Once upon a time, Yuriorkis Gamboa (28-2, 17 KOs) was considered one of the most elusive and skilled fighters not only in his division, but pound for pound.

Over the last couple of years, the former unified champion has fallen from grace and many questioned if he could ever recover to the elite level.

On Saturday night Gamboa was given yet another chance to prove himself to the masses and took on New Jersey native, Jason Sosa (20-3, 15 KOs).

Gamboa certainly displayed flashes of his old self throughout the bout, but Sosa was game for all 10 rounds. It should be mentioned that Gamboa did take the bout on only three weeks notice and conditioning may have been a factor going in.

Early on, Gamboa seemed to be outboxing the less experienced Sosa, while Sosa found his rhythm in the middle rounds and landed the more thudding blows.

Throughout the fight, Gamboa was warned repeatedly for holding Sosa. As the rounds progressed it was evident that Gamboa’s conditioning could make him vulnerable to power punches. Sosa was awarded a knockdown in the seventh round as Gamboa’s glove brushed the canvas after losing his balance.

If that wasn’t bad enough for the former gold medalist, Gamboa would also lose another point in the 10th and final round with only a minute left in the bout for holding.

Despite having the two-point advantage, Sosa would fall short on the judge’s scorecards. Gamboa was awarded the majority decision with scores of 94-94, 95-93 and 96-92 respectively. Most viewers ringside, including the HBO cast, felt Sosa had done enough to secure the victory over Gamboa.

“It was a fun fight.  I took some breaks but I thought I did enough to win,” said Sosa. “I know I did enough to win the fight.”

“It was a good fight.  I didn’t have enough time to train.  I only had three weeks.  I didn’t have time to get ready,” said Gamboa. “I needed 2 or 3 more weeks to lose the weight correctly but I thought the decision was good. I think I won every round.  Except for the knockdown and the point deduction.”

While a win is a win, Gamboa is all but of a shell of what used to be an elite fighter. With the victory, Gamboa is likely to receive a call to compete on primetime yet again, but it seems as if his best days are behind him.

Header photo by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing