Sometimes a fighter grows old overnight notwithstanding his chronological age. The odometer may have run up too many miles or the reflexes have disappeared (as in the case of Roy Jones, Jr.) or a fighter’s lighting speed vanishes, or perhaps worse of all, the chin is no longer reliable.
Yuriorkis Gamboa aka El Ciclon de Guantánamo (26-2) is 35 but he now seems to meet all the criteria of a fighter who has grown old well before his time.
At one time, and after his Olympic gold medal, Gamboa was the next big thing who couldn’t miss. Golden Boy signed him and it seemed a sure thing. However, on Friday night at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, the Cuban shockingly quit on his stool after seven rounds of being dominated by cagey veteran Robinson Castellanos (24-12). Gamboa was decked in the third round and again early in the fourth round. Castellanos came on strong in the seventh at which point the fighter with seemingly unlimited potential told his cornermen he did not want to continue at the end of that round.. He said afterwards he felt “dizzy” and “could not go on.”
As Scott Christ points out in Bad Left Hook,
“…Gamboa’s career has been stalled out for about half a decade and his signing with Golden Boy seems to have simply come too late to help him get back in the game for real. Against Castellanos …, he just looked tired and out of his depth. If this is the end for Gamboa — and even if it’s not, it’s hard to imagine him having much left to turn it around — then we’re going to wonder “what if” for a really long time.
Incredibly, El Ciclon de Guantánamo showed no signs of a sturdy chin, quick reflexes, and most shocking of all, the lightning speed that had always been his signature. Gamboa has become “old” as that term is defined in boxing.