Today (June 28th) is the six-year anniversary of Terence Crawford’s first defense of the WBO lightweight title that he’d won against Ricky Burns. Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) took the title from Burns on the road in Scotland, and got to defend his belt in front of his home fans in Omaha, Nebraska against then unbeaten Cuban power puncher Yuriorkis Gamboa.
Fans who either attended the event or watched on HBO were treated to an outstanding nine-round thriller. Crawford put Gamboa down four times, including twice in the ninth round to get the knockout win, but it was not an easy victory. Gamboa had the early lead through the first few rounds — not that Crawford is historically bothered with slow starts — but Crawford turned the tide with a knockdown in round five. The scorecards had Crawford up 77-73 and 78-72 x2, with the knockdowns proving vital in making sure “Bud” had a decent lead entering the final few rounds of the contest.
Gamboa managed to stun Crawford in round nine with a big right hand that had him on unsteady legs and forced to retreat. His glimmer of hope soon got crushed, along with his skull after Crawford put him down with a walloping left. Gamboa bravely got back up, and Crawford finished him with a right uppercut from the deepest depths of the earth.
Watch the highlights and the KO itself at the top of the page. It was Crawford’s “star-making” performance in the sense that he became a regular staple of the Top Rank brand. He’s yet to fight in 2020, but hopefully the reigning WBO welterweight champion has much better opposition than Amir Khan or Jeff Horn at this stage of his career.
As for Gamboa (30-3, 18 KOs), he never really recovered from this loss. Managerial problems took a decent chunk off his career and he was last seen getting stopped by Gervonta Davis last December, suffering an Achilles tear in the process.