Two men enter, one man leaves. As Oscar exits the stage (please check it out) I will nominate a new soldier of fortune to ascend.
I’m always hesitant to invest myself in prospects, not only because I find it perilous to foresee what a man is made of until they’ve leapt into the crucible, but also because I find the years of step-up fights and mismatches depressing. Still, talent cannot be denied, and Yuriorkis Gamboa is that. He has many things to commend him; the melodious name, the pedigree of the Cuban amateur, and those fast hands. Those hands that look like they are trick photography and seem a combination of Meldrick Taylor and Roy Jones. There are things that can’t be taught, and Gamboa has all of that, a wicked combination of dazzling speed and power that causes one to salivate at the possibilities. Gamboa, a featherweight who one imagines in time will move up to lightweight, flurries in quick bursts as a kind of squids-ink camouflage to better detonate his money left hook and right uppercut.
However, like all those with superpowers his speed and talent also provides his vulnerability. His manifest gifts have given him an insolence and contempt towards his opponents that I find as attractive as the fast hands and statue physique. He walks forward, hands down, darting feet with no more respect than a medieval night confronting a child with a homemade bow and arrow. And he has paid for the overconfidence, suffering several flash knockdowns as he opens up without fear of reprisal and finding the canvas for his trouble. Tito Trinidad was the same way, though more power than speed, and we loved him for it. For his joyful, stalking sense of superiority. Whether Gamboa’s disdain will last as he faces higher quality opposition or if he will use the skills that made him a successful amateur remains to be seen, but at this point his combination of raw brilliance and bonehead aggressiveness intrigue me. He has a real cruel streak in the ring, a sadistic disdain that seems that of a showman who’s dancing partner is not up to the challenge.
Even his looks say that to me, the sculpted body and lounge singer hair. He reminds me of the cabana boys in “Night of the Iguana,” flitting and chirping and knowing something in the language of 48 frames per second that those of us living in a 32 frames world do not. Normally I would think him ripe for a change in trainer, still young enough to marry his physical bravado with the more exacting, scientific style that I find most attractive. But in his case I feel an almost sadistic desire to see just how far exuberance can take him, the beauty and limitlessness of the not-knowing is what’s intoxicating.
Gamboa faces Jose Rojas tonight on Showtime for an interim, “title” only two years into his career. Although I’ve never seen Rojas before it should be interesting as he has fought both Chris John and Celestino Caballero with moderate success. With Gamboa’s electric talent it’s hard to imagine too stern a test, but it’s that creeping suspicion that he’s one mistake from regret or inspiration that has me on his side and watching, and hoping for something special.
The Day Never Ended
5 years ago