Darling Jimenez promises to bounce back

By Socrates Palmer Jr


Darling Jimenez promises to bounce back

Last Saturday, Darling Jimenez took on 2004 Olympic Gold medalist, Yuriokis Gamboa, and in the process took a clean loss. Gamboa outworked the very game Jimenez down the stretch to capture a unanimous decision. Jimenez, who went into the contest as a 6 to 1 underdog, gave the Cuban a run for his money, particularly in the fifth round. In the midst of an exchange, a Jimenez right hand landed on the side of Gamboa’s head, dropping the undefeated prospect.

The silence over the HBO air waves was deafening once Gamboa derriere hit the canvas for the first time as a professional. Gamboa was not the only person in Primm, Nevada that did not see the punch, apparently judge Dalby Shirley missed it as well because he rendered a score card of 99-91 for Gamboa, which ignored the knockdown. Jimenez caught up with Boxingtalk, since his return back to New York, and gave his thoughts on the fight and his future plans.
BT: Darling that was a very exciting fight Saturday with Yuriorkis Gamboa. It had us all on the edge of our seats. Can you give us your take on the fight?
DJ: I thought it was a great fight. Nobody expected me to be able to stand up to Gamboa and I showed that I could knock him down and hurt him. I thought I was going to knock him out, but he's a great fighter and things didn't go my way. I can't take anything away from him; he was the better man Saturday night.  I thought it was close, not like the judges had it. My managers told me that one of the judges didn't even count my knockdown.
BT: Are you saying that you don't agree with the scoring of the fight and that you feel you won the fight?

DJ: I'm not saying I won the fight. Gamboa beat me, he did.  The guy throws a lot of shots and he doesn't get tired. What I'm saying is I thought it was closer than what the judges said it was.  You're telling me I only won one or two rounds - that's stupid.  The first couple of rounds I hit him with good shots, then I knocked him down.  I know I hurt him again later on in the fight, a couple of times. He probably beat me by a couple of points - but the judge who only had me winning one round is crazy.  His trainer told my managers after the fight that I hurt him twice really bad.
BT: I was amazed at how you were able to stand in and take all Gamboa had to give.  Were you ever hurt in the fight?
DJ: He hit me with some good shots but most of his punches were arm punches.  I wasn't really feeling them.  I was actually surprised because he had blazed everybody he fought before me.  I thought he was going to be a bigger puncher but he wasn't. I think once he felt my power he started running.
BT: What do you think was the difference in the fight in Gamboa getting the decision?
DJ:. I think the inactivity of being off a year added to my losing.  He's a real good fighter, don't get me wrong, but I think everybody underestimated me.   He made his pro debut the same time I had my last fight when I knocked out Mike Anchondo (April 27, 2007). Since then he had 9 fights to my 1. He has good speed but I was just as fast as him. He's strong and his conditioning was real good.  I thought he would slow down in the later rounds but he's like the energizer bunny (laughs).  He just throws a lot of shots. I was throwing the harder shots because I sit down on my punches, he was just arm punching.  He fought more like an amateur.
BT: What was your strategy going into the fight and were you able to execute it?
DJ: We wanted to fight this guy. Hard.  I told Max Kellerman before the fight that Gamboa never faced anybody like me and that I wasn't going to take a step back.  I also told him that there was no way Gamboa was going to knock me out. They were like yeah right!  He didn't believe it. It was like everybody thought this guy was Superman and I didn't have a chance.
BT: Are you saying HBO did a poor job in appearing unbiased towards Gamboa?
DJ: Yo, I watched the replay when I got back and they hardly even mentioned me. They were calling Gamboa the "greatest prospect ever" and I felt like they were only seeing him. They expected him to blow me away, so they were calling like that was about to happen and like I didn't exist.  But the  people in the crowd, they appreciated me.  When we walked in the arena, it seemed like everyone was cheering for Gamboa.  By the fourth round, when I dropped him, it all changed and the crowd was behind me and it inspired me. By the end of the fight, the crowd was on their feet cheering for me, including some of the Cuban fans, and they were booing him.  So I follow the boxing fans, they don't lie. They tell the truth.
BT: It's funny you should mention that because in the 4th round Max Kellerman said that it basically doesn't matter what Jimenez hits Gamboa with it's not going to matter and then you dropped him. What do have to say about that?

DJ: I laughed my ass off at that (laughing).  That was so stupid.  It's just like I said, Max and HBO had their minds made up, so that’s why he said what he said and it turned out he was wrong (laughing). Nobody gave me a chance in this fight.  We told HBO that I was going to back this guy up and hurt him.  I think I did that.  I showed that no matter all the problems I had over the past year, when I train hard and focus, I can beat anybody in the world.
BT: It was a great fight and thanks for sharing your thoughts with Boxing Talk.  Is there anything you would like to say in closing?
DJ: I believe that me and Gamboa are future world champions in the 130 division and I hope that when either one of us gets the title that we can do it again someday. He was supposed to knock me out and I almost knocked him out.  I heard that he fired his trainer after the fight.  Let him get with his new trainer and he can get a few more fights and if he still thinks he can knock me out I'll give him the opportunity.  But I get the sense the way his German promoter was acting like they don't want to see Darling Jimenez again (laughs).  I think boxing fans got to see a great fight with two young warriors and not a bunch of old guys. I plan to be back in the ring by August and a title shot with Valero or any of the other guys before the end of the year.  Me and Valero almost fought last year. I think that's a great fight, since I've never been down ever in my life and he has knocked everybody out.  That's the type of fight people are looking for. The Scorpion will be back bigger and better than ever - believe it! I’d also like to thank the WBC for the shot at the NABF title. The WBC belt means something to me on a personal level because that’s the belt that Manny Pacquiao held and as we all know Pacquiao is a superstar and it would be a dream to get a shot at that title.


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