Terence Crawford has made it extremely hard to argue his position as the very best fighter competing in the sport of boxing today.
He cemented that status with a win over Errol Spence Jr to hold all four belts in the welterweight division.
Despite the fact that it was billed as a pick ’em bout, with many respected pundits making good arguments for a Spence win, Crawford dominated and didn’t break much of a sweat.
He was asked recently by Joe Rogan what his most difficult fight was, and unsurprisingly didn’t pick this latest one. Instead, he threw it back to facing Cuba’s Yuriorkis Gamboa in 2014.
“I would say Gamboa, because of the experience at the time. You gotta understand, I came from fighting six round fights to a ten round fight on HBO when I got the Breidis Prescott fight.
So then I fight him, another guy for the Interim NABO, and then I fight for a title eliminator against [Andrey] Klimov. Then I fight Ricky Burns, and come back and fight Gamboa when I become champion.”
Gamboa entered the ring undefeated in 23 contests against a 26-year-old ‘Bud’, but was fighting just his second contest at lightweight after a year’s lay off.
The pair would go on to produce a fight of the year contender. The Cuban imposed himself on Crawford, putting his defence to the test by leaping in with powerful shots and likely taking the first few rounds.
Crawford was getting hit more than his trainer Brian ‘BoMac’ McIntyre would have liked, but he caught Gamboa with a short right counter coming in during the fifth and would send him to the canvas heavily with another two shots.
He was wobbled again at the end of the round, but would continue to trade recklessly. ‘Bud’ took advantage with another knockdown in the eighth.
Gamboa got desperate in the ninth and Crawford, still out of the southpaw stance, dropped him twice more to end the contest.
It was an extremely impressive performance from the Omaha native to retain his world title, and he’s keen to point out the narrative before the fight was that Gamboa was one of the very best in the world.
“Gamboa was labelled the next Floyd Mayweather. He was on the pound for pound list. Everybody had Gamboa at a high rating. Olympic Gold Medal. He had the experience over me, and I learnt a lot in that fight.
That’s what made it hard, because it was something I’d never experienced in a fighter before.”
‘Bud’ has been out a further 16 times since that win, going the distance just twice. He’s now undefeated in 40, and holds all four belts at welterweight after being champion at both light and super-lightweight, in which he was also undisputed