Undefeated Gamboa to fight Ponce de Leon in AC

Undefeated Cuban defector Yuriorkis Gamboa is returning to the ring to fight Daniel Ponce de Leon of Mexico in a 12-round featherweight bout on Saturday in Boardwalk Hall.

The fight will be Gamboa's first since he was stripped of his title in the 126-pound category by the IBF because he failed to make the day-of-the-fight weigh-in prior to a title bout against Jorge Solis of Mexico in late March.

Gamboa refused to show up for the weigh-in because he didn't want to pay the exorbitant fees to the IBF.

The WBA later stripped him of their title for not following its rules.

Gamboa, 29, will bring a 20-0 record with 16 knockouts into his bout with Ponce de Leon, who is more a brawler than a fighter.

"People never give me the credit I deserve," said Gamboa, who now lives in Miami. "Other fighters are good until they fight me, then they become regular fighters because I make them look bad. Fighters are never the same after I am done with them.

"I am always going to do the same when I get in the ring: Whatever it takes to win. I am the best there is out there."

Gamboa, the 2004 Olympic flyweight gold medalist added, is an interesting story. A few months after winning his medal in Athens, he sold it for $1,500 to pay for a first birthday party for his daughter, Brenda. He defected late in 2006 while training with the Cuban national team in Venezuela.

Gamboa needed only four rounds to stop Solis, knocking him down five times in another bout in Atlantic City.

Ponce de Leon (41-3 with 34 knockouts) is a former WBO junior featherweight champion.

"I have one strategy: To go there and win and get my hand raised at the end of the fight," said Ponce de Leon, who represented Mexico in the 2000 Olympics. "Gamboa is a great fighter and I know it's going to be a difficult fight. He is tough. But I fought the best in the past. I love challenges."

Ponce de Leon said he wanted to fight Gamboa because he is the best in the division.

"I have more professional experience," he said, "and I know what Gamboa is all about."

The fight will be televised live on HBO's World Championship Boxing.