Yuriorkis Gamboa let his promoter handle the theatrics. He focused on taking care of business.
The former world featherweight champion returned to the ring after a 15-month hiatus and had no problem handling Michael Farenas on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden in the lead-in to Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez’s fourth fight. Gamboa won a 12-round unanimous decision to improve to 22-0 and become the WBA interim super featherweight champion.
“I haven’t fought in a long time,” said Gamboa, who was ahead on the scorecards 117-109, 117-108 and 118-108. “I needed rounds, but I felt I did well, and I entertained the crowd.”
With rapper and promoter 50 Cent dropping down from the rafters on a cable into the ring, singing the entire time, the sellout crowd of 16,000 went wild. Then it was Gamboa’s turn to excite the fans.
He went right after Farenas (34-4-1), and late in the second round, a looping right hook landed squarely on Farenas’ temple and sent him to the canvas. By the third round, Farenas was cut over both eyes, and his left eye was a constant problem as cutman Miguel Diaz worked feverishly to keep the bleeding at bay.
But even when Farenas tried to fight back – he landed two terrific lefts in the fourth that would have put most fighters on their backsides – Gamboa showed he had a pretty fair chin and absorbed Farenas’ best efforts.
Early in the seventh round, a straight right to the chin by Gamboa knocked Farenas off balance, and his glove touched the mat, resulting in a knockdown. Moments later, Gamboa had Farenas in bigger trouble, but Farenas survived.
But just when it appeared Gamboa was going to cruise to the finish line, he got careless in the ninth, and Farenas hit him with a short, sharp left and knocked him down. But Gamboa overcame the mishap.
“Wow, that was a really good fight,” 50 Cent said.
Miguel Angel Vazquez had no problem retaining his IBF lightweight title, overwhelming challenger Mercito Gesta to win a 12-round unanimous decision.
Vazquez (25-3) outboxed Gesta (26-1-1) from start to finish and led 119-109, 118-110 and 117-111 on the scorecards.
“The game plan was to keep him on the outside, and it worked perfectly,” Vazquez said.
Gesta said it was a frustrating night.
“I never got into a rhythm during this fight,” he said. “I tried to get inside, but I couldn’t get to him.”
Javier Fortuna won a one-sided and boring 12-round unanimous decision over Patrick Hyland to capture the WBA interim featherweight title and hand Hyland his first professional loss.
Fortuna (21-0) dominated for most of the fight, and Hyland (27-1) had points deducted for hitting low and throwing Fortuna down. Fortuna led on the scorecards 118-110, 116-112 and 115-113.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.