By Ian S Palmer
Former World Featherweight Champion Yuriorkis Gamboa of Cuba returns to the ring at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York this Saturday when he takes on Rene Alvarado of Nicaragua in a 10-round junior lightweight bout. The fight can be seen live on HBO in the U.S. while fans in the UK can catch the action on BoxNation. Gamboa last fought in December of 2015 when he beat Hylon Williams Jr. by 10-roundunanimous decision. Alvarado’s last contest took place last July when he beat Jayson Velez by a 10-round split decision.
The 35-year-old Gamboa hasn’t fought in well over a year now and will have some ring rust to work off. He enters the fight with an impressive record of 25-1 along with 17 Kos. His lone career loss was a ninth-round TKO to Terence Crawford in a WBO World Lightweight Title fight in June of 2014. He’s won both of his fights since then against Grade B opponents. Gamboa has quick hands, but still doesn’t let them go nearly enough and has just one stoppage in his last nine outings. Gamboa, who now fights out of Miami, Florida, stands just over 5-feet-5-inches tall with a 65-inch reach.
He’s boxed 146 rounds since turning pro and has pretty good power with a current knockout ratio of 65 per cent. Gamboa has an excellent amateur career with 250 bouts and won a gold medal for Cuba as a flyweight at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. In some fans’ eyes Gamboa has somewhat wasted his opportunity at an excellent pro career due to his constant periods of inactivity even though he’s held a featherweight world title and interim lightweight belt and has wins over Orlando Salido, Daniel Ponce De Leon, Jorge Solis, and Jonathan Victor Barros.
The 28-year-old Alvarado climbs through the ring ropes with a record of 24-7 with 16 Kos. He’s fought 178 rounds since turning pro in 2008 and has decent power with a knockout ratio of 52 per cent. He’s 5-feet-7-inches tall with a 72-inch reach which gives him a seven-inch height and 1.5-inch reach advantage over Gamboa. He’s lost five of his last nine fights, but has been stopped just once in his seven career losses.
His best wins have been against Velez and Juan Pablo Sanchez. Alvarado was stopped by Andrew Cancio in the eighth round in December of 2015 and has dropped decisions to Orlando Rizo, Jezreel Corrales, Rocky Juarez, Eric Hunter, Joseph Diaz, and Manuel Avila. Alvarado is basically a journeyman who will be taking a decided leap up in class on Saturday when he faces Gamboa.
The 35-year-old Gamboa has good speed, power, and movement and plenty of boxing skills. As long as he hasn’t forgotten how to box during his latest layoff he shouldn’t have a problem beating Alvarado. Hopefully he’ll be back in the ring again soon if he manages to beat Alvarado.