It wasn’t the grand return Yuriorkis Gamboa had hoped for when he ended a 15-month hiatus in March.
Gamboa recorded a unanimous decision over Rene Alvarado, but he was showered with boos from the New York crowd for giving them a dull performance.
The Cuban fighter said his lack of inactivity led to the slow-paced fight. That explains why Gamboa jumped at the opportunity to headline Friday’s Golden Boy on ESPN card at the MGM Grand Garden.
Gamboa will face Robinson Castellanos in a 10-round lightweight matchup. The opening bell is scheduled for 4 p.m., after the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. weigh-ins.
The Golden Boy Promotions card will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes at 5 p.m. Fans with tickets to Friday’s fights will get priority seating for the weigh-in.
“It was good to get the rust off, and with another fight quickly after my last one, it will only help me,” Gamboa said. “I want to get back to my top form.”
The former Olympic gold medalist was one of the top prospects six years ago and was living up to the hype. Gamboa (26-1, 17 knockouts) was a unified featherweight champion in 2010.
Gamboa’s career stalled after losing to Terence Crawford in 2014.
“I think I’m finding my rhythm,” said Gamboa, who used to train in Las Vegas. “I’ve moved my training to Miami, and I feel good.”
El Terrible chimes in
Erik “El Terrible” Morales knows all about heated rivalries.
Morales’ epic trilogy against fellow Mexican Marco Antonio Barrera has been brought up often during Saul “Canelo” Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight week.
“This will be an exciting fight,” Morales said of Saturday’s bout at T-Mobile Arena. “If Canelo is able to beat Chavez, then the people will want him to fight Gennady Golovkin.”
Morales said Alvarez is a star in Mexico, but added he is not close to being considered one of the all-time Mexican greats.
“As a technical fighter, Canelo still needs a lot of work,” said Morales, who won titles in four weight divisions. “To be a grand boxing figure of Mexico, he still needs work, and he will have a lot more fights to get there.
“I’m not saying he won’t be remembered as one of the greats, but he needs to work for it first.”
Getting a last-minute ticket to Saturday’s Alvarez-Chavez Jr. bout won’t be cheap. According to TicketIQ.com:
There are more than 1,000 tickets available on the secondary market. The cheapest ticket available is $427.
This is the third most expensive Alvarez fight TicketIQ has tracked on the secondary market. Alvarez’s most expensive bout was against Floyd Mayweather Jr. at the MGM Grand in 2013 when the cheapest tickets went for $1,187.
The second most expensive was 2015 versus Miguel Cotto at Mandalay Bay, which cost a minimum of $548. The cheapest ticket for Alvarez’s previous fight at T-Mobile Arena, against Amir Khan in May 2016, was $216.
Contact Gilbert Manzano at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0492. Follow @gmanzano24 on Twitter.
Golden Boy on ESPN
Time: 4 p.m. Friday, MGM Grand Garden
TV: ESPN2/ESPN Deportes telecast at 5 p.m.
Seating: Fans with tickets to Friday’s card get priority seating for Alvarez-Chavez Jr. weigh-ins