Roman Martinez: ‘Yuriorkis Gamboa doesn’t have a great defense; he takes punches’
In a crossroads battle, former three-time junior lightweight titleholder Roman “Rocky” Martinez will face off against former featherweight titleholder Yuriorkis Gamboa at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Maryland on Saturday.
The 10-round lightweight attraction will take place on the Gervonta Davis-Ricardo Nunez undercard.
Martinez (30-3-3, 18 knockouts) snapped a near three-year spell away from boxing with an eight-round stoppage of the unheralded William Gonzalez in March. The Puerto Rican veteran expects a much tougher test from Gamboa.
“I think it’s a close fight that either of us can win,” Martinez told The Ring through Aleudi Rosario. “We are two former world champions, we have good experience, so the important thing is to be well-trained and prepared for a great fight.
“The best thing about Gamboa is that he moves a lot and is a fast boxer. I think his weaknesses are that when he goes down, he gets tired and he doesn’t have a great defense; he takes punches.”
Since returning earlier this year, Martinez has new-found love for the sport.
“I felt renewed, I felt a lot of energy and motivation,” said the 36-year-old power-puncher. “I felt good, like when I started boxing. My body responded very well after the time I was away.”
Martinez admits to having one eye on the Davis-Nunez fight, although weight could would probably be an issue.
“I’ll be there looking, but first I have to win,” Martinez said. “And if there is something to agree, the fight will have to be at 135 pounds, it will not be at 130.”
His longtime promoter, Peter Rivera of PR Best Boxing, has huge regard for his boxer’s craft and is happy to have procured this opportunity.
“Rocky is a very dedicated boxer, he is always training and that is why we trust his abilities,” said Rivera. “He knows he could be placed at the doors of a world title fight, so he has a lot of motivation.”
Gamboa (29-2, 17 KOs) won gold at the 2004 Olympics before defecting from Cuba in December 2006. The former amateur standout won the WBA 126-pound title in 2009 and added the IBF title in 2010.
He looked destined for stardom but lack of discipline cost Gamboa and he lost both world titles outside the ring. A move up to lightweight resulted in his first defeat at the hands Terence Crawford in June 2014 and since that time, the 37-year-old’s activity and form have been patchy.
The bout will be televised on Showtime with the card beginning at 9:00 p.m. PT.
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