Yuriorkis Gamboa is seldom seen.
He’s only fought five times in as many years…and has looked less than spectacular going 2-1 in his last three fights.
Between the inactivity and the loss, Gamboa needed to make a statement.
To that end, Rene Alvarado was chosen to be the warm butter through which Gamboa was going to slice.
Alvarado has only won two of his last five fights.
Once the bell rang for their Lightweight bout, Gamboa and Alvarado did a lot of circling, but not enough punching.
Alvarado’s average punch-output for his last few fights has been well over 80 per round. It was less than 35 in the first half of this match.
The lack of action made the boo-birds start to sing at the arena.
Despite the ring rust Gamboa was clearly the aggressor. But there was no explosion…even the fuse fizzled.
The only interesting action in the ring was when the round-card girls swept through.
The bout went the distance and Gamboa was awarded a unanimous decision win.
Yuriorkis improves his record to 26-1, with 17 wins coming by way of knockout, but this exhibition did nothing to improve his chances of being considered a force in this division.
The main event of the evening was the battle for the belts (WBC Continental Americas title, the vacant IBF North American and WBO Intercontinental title) all in the Middleweight division.
Former titleholder David Lemieux (36-3-0, 32 KO’s) laced them up against current titleholder Curtis Stevens (29-5-0, 21 KO’s).
This fight was the antithesis of the Gamboa/Alvarado bout.
The leather was flying from the first bell.
Both boxers were doubling and tripling up on their jabs and throwing multiple, complex combinations.
Halfway into the opening frame Lemieux flicked out two jabs and followed them with a sweeping overhand right that landed to Stevens’ left temple.
Rocked by the shot, he went into “cover-up mode.”
Lemieux pressed him to the ropes and landed some thudding body shots before Stevens returned fire and moved forward.
Stevens came out of the peek-a-boo stance and landed a serious left hook to the jaw, but Lemieux only redoubled his attack.
Tenderizing the ribs on both side before slicing up the middle with an uppercut, Lemieux then landed to the head with lefts and rights.
Stevens circled away and there was a short respite until the 10-second notification came.
Lemieux threw 11 punches before the bell sounded. He landed from hip to head, doing damage to the body, and Stevens was in trouble again.
Round 2 was more of the same. Both of them throwing punches-in-bunches with Lemieux pressing the action. Stevens worked to the body.
The slugfest continued into the 3rd.
For almost two minutes it was an even round.
Lemieux then feinted a jab, followed by a spearing right to the forehead. He finished with a whipping left hook that landed flush to face…and it was over.
It was like Lemieux had flipped a light switch. Stevens was out.
He fell sideways, then rolled to his back under the ropes and onto the apron.
The referee quickly waved in the medical team.
Stevens was strapped to an EMT backboard, carried from the ring and whisked to the hospital.
Lemieux showed true sportsmanship (a virtue sorely lacking these days), as some of his first words were wishes for Stevens’ health and recovery.
The following day, Stevens reached out on social media to say he was fine.
Lemieux’s one-punch K.O. has to be a candidate for “Knockout of the Year.”
God Bless and keep a light on.
Mark Felicetti wants to hear from you. Reach him at email@example.com.