Isaac Cruz, Jose Valenzuela, and Cody Crowley had their way in a trio of one-sided fights against veterans who all looked some degree of ancient on the Spence vs Ugas pay-per-view undercard.
Cruz (23-2-1, 16 KO) routed and frankly embarrassed a 40-year-old version of Yuriorkis Gamboa (30-5, 18 KO) in the “co-main event” on the $75 pay-per-view show, dropping Gamboa four times before referee Mark Calo-oy mercifully stopped the absurd mismatch at 1:32 of round five.
Gamboa was rocked badly within seconds of the opening bell, and actually went down in rounds two, three, four, and five, the last one seeing him held up by the ropes, at which point Calo-oy thought, “Yeah, that’s probably enough.”
Gamboa has now lost three straight — all to good fighters, mind you — and probably is facing a retirement he won’t actually take. There’s probably someone out there who’s thinking about doing a Gamboa vs Miguel Berchelt $15-20 pay-per-view on FITE within the next nine to 12 months, and it’ll be called “Night of Champions” or some such.
Cruz is a real contender at 135 lbs, which is a damn good division, and he just did his job here, the same as the guys who won the two fights before this. But the matchmaking on this PPV undercard was atrocious; in a reasonable world, like one that isn’t professional boxing, we would have just seen three retirements. It’s more likely we saw zero.
Jose Valenzuela KO-1 Francisco Vargas
Vargas is definitely not what he used to be, he’s been through the wars, taken punishment, he’s 37, all that is true. But it’s not like Isaac Cruz did this to him 10 months when he last fought. Cruz went the distance — dominated, yes, but it went 10 rounds. It took Miguel Berchelt a full six rounds in an ill-advised 2019 rematch between those two.
Valenzuela (12-0, 8 KO) landed a left hand on the chin and this one was over in 85 seconds. Vargas (27-4-2, 19 KO) deserves credit and admiration for a tremendous career, at one point he was arguably the sport’s best action fighter, and he gave us some absolute wars. This was just a wipeout, though; Valenzuela is a proper lightweight, and he’s young and on the rise big time. Vargas is not a proper lightweight, and while he probably will fight on, maybe pick up a win or two before trying another prospect on for size, he is done as a relevant contender or anything like that.
But Valenzuela, 22, is definitely one to have on your radar. This is two straight fights that were steps forward for him where he just smoked someone. He’s on the rise.
Cody Crowley UD-10 Josesito Lopez
Well, Canada’s Crowley is no one-fight wonder, didn’t have that big upset win over Kudratillo Abdukakhorov last year and then fizzle out, as he handled business effectively in a clear win over the veteran Lopez here.
Crowley (21-0, 9 KO) was his usual active, effective self, and after the fight he called to be put in with someone who can test him and put him in a position he’s never been in before. Lopez (38-9, 21 KO) fought aggressively and well in spurts, but they were just spurts here and there, mostly focused on doing damage to the body, which isn’t a bad idea against a pressure guy like Crowley, but it just didn’t work like the 37-year-old vet needed.
Crowley is in the right stable for his division for sure, PBC have plenty of names to match him against, and