ATLANTIC CITY — Three quick thoughts on Yuri Gamboa’s win over Daniel Ponce de Leon.
• Gamboa looked good. He could have looked better. Gamboa showcased all his talents on Saturday: speed, power, speed (worth mentioning twice) and an improved defense. He outclassed Ponce de Leon in every possible way. But he didn’t seem interested in taking too many chances. Maybe he was wary of Ponce de Leon’s power, maybe he was trying to prove he was a well-rounded boxer and didn’t need to recklessly charge in. Kudos to Gamboa for a dominating win but it would have been nice to see him take more of the openings Ponce de Leon — who is very limited defensively — was giving him.
• Moving up to 130 pounds … and beyond. Gamboa and his co-promoter, Ahmet Ohner, both said this was his last fight at featherweight. While that rules out a showdown with longtime featherweight titleholder Chris John, it does open up some interesting possibilities. Adrien Broner is really the only marketable opponent at 130 pounds — fat chance Golden Boy puts their prized American prospect in with Gamboa anytime soon, either — but at 135 pounds, there are options. Juan Manuel Marquez is the undisputed top dog at lightweight, though there are no guarantees he will go back there after his welterweight fight with Manny Pacquiao. Brandon Rios is an extremely appealing possibility, while a Kevin Mitchell or Ricky Burns fight would probably do well overseas. Then there is fellow featherweight Juan Manuel Lopez, who could be ready to move up soon as well. A Lopez-Gamboa fight has been talked about for a long time and would be a huge fight in New York City.
• Ponce de Leon wanted out. Officially, this was a medical stoppage. Unofficially, it sure looked like Ponce de Leon didn’t want any more of Gamboa. Certainly, a cut on the forehead can affect a fighter: blood trickles down into your eye and you can’t pick up the punches. But as cuts go, this one didn’t appear that bad. The bleeding had stopped by the time the judges read the scores. I spotted Ponce de Leon in the hotel lobby after the fight and he didn’t have any kind of bandage on. This was a huge opportunity for Ponce de Leon and even though he was down on the scorecards, he has the one-punch power to win the fight. The doctor’s decision is the doctor’s decision but it would have been nice to see Ponce de Leon act like he wanted the fight to continue.
– Chris Mannix