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All three of the title contenders showcased on HBO's Boxing After Dark triple-header came through with knockout wins last night in Temecula, California. Yuriorkis Gamboa was sloppy throughout the first round of his fight with Marcos Ramirez, even suffering a flash knockdown at one point. However the young star showed exactly why everyone is willing to overlook his defensive shortcomings shortly thereafter. Sergio Martinez and Alfredo Angulo were even more impressive in their wins, each of which was mercifully stopped by the opposing corner. Gamboa, the Cuban defector and former gold medalist, displayed an incredibly rare combination of speed and power in both of his hands that led him to a second round knockout, albeit one with a quick count. Critics will point to the moment when Gamboa suffered the third knockdown of his career as a big question mark going forward, and I can't say it's unfair. If Gamboa is going to be the next pound-for-pound great he's going to have to settle down and fight a hell of a lot smarter. Otherwise he'll likely become one of the greatest action fighters of his generation, which wouldn't exactly suck. Angulo continued to tear his way through the light middleweight division, this time battering veteran Andrey Tsurkan for ten rounds before the fight was finally called. The HBO broadcast team of Lampley, Kellerman, and Lewis were all calling for the fight to be stopped beginning in the eighth round, and I couldn't have agreed more. Angulo was winning in shutout fashion and his opponent was taking entirely too much punishment for his own good. At times like that the ref, the doctor, the corner, or the commission needs to step in between the two fighters. Eventually the corner did wave a white towel, and referee Tony Krebs stepped in to stop the fight, but not before taking a well deserved right hand from Angulo. Martinez has flown under the radar a bit since his TKO loss to Antonio Margarito eight years ago, and last night he announced his return to prominence. The 33 year-old Argentine flashed a bit of brilliance in his eight-round TKO victory over the game Alex Bunema. There's speculation that Martinez might face off with Vernon Forrest for for the WBC belt, but Martinez could find himself in line for a rematch with Tony down the road. Or perhaps the champ might be interested in a match against Angulo, his former sparring partner. I say screw that. Let's watch Angulo and Martinez fight for the right to take on Margarito at 154 sometime next year.


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