The other day in our fight preview, I pointed out a few things that discouraged me about Cuban favorite Yuriorkis Gamboa. I also said that I wanted to believe in the full hype, wanted to see him be that explosive, intense offensive fighter we've seen him be in the past.
If by remote chance that somehow inspired Yuriorkis Gamboa tonight, I would like to publicly apologize to Jorge Solis.
Gamboa (20-0, 16 KO) completely dominated Solis (40-3-2, 29 KO), knocking him down five times en route to a fourth round stoppage in a totally overwhelming display of speed, power, and pure athletic ability. It was the type of performance that anyone would like to see out of any fighter, but keep in mind this came against a good pro. Solis is not a great fighter or close to it. He's limited, and he's reached his ceiling. But Solis knows what he's doing out there, and he couldn't handle anything Gamboa brought to the table.
After the fight, when asked by HBO's Max Kellerman what it's like to fight Gamboa, Solis replied, "It's terrible." The Mexican veteran also said that Manny Pacquiao did not have the same power as Gamboa. Solis fought and lost to Pacquiao by KO-8 in 2007.
You really can't say enough about what Gamboa did offensively tonight, so I won't even try to go into specifics. He was a force of nature in the ring. After the fight, the issue of him fighting Juan Manuel Lopez was pushed, and in what probably was a nicely scripted moment, Lopez entered the ring and said that he'd gladly fight Gamboa after his April 16 bout with Orlando Salido, but did asterisk himself with "we just have to negotiate."
In the co-feature, Mikey Garcia (25-0, 21 KO) outclassed Connecticut's Matt Remillard (23-1, 13 KO) in another featherweight attraction, knocking Remillard down three times in ten rounds. After the 10th, Remillard was pulled out of the fight between rounds. Remillard was clearly out of his depth as this fight wore on, as he didn't have the power or it seemed the overall talent to give Garcia any real trouble. But he showed a lot of heart. He got up from all of those knockdowns and fought on. He hung in the best he could, and at what turned out to be the closing stages of the fight, he was still fighting. He seemed to mentally check out in the middle rounds, discouraged by the fact that he was obviously losing the fight, but I won't say he gave a poor accounting of himself. This was a massive step up in class for Remillard, who has been spoonfed fighting in the northeast, which happens quite a bit. Hopefully we'll see him work his way back, because there's a land of fighters he skipped over to go from where he was to fighting Garcia.
Results from the Off-HBO Undercard
- Teon Kennedy UD-12 Jorge Diaz: What I could manage to get on Top Rank's lousy, choppy, low quality stream was a very good fight. Both traded blows and showed a lot of grit and determination. Kennedy (17-0, 7 KO) wound up keeping his perfect record, but two of the scores (115-111, 118-109, 117-109) were booed by the crowd, and probably didn't reflect the performance of Diaz, who falls to 15-1 (9 KO).
- Glen Tapia UD-6 Eberto Medina: Probably would have liked to have seen a stoppage here, all things considered, but Tapia won on wide scores to improve to 9-0 (5 KO). He's no blue chipper, but he should be making his way to TV screens within the next year.
- Camilo Perez KO-1 Desi Williams: I forgot who it was watching in the live thread for these fights, but someone said that Williams was about as bad a fighter as they'd ever seen. Perez is now 2-0 (2 KO).
- Miguel Cartagena UD-4 Omar Gonzalez: Maybe not the best start to Cartagena's pro career, but the U.S. amateur standout is only 18 and won on shutout scores. He was also oddly matched with a southpaw in his first pro fight.
- Tom Zbikowski UD-4 Caleb Grummet: OOOH!!! TOMMY Z!!!! OOOH!!! I FEEL SO LEGITIMATE AS A BOXING FAN NOW THAT THE FOOTBALL FELLOW IS IN THE SPORT!!!! OOOH!!! Grummet is really a novice MMA fighter who dabbles in boxing. Zbikowski won on scores of 39-36 (twice) and 38-37. Listen: They found some guy who isn't a boxer willing to fight the football player. To say I have grown quickly tired of this would be a huge understatement.
I'll end this on a better note, though. Tonight HBO Sports gave Nick Charles, the veteran sportscaster and one of the notable voices in boxing for the last couple of decades, the chance to return to the airwaves and call the Garcia-Remillard fight. Charles has been battling bladder cancer since 2009, and while obviously you can tell looking at him that he's not physically the same anymore, he did a genuinely terrific job calling the action tonight. He was prepared, had clearly studied the fighters and done his homework, sounded thrilled to be there, and just did a tremendous job. HBO Sports made a high-class move with this decision, and they gave a high-class human being an opportunity he richly deserved. Great job tonight, Nick. It was good to hear you again.