If David Lemieux-Curtis Stevens on Saturday night was precisely the type of fight for which HBO’s Boxing After Dark was designed, Yuriorkis Gamboa-Rene Alvarado was precisely the type of fight Boxing After Dark was designed to ignore.
Gamboa-Alvarado was ten rounds of nothingness showcasing a multi-talented failed superstar refusing to do anything other than the bare minimum against a club-level talent incapable of making it a fight. In other words, it was an utter bore and a real test of patience for those tuning in to see the guaranteed war in the main event.
Yes, Gamboa was coming off a fifteen-month layoff and was going to be rusty. He also needed rounds. So, maybe fighting a guy like Alvarado was a necessity– a necessity in the same way standing in line at the DMV is a dreary necessity every so often. But, man oh man, did HBO have to televise it, especially on the undercard of the bombs-away Lemieux-Stevens battle? A mid-card, off-TV spot would’ve been much better.
The Cuban represents the closest thing to an easy, painless money fight in the immediate future for HBO darling Vasyl Lomachenko and that likely influenced the premium channel’s decision to book Gamboa for an on-air showing. Saturday’s performance, though, did nothing to pre-sell Lomachenko-Gamboa. If anything, it put the final nail in the coffin when it comes to the two-time Olympic gold medalist’s chances of becoming the star he was once forecast to be.
At 35 years of age, bogged down in inactivity, and arguably fighting one or two weight classes above his ideal size, Gamboa has handicapped himself greatly. In this latest run at relevance under the promotional guidance of new promoter, Golden Boy, El Ciclon de Guantánamo may achieve little more than the goal of being a well-paid fall guy for Lomachenko or whoever else is willing to pay for the privilege of having Gamboa’s name on their resume.
Of course, he could shock the world and finally pull it all together to upset the plans in place– he’s <em>that</em> talented. But that won’t happen with the mindset he showed against Alvarado or in any number of his recent bouts.
Following Gamboa’s career over the years has been a frustrating endeavor. Gifted with all the tools to make for a legendary fighter, he has chronically underachieved and underwhelmed. It’s like watching a guy with his own Blackhawk helicopter and all he does with it is hang laundry from the propellers in his back yard.
Even though there is just one actual loss on his ledger, Yuriorkis Gamboa’s career has been characterized by two steps backwards for every one step forward. Sooner or later there will be no more steps and all the promise he once showed will officially remain unfulfilled. That day is soon approaching, if it hasn’t already passed.