From the sixteenth of May, 2008, written by Manuel Perez, I select this article for our first throwback article spotlight. This isn't meant to belittle any opinion or fighter, only to show interesting retrospective takes on fighters. This is particularly interesting for how Gamboa, who had a very different start to Pacquiao, coming off a great amateur career, had the world on alert from the start and when Pacquiao was thought to be closing out his brilliant career. Since then, Gamboa has really fallen off, even years before his first and only loss recently, coming to a strange career stall, where he'd been something of a mini-Tysonesque figure when he showed up.
(Click here to read this throwback article spotlight: Is Gamboa Already Better Than Pacquiao?)
The Gamboa fights became less exciting, whether the match itself or the opponents he was fighting, the enthusiasm dimmed considerably, the activity level dropped, and the big names of Marquez and Pacquiao had moved up well out of reach in weight and even popularity. Now, here Pacquiao is, not only having not passed a torch to Gamboa, but with both Juan Manuel Marquez and himself still considered amongst the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, when it's really shocking that they are still fighting for major world titles at all, let alone at welterweight. Pacquiao just clearly bested another top ten regarded fighter in the sport, not just the division, in his 63rd professional contest and at age 35. Juan Manuel Marquez just blistered Mike Alvarado over 12, a recent world titlist in what went from a clear domination early to a very nice fight in the second half, at age 40 then, in his 64th bout, when outgunning a younger contender in a firefight at the weight seems like it should be less and less likely with every passing year. Gamboa, at 32, still has merely 24 fights under his belt.
This article illustrates, for me, not that there's anything wrong with the excellent Gamboa's achievements or anything at all less than admirable in his losing attempt to beat Terence Crawford, who is also excellent, but instead how great the legends of both Marquez and Pacquiao continue to grow, engulfing younger would-be superstars that haven't turned out the same kind of transcendent figures, men who were supposed to take the torch in the eyes of many. How they are still ahead of that next generation that was supposed to take over, the Donaires, the Gamboas, the Juan Manuel Lopezes, the last of which maybe completely done with the sport having seemed to have so much more upside at one point than these older athletes. It's truly the stuff of legends that these guys were thought at one time to possibly be jumping the same kind of weight and garnering the same world title numbers and being go-to fixtures of the PPV sales and the older generation still sits comfortably above in both general regard as athletes and love of the people.
Quote Highlights from Mr. Perez's article on then white-hot prospect Yuriorkis Gamboa:
"After only nine fights, many people, this writer included, feel that
Gamboa is already the best super featherweight in the division, even
better than champion Manny Pacquiao and former champion Juan Manuel
"While this is only speculation on most people’s part, the evidence seems
to suggest that Gamboa is already far better than Pacquiao in terms of
talent, and well on his way to being more popular than him, at least in
the U.S., if not the Philippines where Pacquiao resides."
"I can see Gamboa stepping to the side like a matador and eating Pacquiao up with some fierce shots."
"I think a young Pacquiao would fight Gamboa in a second, but not
now that Pacquiao is starting to show a little wear and tear."
"I like Pacquiao as a fighter, and think he’s in the top two in the
super featherweight division, right behind Marquez, but he wouldn’t have
the goods to beat Gamboa, and neither would Marquez for that matter."
It's amazing how the times change and how they stay the same, isn't it?
Work that bag,
Basement Gym Boxing
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