Not What I Want For Gamboa, But Great Performances By Angulo And Martinez

Oh, Yuriorkis.

Why you gotta be that way? I guess you can blame it on pride. I wish you’d drop it. You know, I’ve spent a lot of time hyping you here. And really, it’s not as if you suck in any way at all. No, really, all you’ve ever done is deliver exciting-as-hell performances, like you did tonight in your second featherweight (126 lbs.) bout, this one a 2nd round knockout against Marcos Ramirez. But this pride thing — it’s getting in the way of your greatness.
HBO’s Max Kellerman is right. You could be Roy Jones, Jr. Instead, you’re heading more toward Naseem Hamed. Like Max said, being Hamed is not a bad thing at all. But here’s the difference. One day, if you keep it up like you have been, you’re going to get knocked the hell out. Or dominated by a slicker, more disciplined fighter, the way Hamed got dominated by Marco Antonio Barrera. Until then? You’ll completely, 100% thrill us.
It’s just not what I want for you. You have potential greatness in you. If you could just, for one second, not be such an arrogant, macho type. So Ramirez knocks you down in the first round with an elbow. First off, you shouldn’t have gotten hit with it. A more conservative fighter — even a slightly more conservative fighter — doesn’t get caught with that. And to make matters worse, you took it as an insult, one that had to be avenged immediately. OK, so you caught up with him the very next round and finished the show. Great. What happens when the guy you try to get even with is far better than a guy who, like Ramirez, has got a borderline knockout ratio against inferior competion and has been out of the ring for 16 months with some rather severe family trauma? Exactly.
Your career could be so much more, so much more, than just a guy who excites as a prospect and is a crapshoot against a real champion. That’s fun and all, but there’s no evidence that you’re going to, after two appearances on HBO, dial it back ever-so-gently. Have at it, but the unmitigated cheerleading here will probably drop off, like, the next time you fight.
Other commentary from HBO’s “Night of the Rising Stars II”:
Sergio Martinez was, indeed, blindingly fast against Alex Bunema, en route to a corner stoppage. Martinez is now in position for a shot at Vernon Forrest’s junior middleweight (154 lbs.) belt. I liked what I saw, but as nice a run as Bunema has been on lately, he just got out-classed. I’m not sure Martinez looks so impressive against a more versatile opponent. I guess we’ll find out, unless Forrest decides to ditch his belt.
In a whole different way, fellow junior middleweight Alfredo Angulo completely dominated Andrey Tsurkan. Angulo is an interesting fighter because he’s a brawler with excellent technique, the kind that makes up for his lack of speed because his crisper punches always land first. I thought the fight should’ve been stopped around the 8th, the way it was for Bunema. The brave Tsurkan just took an unnecessary beating from a superior foe for two more rounds before it was finally stopped. Angulo’s not far from his own title challenge, if he keeps it up like this.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.