One of the most discussed questions at Pearl Theatre at The Palms Casino Resorts in Las Vegas after Yuriorkis Gamboa’s impressive unanimous decision win over Mexico’s Orlando Salido had nothing to do with the scoring of the judges (116-109, 115-109, 114-109) but with Gamboa’s style.
Fans and experts argued whether they had seen a "new Gamboa" or the "same old fighter" with the same old flaws and sometimes sloppy defense.
"I feel that I am developing and improving with every fight", says Gamboa. "My trainer Ismael Salas and I have been working on different things and we made certain adjustments to my style.
"I felt – like in all of my pro-fights so far – that I was always in charge of the action and the better man in the ring. I don’t care too much if I win on points or by knockout as long as I leave the ring as winner."
2,000 fans at Pearl Theatre got to see a worthy "Battle of the Champions" as Top Rank had billed the unification bout. Gamboa started as aggressive and offensive as always pressuring him opponent from the opening bell on. In the mid-rpunds Salido adjusted better to Gamboa’s style and fought back despite being hit by some hard shots and vicious combinations.
The Cuban former amateur standout seemed impressed by Salido’s chin and the way the Mexican kept on going after him. Still Gamboa managed to adjust his game plan and change from unconditional to controlled offense.
In the 8th most spectators may have been reminded on the "old Gamboa" though when the Cuban slipped off-balance after missing a power shot which was ruled a knockdown by referee Joe Cortez.
While "El Ciclon" has answered mistakes like that with immediate furious attacks in the past, in this fight he took two rounds until he he really hurt Salido with nice combinations and hard shots to the head.
In the 12th Gamboa finally floored Salido and was almost disqualified for punching after Salido went down for a second time in that round. Only Salido getting up from the canvas to continue fighting saved the Cuban from being disqualified.
"Salido proved to be a true gentleman", said Promoter Ahmet Öner. "I saw lots of guys taking advantage of similar situations forcing referees to wave off the fight. Salido showed a lot of heart and proved that he came to fight. This fight was another important experience for Gamboa on his way to the top of the world."
On his way all the way to the top, Gamboa may meet unbeaten WBO champion Juan Manuel Lopez sooner or later who watched the fight from ringside being invited by Top Rank and promoter Bob Arum.
"I have seen an excellent fight from both guys", commented JuanMa after the bout. "I congratulate Gamboa but I also saw some things I might be able to take advantage of in case we will fight soon. There are lots of excellent fighters out there at 126 at the moment with Gamboa, Chris John and Celestino Caballero being three of the names I’m looking at."
First of all Lopez takes on Mexican ring legend Rafael Marquez in early November. „We’ll see where we go from there“, says Top Rank’s Bob Arum.
"I know that there is a lot of talk about me fighting JuanMa soon“, says Gamboa. "But it’s not my job to worry about that. I will leave this up to the promoters who want to put the fight together.
"I can only say that I am ready and up for the challenge. I want to prove that I am the best and to do so I have to beat everybody they put in front of him, no matter if his name is Salido, Rojas, John, Caballero or Lopez. Just bring 'em on!"