At the official weigh-in for Saturdayís showdown against former world champion Daniel Ponce de Leon, ARENAís Cuban featherweight superstar Yuriorkis Gamboa had to get rid off his underwear in order to make the contractual weight of 127 lbs. The Mexican weighed in exactly in the limit as well.
For promoter Ahmet Oner this was another sign that his fighter will not remain at 126 but move up in weight to do his next fights at 130 or 135.
"Yuri has emphasized a couple of times in the last days that this is his last fight close to the featherweight limit", says Oner. "And I think we all agree that thereís nothing left to prove for him at 126. He beat everybody who dared to fight him so itís the natural next step to fight his way through the next higher divisions."
While co-promoter Top Rank tried to draw the public attention to a possible fight between Gamboa and bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire who plans to move up to 126 sooner or later, "El Ciclon" is eyeing a megafight with another Filipino.
"I would love to get a shot at Manny Pacquiao", Gamboa said before the weigh-in. "I always said that I want to prove that Iím the best boxer in the world. To be the best you have to beat the best so I hope that at some point I get the chance to do that. I think a fight against Pacquiao at 140 could be fantastic."
"I think Gamboa is one of very few fighters who can be a real threat to Pacquiao", adds promoter Oner. "Wouldnít it be great to see these to aggressive fighting machines going at each other with their unique combination of extraordinary speed and power?"
But Gamboa knows that he has to take care of Ponce de Leon first before he can phantasize about bigger things to come. Although "El Ciclon" has faced strong opponents from his first pro-fight on, the Mexican power puncher is surely the Cubanís toughest test so far.
"I know that I have to be careful because Ponce de Leon hits very hard", says Gamboa. "But I hit hard as well and he cannot hit what he wonít even see. I will be way too fast for him and overwhelm him with my speed. Still I have to be cautious but Iím very well prepared for this fight."