Filipino featherweight Michael Farenas will have the biggest test of his career when he faces Yuriorkis Gamboa in the undercard of the fourth fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez on December 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Gamboa, a former featherweight world champion, was originally slated to face Miguel Beltran for the interim junior lightweight title, but their fight was cancelled after Beltran failed to recover from brutal showdown with Roman Martinez last September.
Talking about the cancelled fight between Gamboa and Beltran, Top Rank promotions vice president Carl Moretti said: “He was just physically not ready to go back in the gym after such a grueling match with Martinez. It was too soon of a turnaround.”
Moretti said that Top Rank considered several fighters as replacement for Beltran Jr. such as Edner Cherry and Rene Gonzales, but all declined to face Gamboa, who will be fighting for the first time after a 15-month layoff.
Moretti said: “We’ve been through a 100 names and a bunch of guys turned it down too. Once Miguel Beltran fell out, the quest for an opponent began and the fact that Farenas was already on the card and he’s a Filipino brought some natural cache to it.”
Gamboa, who is undefeated in 21 bouts with 16 Knockouts, is coming off a dominating eighth-round technical decision win against Daniel Ponce De Leon in September 2011. De Leon sustained a bad cut from an accident clash of heads, which led to the stoppage. When the fight was stopped, Gamboa was way ahead in the scorecards after eight rounds.
On the other hand, Farenas has been on a hot streak, winning in his last eight bouts. The Filipino, who has a 34-3-4 record with 26 KOs, had a chance to in a world title last July against Japanese Takashi Uchiyama, but the fight ended in a three-round technical draw after the Japanese sustained a bad cut.
Aside from Pacquiao and Farenas, Mercisto Gesta will also fight on December 8 against International Boxing Federation lightweight champion Miguel Vasquez.