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Gamboa vs Perez: Preview and predictions from the BLH staff

Yuriorkis Gamboa returns to the ring on Saturday night against Darleys Perez. Will the Cuban standout keep on rolling, or is a jump to lightweight going to prove too dangerous?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Scott Christ

Gamboa doesn't take punches all that well, but that's about the only concern for him going into this fight, where he jumps up to 135 pounds. I've no doubt that the Cuban is more than talented enough to win fights against anyone at 135 -- including Adrien Broner -- but it's a concern of whether or not he can continue to survive scares, as he has done at 126 and 130. His career has been no disappointment in most ways -- he's yet to lose, he's beaten some good fighters, he's won a world title, his talent has matched the hype. But in others, he's surely been a letdown. He's become no level of attraction, other than TV people, boxing diehards, and MMA crossover fans being in love with him, and he's made some curious career choices, like agreeing to fight Brandon Rios, then backing out, disappearing, going to court, and winding up with an aging rapper promoting him, which means that Gamboa has fought in the "hey, can we have a spot on the show?" role on Top Rank and Shaw/Michel events.

Perez might wind up being strong enough to stop Gamboa, but otherwise I can't see how he wins. It will be interesting to see if Yuriorkis can take the punches at 135, and if he can hurt a lightweight, although Perez isn't exactly a physically imposing guy in his official listings. Gamboa's going to be really tiny at 135, though -- those extra couple inches of height and reach and the extra bit of mass Perez may have tomorrow could make this a fight. The further up in weight he goes, and the bigger guys he faces, the more I expect two things from Gamboa: Potential trouble against fighters he can outclass in terms of talent, and far less of a "wow" factor to his performances as a result. Gamboa by decision.

Tom Craze

On paper this is another straightforward enough outing for Gamboa, who's really now starting to do big things under his new promoter, who's moving him along at a wicked pace.

Unfortunately for Gamboa, though, his fights are rarely as straightforward as logic would suggest they might be, and Perez's KO-heavy record hints at the possibility of more trouble ahead.

To his credit, he always gets the job done. Gamboa may never be the P4P sensation we once thought he might be - and you get the feeling that there are a few in his new division that could give him issues - but Perez is unlikely to be the one. Gamboa TKO9

Dave Oakes

Gamboa has all the ability needed to become a superstar; unfortunately he doesn't seem to have the willpower. He was small at super-feather and I have a hard time believing he struggled to make weight enough for him to move up to lightweight, which is what he's done. His inactivity is a worry as well - he's only fought once in over 18 months, mainly due to contractual difficulties. At 31, he really needs to get a move on, fighting more regularly and fighting the big names.

In Darleys Perez, Gamboa faces someone he should beat easily. The Colombian is a decent all-round fighter but isn't exceptional at one particular thing and hasn't fought anyone of note, the best win on his résumé being a controversial split decision against the distinctly average Bahodir Mamadjonov.

It'll be interesting to see how Gamboa looks at the weight, and how he deals with Perez's size and natural weight advantages. Gamboa should have too much for Perez, although Perez looks solid enough to go the distance. Gamboa via points.

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