The fight began with much respect from
Gamboa who sized up Ponce from a distance. Ponce moved well early, keeping a
distance between him and the Cuban, stepping with his jab and winning the first
round more in part due to Gamboa’s cautious approach.
In the second, Gamboa saw what he needed
to and began testing the waters of combination throwing. However, Ponce de Leon
came to win and fought with determination as he tried to match Gamboa punch for
punch despite a speed deficiency.
As the rounds wore on, Gamboa seemed to
have trouble getting untracked. While he was able to land single shots from
both the southpaw and orthodox position on his southpaw opponent, Gamboa didn’t
really take over the momentum until about the sixth round. He tried previously
in the fifth but Ponce landed a nice left and right that backed up Gamboa and
kept him at bay.
When he was worked by Gamboa into the
corner, Ponce de Leon would come right back with a couple of hard shots and the
two would move out into the center of the ring. Ponce de Leon stayed within his
comfort zone, even while eating right hands or the occasional left hook.
In the seventh, Gamboa began to take
control, using his speed to land seemingly at will but Ponce de Leon was never
deterred. At 31 years of age and with 41 wins against four losses and with 31
knockouts, he has seen it all. The 29-year-old with only 21 wins against zero
losses and 16 knockouts brought speed and power but was not exactly a mystery.
Ponce de Leon stayed the course and kept hoping for that one good shot. It
In the eighth, the two men came forward
at the same time, banged heads and a cut opened up on Ponce’s left eyebrow, blood
flowing into his eye. Referee Allan Huggins stopped the action and the ringside
doctor, after a long examination, stopped the fight and we went to the cards.
“This fight was very important to me,”
Gamboa told HBO’s Max Kellerman after the fight. “This man took me to the
eighth and people said I would be in danger if I was in that range. My purpose
was to extend the fight and go beyond four rounds because many people said if I
went beyond the four, that he would be able to knock me out. But my purpose was
to go beyond that.”
As to the future, Gamboa told Kellerman,
“As I said before, I want to go for Manny Pacquiao and go for the best
pound-for-pound fighters because obviously in my weight division, I have no