Yuriorkis Gamboa hasn't had the smoothest sailing pro career, especially lately, as the Cuban star missed nearly all of 2012 due to a dispute with Top Rank, which ultimately led to him being bought out by 50 Cent, who then wound up sticking him on the Top Rank-promoted Pacquiao-Marquez IV PPV in December.
Gamboa survived that night, moving up to 130 pounds and coming off the canvas to edge past Michael Farenas, an unheralded Filipino battler who was grossly outclassed in pure skill, but not in heart, chin, or determination. Gamboa (22-0, 16 KO) then made the decision to move up to the lightweight division, barking about fighting Adrien Broner, but instead settling for a June 8 HBO co-feature bout against Darley Perez in Montreal. Chad Dawson faces Adonis Stevenson in the night's main event.
Perez (28-0, 19 KO) is a 29-year-old Colombian with little on his record of worth, but as we saw on Saturday with Chelo Gonzalez, untested doesn't mean soft -- it can mean anything. His best win is a 10-round split decision over Bahodir Mamadjonov, who recently upset another Cuban, Angelo Santana, on ShoBox, then made the sad decision to sign with Don King and ruin whatever career he may have had in the short-term, most likely.
"I wouldn't dare take Gamboa lightly, I'll train hard for a tough fight and he'd be well-advised to do the same because I'm a top fighter. I will prove to everyone that I am a world-class fighter and the rest of the world will figure out what I already know after June 8th," said Perez recently.
His co-promoter Gary Shaw doesn't see this as a chance for an upset, but instead a chance for Perez to show the world who he is.
"You have to understand that we've been waiting on an opportunity like this for Perez to make his mark. Some may feel like it is Darley's chance to pull off the shocking upset, but I see it as more of a coming out party. We've had him caged in waiting for the chance to unleash the beast and we could've pulled the trigger a couple fights back and then the world would be aware of his chances in this fight. But because we knew that an opportunity like this was only a matter of time we waited and now he will show he's been a top contender all along," Shaw said.
Alex Camponovo, GM of Thompson Boxing, Perez's other co-promoter, has similar thoughts. "Darley Perez is not a simple opponent, he has the necessary tools to back up his undefeated record and he will be ready to fight a guy like Gamboa. We are excited to get him this opportunity and we trust in his ability."
Gamboa, 31, simply says the he plans on showing his best again on June 8. Perhaps not having a year's worth of ring rust will show him in better form than he was in December, where he alternated between his usual brilliance and his occasional vulnerability. It's no secret that Gamboa can be knocked down and hurt -- if Perez's power is real, he could be a genuine danger to the Cuban.