a hostile crowd has rarely effected the way Dawson fights. He has seventeen stoppages on his record so on paper he appears to not have the power of Stevenson. He will have a height and reach advantage on his opponent as well as more experience in fighting in high profile bouts.
Dawson has defeated Bernard Hopkins, Adrian Diaconu, Glen Johnson (x2), Antonio Tarver (x2), Tomasz Adamek, and Eric Harding. His only other loss besides Andre Ward was to Jean Pascal in Montreal. Dawson started off slowly against Pascal but was coming on strong by the 11th round when an accidental headbutt forced the fight to go to the scorecards.
Dawson is still one of the top light heavyweights in boxing despite being soundly defeated by Andre Ward in his last bout. The fact that this fight in occurring in Montreal, the site of his first loss, adds some extra intrigue and pressure for Dawson in this bout.
But Dawson should be able to use his youth advantage and experience advantage inside the ropes to retain his title.