Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Rogers Mtagwa: Round By Round

HBO kicks off its 2010 boxing season with a Boxing After Dark doubleheader from the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Juan Manuel Lopez is the headliner, facing Steven Luevano for a featherweight title.

First, though, Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa goes up against the man who gave Juanma some anxious moments last year, Rogers Mtagwa. Bob Papa, Max Kellerman and Lennox Lewis are on hand to go over the featherweight division.

Papa narrates a video package that gives us some insight into Gamboa's background, coming up through the Cuban amateur program. His story is very similar to that of other defectors, though his style in the ring is not. It's interesting hearing him talk about his inability to return to his home, which is something that isn't often discussed.

The tale of the tape shows both Gamboa and Mtagwa almost identical in terms of height and reach. Strangely, Mtagwa weighed in at 122 1/2 pounds, well under the featherweight limit of 126.

It seems that Mtagwa is just Roger now with no 's' on the end of his name. He comes to the ring to "Eye Of The Tiger." The native of Tanzania fights out of Philadelphia now, and he sports a record of 26-13-2.

Gamboa walks out second. The 28-year old is 16-0 with 14 KOs. We'll see if he tries to box or chooses to slug it out.

Michael Buffer does the introductions, and we're set for a scheduled 12 rounds for Gamboa's WBA featherweight title.

Round 1

Mtagwa wastes no time coming forward. Gamboa sneaks in a left that makes the fans react. He ducks away as Mtagwa tries to corner him. Mtagwa tries to jab his way in. A flashy left-right combo catches Mtagwa and staggers him a bit. A counter left smacks Mtagwa as he comes in. The speed difference in both hands and feet is obvious right now. With about 15 seconds left, Gamboa sends his foe to the canvas, though he doesn't look badly hurt.

Franchise: 10-8 Gamboa
Uatu: 10-8 Gamboa

Round 2

It was a left that caught Mtagwa leaning forward that scored the knockdown. Roger takes some wild swings but gets the worst of an exchange. A left and a right crash home for Gamboa. Another left-right combination makes Mtagwa wince. A left to the body and a right upstairs send Mtagwa down again. He's back up but has over a minute to survive. Gamboa lands about 10 shots in a row. Mtagwa crumbles along the ropes, and the ref wisely calls a stop to this one.

The winner by TKO at 2:35 of Round 2... and still WBA featherweight titleholder... Yuriorkis Gamboa.

Kellerman gets a word with Gamboa, who surely can't have too many interesting things about this fight. He says he wanted to show more but had no reason to tonight.

Wisely, Gamboa feels not much can be read into how he did against Mtagwa versus how Juanma did. He is ready to face Lopez or anyone his promoter puts in front of him.

Posted by The Franchise

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