Brandon Rios and Yuriorkis Gamboa appear headed for an April 14 clash on HBO. (Photos by Al Bello and Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
With opponents not easy to find and the date already pushed back once because of that, Top Rank's Todd duBoef is throwing in the towel on a double-header meant to build to a Brandon Rios vs Yuriorkis Gamboa showdown, and Ryan Burton reports that Rios vs Gamboa right now is the new plan for April 14.
"The plan was for them both to appear in separate fights on the same card. Now I am talking to both HBO about having them fight each other next," DuBoef told BoxingScene.com.
I can't imagine a world where HBO says, "No, no thanks," so if duBoef is serious here, then this is some really exciting news. This is a fight that should make any fight fan salivate. Rios' inside pressure fighting and relentless stalking vs Gamboa's speed, technique, and lightning combinations.
Rios (29-0-1, 22 KO) is coming off of a December win over John Murray, a bloody and brutal affair. The Mexican-American lightweight missed weight for that one, but a nutritionist has been brought in to help him make weight easier and prevent him from being forced to move up in weight just yet.
At 5'8" with a big frame, Rios is a huge lightweight, which could help make up for any talent disadvantages against Gamboa, who has never really fought over featherweight in his career, dabbling a few times at 130. Every fight Rios had in 2011 -- wins over Miguel Acosta, Urbano Antillon, and Murray -- was an exciting fight. He just doesn't know how to be in a bad fight.
Gamboa (21-0, 16 KO) is the true standout of the last decade's influx of Cuban talent, having had almost his entire career, every fight televised in the United States. Unlike most his countrymen, Gamboa can put on good fights and be really thrilling to watch, though he isn't always. He's a brash, confident guy who has no fear of moving up to 135 straight away and taking on arguably the best true lightweight in the world (if you no longer count Juan Manuel Marquez at 135, it's Rios or Miguel Vazquez).
Gamboa's two wins in 2011 were both trademark types: He slashed through Jorge Solis in March and made a good fighter look pathetic, and in October he easily beat Daniel Ponce De Leon, without taking any risks or making it much fun to watch.
If Rios vs Gamboa gets made for April 14, I don't care what Mayweather or Pacquiao sign for their next fights: This will be the best fight on the schedule, and the one I will be looking forward to seeing the most. Here's hoping this beauty of a matchup comes through.