Omaha, Nebraska – Terence Crawford just became one of the big stars in a sport filled with them. Crawford stopped former Olympic gold medalist and multiple time world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa with a hellacious uppercut in round nine.
The fight started off fast with both men exchanging hard shots. Gamboa was clearly the faster man. Crawford appeared to be surprised by the hand speed of the lightning fast Cuban. Gamboa easily took the first round. In round two Crawford switched southpaw out of what appeared to be desperation. Gamboa won round two through four with his superior hand speed and technique. In round five Gamboa was beginning to look extremely confident, moving in and out and showing off his incredible Cuban style. However, as he does in many of his fights he walked into a shot. Crawford landed a hard left hand that buckled Gamboa’s legs then put him on the canvas with a left behind the ear. Gamboa managed to beat the count but was badly hurt. He somehow managed to make it to the end of the round.
Round number six was a very close one. Crawford appeared to let Gamboa off the hook a bit and did very little in a basically even round. Round seven was a very good one for Gamboa. He managed to get his legs back and started to tee off on Crawford. Round eight was more of the same. Gamboa was darting in and out and looking like the man that dominated the featherweight division many years ago. Then in the final minute of the round he walked into a hard shot and his knee hit the canvas. He finished the round strong, but this was a huge blow on the scorecards. A three point swing in a round he was clearly winning.
Gamboa came out fast and furious in round nine, clearly going for the kill. In the opening minute of the round he wobbled and hurt Crawford with a right hook. Crawford was on shaky legs and looked to be in serious trouble. However, it was Gamboa who was in danger. In the second half of the round Crawford nailed Gamboa with a violent hook with sent him down to the canvas hard. This was far different from the two previous flash knockdowns in the fight. It looked like there was no chance that Gamboa would beat the count. Somehow he did. He wouldn’t stay on his feet for long however. A few moments later Gamboa came in wildly again and managed to land some nice shots, only to be hammered by a thunderous uppercut which ended his night once and for all.
This is the first pro loss for the sensational Cuban amateur. He is now 32 years old and fighting far above his most comfortable weight. If he wants to get back to his early success he will need to show some serious discipline and move back down in weight.
For Crawford this is a star making performance. He managed to draw nearly 12,000 rabid fans to his hometown of Omaha in only his 24th pro fight. He will likely move up in weight in his next fight as he clearly had trouble making the weight this time around.
Whatever he does, the world will be watching.