You get one of those shiny straps into your possession, and we on the sidelines can try to belittle the feat, reduce that achievement and babble about the modern era of boxing's sad state of dilution. We can go that route, but the simple fact remains that a championship belt, like the one Terence Crawford holds in his possession, makes him a target for the best and brightest in and around the lightweight class.
Crawford, a 26-year-old Nebraskan, boasts a 23-0 mark, and is currently harboring the WBO 135 pound crown at his joint.
One of those best and brightest I was referring to, Yuriorkis Gamboa, would like the opportunity to repo that strap. Yes fight fans, the rumor mill is saying we could get a clash with the Cuban emigre Gamboa, in June or July, as Crawford's first defense of the bauble he relieved from Ricky Burns in Scotland on March 1.
What about it, Yuriorkis, is a Crawford clash something you'd entertain?
"I love the idea of boxing," Gamboa (age 32; lives in Florida) told me. "Anyone, anytime. I'll only have questions if the rival is significantly heavier than me. Otherwise, give me a date!"
Many of us thought that date, that dance would come with super feather champ Mikey Garcia. That potential bout was rumored, and negotiated for months upon months. It looks like that was a fruitless effort, with Garcia seemingly steering off course, into a courtroom realm. His lawyers have filed papers to try and disengage him from a contract with promoter Top Rank.Yep, looks like he's possibly going to go the Andre Ward route, and choose to sit, rather than commit to a tussle, because of issues he has with his promoter.
Gamboa (23-0 with 16 KOs) has shown interest at challenging the Cali-based boxer, and we've heard that the fight didn't get made because he, and then Mikey, was asking for too much moolah. But that, I guess, is a dead issue, or at least one we should table for a spell. Because Gamboa, who last gloved up last June, beating Darleys Perez (UD12), seems to like the idea of a Crawford tangle.
"So far the Crawford fight is just talk," he continued. "There's nothing on paper, as far as I know. But it is true we are talking and the fight was mentioned to me by my team, and I said yes. I cannot afford to not consider anyone in my weight class. I am ready to fight whoever my promoter (50 Cent, the rapper/promoter) tells me to fight, as long as, like I said, we are about the same weight."
Gamboa, it seems, has learned something of a lesson with the extended Garcia negotiations, and is talking like he wants to sign on a danged dotted line, and clear the rust, and scrap. "I was very involved in trying to make the Mikey fight happen, I wanted that fight. I'm not making that mistake again. I am a fighter now, not a promoter. If the Crawford fight happens, I will gladly jump at the opportunity."
Talk to me, friends. You like a Crawford-Gamboa tangle? Is it a good style matchup? Whose attributes shine more? That scrap is high level chess, to me, and I think the Nebraskan is an above average talent who is smartly mobile, skillfully finds advantageous angles to exploit, and is on the same general level as a perhaps rusty Gamboa...Your two cents, please.