(Daniel Ponce De Leon, at left, sporting a mullet ponytail; Yuriorkis Gamboa, at right, sporting a dead-eyed predator stare)
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Weren’t many folk to interview at the weigh-in for Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Daniel Ponce De Leon on HBO Saturday, but there are still some tidbits and HBO’s unofficial ringside scorer Harold Lederman “weighed in” (get it?) on a variety of upcoming HBO events.
Among the tidbits: It was a four-dick weigh-in. Four different fighters didn’t make weight on their first try and stripped naked to do so, including YURIORKIS GAMBOA! I don’t know what it is about me going to weigh-ins and men getting fully naked, but it makes me feel icky.
Another tidbit: This isn’t a featherweight fight, ever-so-technically. There was an agreement to allow a weigh-in of 127 pounds by both parties. Top Rank’s Lee Samuels said it wasn’t because anyone was having trouble making weight; it’s just that, for non-title fights, boxers sometimes agree to come in a little over the limit.
That’s the end of the tidbits, actually. Read on for Lederman’s wisdom on many fights through the fall and winter, from Gamboa-De Leon itself to Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz to Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez III.
“Daniel Ponce De Leon is tough. I mean, he moved up to 130 and gave Adrien Broner a real good fight. He’s not a ‘30 pounder. You can look just at him and know he’s not a ’30 pounder. But he’s dropped back down to 126, his natural weight, he can punch, he’s got a good record. I think he can give Gamboa a little bit of trouble, especially if he can cut off the ring. The probem is that Daniel Ponce De Leon is not the fastest guy I’ve every ssen in my life. Yuriorkis Gamboa is very fast. Ponce De Leon has got to cut off the ring, go to the body, slow the guy down, hopefully get him out of there because Yuriorkis Gamboa is not an easy guy to beat. He’s not an easy guy for any featherweight in the world right now. He’s a terrifically talented guy, he can punch, he’s got those great legs and he uses the ring as well as any featherweight you’ve ever seen.
Future Gamboa opponents:
“Juan Manuel Lopez is not totally unbeatable. We saw the (Orlando Salido) fight. We saw him almost get knocked out by Rogers Mtagwa. He can be beaten. Juan Manuel Lopez probably has best chance of anybody to beat Yuriorkis Gamboa because he can crack. Anytime anybody can punch you gotta give ‘em a chance.”
“Seriously speaking, I wouldn’t mind Adrien Broner. He looks like he’s a good fighter, definitely a kid on the way up. The problem is Adrien Broner looks as though if he doesn’t fight Ricky Burns, he’s going to fight for for the WBO 130-pound title. So he’s tied up. Also he’s tied to 130, and you gotta wonder if Gamboa wants to go to 130. Chris John’s a possibility, he’s a good boxer. He’s had a lot of successful defenses. He’s got a real good right jab.”
“Certainly Celestino Caballero can’t be counted out. He’s tall, he can punch, and he had that off night against Jason Litzau but if Caballero can get down to 126 he’s a threat.”
“Nonito Donaire, if he goes all the way to 126, it would be a great fight. Nonito Donaire is a superstar. Let’s face reality, he’s probably the thirrd best fighter in the world today behind Mayweather and Pacquiao, either that or he’s battling Sergio Martinez to be the third best fighter in the world. The guy’s a very, very talented guy. He’s got all the skills. Question is, where does he want to fight?… It’s a long jump all the way from 118 to 126. Should he stop at 122? Should he have a few more fights at 118? I dunno. (Omar) Narvaez, on the other hand, I look at him and think he’s a ’15 pounder. You have to wonder what’s going to happen (when he fights Donaire). He’s got a great record, but he never fights outside of Argentina, he seems to beat everybody inside of Argentina, he’s a very talented guy, a very experienced guy, but you know, you look at him and he doesn’t look big enough to fight Donaire. I agree Donaire could be a featherweight someday, but I wonder if he should go all the way from ’18 to ’26. You would think the people behind him would advise him to stop at ’22.”
“Without question, I’m looking forward to Floyd and Victor Ortiz. The return of Floyd Mayweather is always exciting, it’s gonna be an exciting night where he’s fighting a good young kid with a good punch — we saw that against Andre Berto. Victor Ortiz looked terrific in the Andre Berto fight.”
Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson
“Without question I’m looking forward to the return of Bernard Hopkins… (refers to Dawson not working with Emanuel Steward)… That makes it really interesting. We’ll see if Chad can do it on his own… Be as it may, if Bernard Hopking decides to go in that ring, give up the first five rounds and win it in the last seven, he might be making a mistake It ain’t easy to beat Chad Dawson when you’re down five rounds to nothing. That’s what he did with (Jean) Pascal twice. Let’s face reality, he starts very very slow, Bernard. Maye it’s his age, I dunno. Maybe it’s just he’s super overconfident. But I don’t think he can do it with Dawson. Dawson’s got that good right jab, he’s southpaw, he’s got that win over Tomasz Adamek – he’s the only one in the world that ever did that. Chad’s a very good fighter. It’s going to be an interesting night of boxing at Staples.”
Antonio Margarito-Miguel Cotto II
“We’ve got great fights coming up if you go all the way to December. I’m really looking forward to Antonio Margarito coming to New York to take on Miguel Cotto who’s always looked sensational in Madison Square Garden. Maybe it’s the crowd behind him there, but for whatever reason, Miguel always looks good in the Garden. He’s training with Emanuel Steward, and I think that’s going to mean a lot for him. I think he’s going to punch harder, he’s going to jab more, so that should be an interesting night of boxing. We’ll see if Margarito can come back after that horrific loss to Manny Pacquiao. It looks like a very interesting fall.”
[Lederman is asked about Marquez being too old.] “That’s the question. Who knows. That’s one question. The other question is, can he actually fight at 143 pounds [sic — it’s 144]? I look at Juan Manuel Marquez and he’s a ’35 pounder. Now he’s going to fight Manny Pacquiao at 143. Manny’s been fighting anywhere up to junior middleweight and it doesn’t seem to bother Manny one bit. On the other hand, you wonder if Marquez can go up that high or if it’s going to slow him down. If it slows him down he has no chance to win whatsoever. But you look at the history of trilogies, and the reason they’re fighting a third time is because the first two fights were good fights. You look at these trilogies wherether it’s (Rocky) Graziano-(Tony) Zale, Muhammad Ali-Ken Norton, Arturo Gatti-Micky Ward, the third fights are always as good as I and II. If history holds true to form, Pacquiao-Marquez III might be very good fight.”