Yuriorkis Gamboa took on Darleys Perez in a lightweight scrap from the Bell Centre in Montreal to start things off on HBO's Boxing After Dark program. The Cuban-born hitter was on cruise control the whole way, and the crowd sensed it after a couple rounds, dropping boos on both men. Perez went down in round one, off a weak launch, but this one never got cooking. After twelve rounds, the judges gave the nod to Gamboa, by scores of 116-111, 116-111, 115-112.
Perez (age 29; 134 1/2 pounds; 28-0 with 19 KOs entering), who didn't start fighting as a pro until he was 25, repped Colombia in the 2008 Olympics. As with so many Colombians, the kid came in with as a rep as a bomber.
Gamboa (31; 134 /14 pounds; 22-0 entering with 16 KOs; from Cuba; ex featherweight and super feather champ) has been off radar for a couple years. The four time Cuban national champion debuted as a pro in 2007. He was supposed to be a major player by this time. But he split with promoter Top Rank in July 2012, messing up a scheduled fight against Brandon Rios, and signed on with 50 Cent, back when Fiddy was in good with Floyd Mayweather. Fiddy and Floyd broke up, and Fiddy got Gamboa in the divorce.
In round one, Perez hit the deck, almost at the bell. A left hook, weak looking, sent him down. Gamboa's hand speed and ring generalship stood out in the second. Perez didn't look out his class, though, in round three.
In the fourth, Perez went down, but it was ruled a slip. Perez wanted to land a left hook, his best weapon, but Yuriorkis was well aware that would be the case. Perez outlanded Yuriorkis in the fifth, but the Cuban threw more, so he didn't necessarily win the round. Gamboa cruised in the sixth, too. He was busier in the seventh, a bit, but once again, the crowd booed a couple times to show their level of boredom.
In the eighth, Gamboa used the jab to interrupt Perez' flow. The crowd simply wasn't much into this exercise. In the ninth, Perez landed some clean, hard blows. Gamboa was in cruise control again in the tenth. In the 11th, Gamboa went down, off a jab, and again it was ruled a slip. Rightly so, in my eyes, he was on the wet paint.
In the 12th, Perez didn't go guns a blazing, surprisingly. We went to the cards, not soon enough.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV