Few prizefighters have the skill set or outstanding athleticism of Cuban-bornYuri Gamboa, the featherweight world champion. And Mexico’s Daniel Ponce De Leon anxiously awaits the chance to topple the champion.
“It’s a great opportunity to fight Gamboa. He’s a very good fighter but I’ve fought the best,” said Ponce De Leon.
Or maybe not?
The lightning quick Gamboa (20-0, 16 KOs) defends the WBA featherweight title against Mexico’s Ponce De Leon (41-3, 34 KOs) on Saturday Sept. 10, in Atlantic City. HBO will televise the battle between the little giant southpaws.
It’s an intriguing fight between a boxer who can punch, Gamboa, and a puncher who can box, Ponce De Leon.
Gamboa and Ponce De Leon rarely receive the recognition due for their boxing ability though both have proven time and again that they’re more than wild punchers with big punching power.
When Gamboa first entered the pro ranks he attacked like a crazed kamikaze for most of his early battles, until he met Darling Jimenez, a dangerous fighter. There he displayed the incredible boxing skills that he rarely displays as a professional.
“I like to entertain the fans,” said Gamboa chuckling a little.
If an opponent lacks the danger element then Gamboa attacks voraciously like a hungry leopard.
Will Ponce De Leon force him to box?
“It’s a great opportunity. I just want to show Americans what I have,” says Gamboa, who departed Cuba in 2007 and is a former Olympic gold medal winner.
Ponce De Leon has always shown he likes knockouts rather than decision wins. In his fight against junior lightweight Adrien Broner, he surprised many with his ability to box skillfully in a fight that most observers felt Ponce De Leon won handily.
“With (Adrien) Broner a lot of people thought I won. It was just an opportunity presented to me. I took it. Everyone saw the results except the judges,” said Ponce De Leon.
In his career the Mexican Indian has slugged it out and lost against Celestino Caballero and Juan Manuel Lopez, and Sod Kokietygym, Gerry Penalosa and Rey “Boom, Boom” Bautista, whom he beat. Slugging or boxing as he did against Broner last March in Anaheim, the lefty Mexican has shown a boxing IQ.
“It’s a very dangerous fight, the strongest of my career. I have to win,” says Ponce De Leon, who lives in Los Angeles. “We’ll see. I know it’s a very important fight that’s why I love it. I take challenges. He is the best out there and I’m going to win.”
Gamboa loves that he’s fighting yet another Mexican bomber.
“They (promoters) have sent me the three top Mexican boxers and I have come out on top. Whatever they bring to me that’s what I’m going to do,” Gamboa says.
One added dimension to this fight is that it’s the first time in several years that rival Top Rank and Golden Boy are promoting a fight together. Every fan is a winner for not only this fight but for those to come.
Fights on television
Fri. Showtime, 11 p.m., Lateef Kayode (17-0) vs. Felix Cora Jr. (22-5-2).
Fri. Telefutura, 11:30 p.m. Gabriel Rosado (17-5) vs. Keenan Collins (13-6-2).
Sat. HBO, 4:30 p.m., Vitali Klitschko (42-2) vs. Tomasz Adamek (44-1).
Sat. HBO, 10:30 p.m., Yuri Gamboa (20-0, 16 KOs) vs. Daniel Ponce De Leon (41-3)