Terence Crawford vs Yuriorkis Gamboa Preview
By James Lopez, RCM Boxing Correspondent
Omaha, NB (June 27, 2014)– Terence Crawford (23-0, 16 KOs) did not listen to anyone as a young child and repeatedly got kicked out of school for fighting. His family exposed him to boxing and it slowly became his passion. Crawford once said he was unsure how his life would have been without the sport. It has made him work endless hours in the gym, perfecting his craft and striving to be the best. Crawford will put his skills to the test against the “Cyclone of Guantanamo” Yuriorkis Gamboa (23-0, 16 KOs). Gamboa a gold medalist in Athens, used to be one of boxing’s top pound for pound fighters, but promotional and personal issues have kept him away from the ring. Gamboa’s inactivity has created some doubt amongst the boxing community if he is still the same fighter he once was. Gamboa will try to end all doubt and try to prove he is the best fighter at 135lbs in front of Crawford’s hometown in Omaha, Nebraska.
The Breakdown of the Fight
Terence Crawford standing at 5’8 with a 70 inch reach has the size advantage over Yuriorkis Gamboa whose stature is 5’5 with a 65 inch reach. Crawford tends to box at long range. Crawford will undoubtedly use his reach and height advantage to try and outpoint the smaller sized Gamboa in the center of the ring. This will be Gamboa’s toughest task of the night; finding ways to land clean shots on a great defensive fighter who fights from a distance.
Both fighters tend to fight off their back foot to set traps for their opponents and both know how to press the action. Expect both fighters to change roles of coming forward and going backwards throughout the fight.
Terence Crawford is a great defensive fighter. He fights at long range and usually has the reach and height advantage over his opponents in the lightweight division. It is very hard to catch Crawford off guard. He shows great defensive abilities while fighting off his back foot and coming forward. He only clinches when necessary and moves his feet very well. He will make it very difficult for the shorter Gamboa to land his power shots.
Yuriorkis Gamboa has good defense of his own. Most people look at the multiple times he has been knocked down and believe otherwise, but when taking closer examinations of the times he has been knocked down, they have always seemed to come off of an exchange. One hardly sees Gamboa getting knocked down or be repeatedly tagged when he is boxing in the center of the ring. Gamboa for the most part is a boxer puncher who only gets into wild exchanges when he has his opponent stunned or shelled up. Sometimes a fighter being overly aggressive makes Gamboa want to get into an exchange when he believes he is the stronger fighter.
Power, Chin, and Combinations
Terence Crawford has respectable power and picks his shots very well. He has shown that he can remain patient and wait for counter opportunities. Since Crawford fights at long range he tends to counter best when an opponent lunges in and gets out of position to try and land a shot. Crawford can also throw combinations coming forward while being defensively minded at the same time. He does a very good job of being able to transition from offense to defense in a split second. Due to his polished defensive abilities his chin is still a mystery.
Yuriorkis Gamboa has very good power. He has shown the ability to knockdown and knockout opponents when given the chance. Gamboa is also a fighter who picks his shots and looks for countering opportunities himself. Whenever Gamboa gets tagged he usually likes to answer back right away with his own punches. If Gamboa does tag and stun Crawford with a punch, expect him to throw a flurry of punches till Crawford shows he has fully recovered. Gamboa does not shy away from exchanges when he believes his opponent is hurt. We have seen that Gamboa can recover after being knocked down and can continue pressing the attack in the later rounds. If Crawford does get hit with a clean shot we will see how he will react under Gamboa’s pressure.
Terence Crawford has good speed and utilizes it by throwing sharp shots and quickly moving out of harm’s way. Crawford hasn’t fought someone as fast and as athletic as Gamboa. It will be interesting to see if Crawford can be fast enough to counter and beat Gamboa to the punch.
Gamboa utilizes his speed when throwing combinations. Usually when he knocks down an opponent it’s a combination of power and not seeing the punch coming. The reason why his opponent’s don’t see the punch coming is due to Gamboa’s volume of punches, and the speed they come in at. This is why it is very dangerous to get into exchanges with Gamboa. Yes he leaves himself open while doing so, but the majority of times he comes out on top.
Yuriorkis Gamboa’s last fight was on June 8, 2013. Gamboa might experience a little ring rust which might lead to more mistakes. If there is any ring rust, Crawford is the type of fighter that will expose it. It is difficult to gage how sharp Gamboa will come in on fight night, we will just have to wait and see.
This will be Terence Crawford’s second fight in his native hometown in Omaha, Nebraska, the first was in 2006. He will be defending his belt for the first time and might get caught up with the atmosphere of the crowd. Since Crawford is still a relatively young fighter at age 26 he will have to remind himself to stick to the game plan of out pointing Gamboa while not getting into any exchanges. The crowd is sure to erupt with every punch Crawford lands. It will be up to him to remain composed. He has shown great composure in a tough atmosphere in the Ricky Burn’s fight Scotland. He should be able to maintain to the game plan this upcoming Saturday.
Terence Crawford should be the favorite to win this fight. His defensive abilities combined with Gamboa’s inactivity should allow him to win by unanimous decision. In order for Yuriorkis Gamboa to win, he will have to be more aggressive and be less of a boxer puncher. Gamboa should try to press the action throughout the bout, and even if Gamboa does this it will still be difficult to catch Crawford in a vulnerable position. Perhaps Gamboa does fall behind in the scorecards and digs deep to pull off the victory; he certainly has the tools to do so. That would not be much of a shock since both fighters only know how to win.