The writing had been on the wall long enough to know that Yuriorkis Gamboa was headed for a fall sooner than later.
His in-ring appearances had been sporadic with those performances coming meandering at best against pedestrian level opposition and had been fighting above his optimal weight for far too long. Finally, at the age of 35 and just two fights into a deal with Golden Boy Promotions that was supposed to resuscitate his career, Gamboa was dealt a critical defeat retiring on his stool to some guy named Robinson Castellanos who had lost 12 times before entering the ring.
Gamboa’s vaunted whirlwind offense was reduced to a pleasant spring breeze as he was dropped and battered before called it quits on his stool before the 8th round.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
Sure, not every great fighter gets to go out on a blaze of glory and have their heads held high in defeat like Wladimir Klitschko did against Anthony Joshua this weekend, but to see Gamboa reduced to this after watching him in his prime is somewhat tragic. In all honesty, there was no other way for this to end and he only has himself to blame for what has become of his disappointing career.
Gamboa famously walked out on a proposed fight with then-Lightweight champion Brandon Rios when he felt that he was not going to be properly compensated for the risk and had enough of playing second fiddle to Top Rank after years of being under-promoted in favor of the far-less talented Juan Manuel Lopez. Had Gamboa taken that fight, he would have easily defeated the zombie husk of a fighter Rios that Richar Abril fought in his place and would have forcefully brought the business to him.
Instead, Gamboa took a gamble on the rumor that Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Floyd Mayweather would go into business together and signed with the abortion that ended up being SMS Promotions. The Cuban wasted his time and languished in oblivion until he faced off against Terence Crawford a few years later and was stopped in nine rounds.
The move to burn his bridges with Top Rank was the deathblow to his own career that slowly carried out from then until his miserable end at the hand of Castellanos. Not only that, Gamboa had been implicated in a PED sting that all but assured he wasn’t on the level during the decreased years of activity and has left a dark cloud over the entirety of his career.
Signing with Golden Boy ultimately came at a time where there wasn’t anything left for him to offer outside of a name and an attractive scalp for the promotion’s razor-thin talent base. The end objective was to hope that he put together a string of wins to get cashed out in a high-profile beat down that would cement the status of whoever they were trying to sell in the first place.
Castellanos put an end to that, but he just ended up finishing what Gamboa started so many years ago. It wasn’t how it should have ended for such a prodigious talent, but it is the ending he wholeheartedly deserves.