Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gamboa and Lopez on 2010 Collision Course

Yuriorkis Gamboa and Juan Manuel Lopez may square off in a 2010 clash of young champions.

WBA featherweight titlist Yuriorkis Gamboa is currently preparing to face-off against Rogers Mtagwa on Jan. 23 at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Gamboa turned 28-years-old last week and with a pro record of 16-0, 14 KOs he is ready to make 2010 his breakout year.

The Cuban sensation, who won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics, is looking forward to a possible match-up later in the year versus the undefeated Juan Manuel Lopez who will meet WBO featherweight belt-holder Stevie Luevano on the same card at MSG. Should they both prove victorious on the 23rd there has been talk the two will be matched later in the year.

“I don’t like to talk about the hypothetical,” said Gamboa through interpreter and manager Tony Gonzalez. “But the rumors have been going on for quite a while about the two of us fighting each other. We both have to win on the 23rd for that to happen. I would like for all of the talking to stop and I would like to put the rumors to rest, too. It’s time to probably stop talking and just fight.”

Lopez barely squeaked past Mtagwa this past October with a twelve-round unanimous decision victory. The Tanzanian-born Mtagwa, who fights out of Philadelphia, was soon offered the title fight against Gamboa by Top Rank, who promotes both Gamboa and Lopez.

“I can tell you that it won’t even be the same kind of fight and the outcome will be a lot different,” said Gamboa when asked about Mtagwa’s chances. “Me and Mtagwa are two different types of fighters and I believe that I’m in a different class - a higher class - than he is. I can tell you that this fight is not going to go to a decision.”

Most believe the Gamboa-Mtagwa match-up will be a good measuring stick with which to compare the respective abilities of Gamboa and Lopez. With over three weeks to go before fight night, Gamboa claims he is already in great condition and that he’s looking forward to proving that he can do a better job against Mtagwa than Lopez did.

“This is a good fight for me,” he said. “This fight, for Mtagwa, isn’t going to be like the Lopez fight at all. But when the people see me against him, the people are going to see the difference between Lopez and myself.”

December 2009

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