It did not take long for things get testy between WBO lightweight titleholder Terence Crawford and Yuriorkis Gamboa during Thursday's presss conference at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska, site of their June 28 clash in Crawford's hometown city.
The 26-year-old Crawford (23-0, 16 knockouts) initiated the trash talk, taking the podium after Gamboa (23-0, 16 KOs) already had done so. The event was streamed live on Top Rank's website.
"It's going to be a good fight, and I know that. Gamboa is a truly incredible champion, and I have nothing bad to say about the man. But the only thing that I can say is that he shouldn't have taken this fight," said Crawford, who will face Gamboa on HBO. "It's been a long time coming. Everybody needs to be here on June 28. We're going to put on a remarkable show. I'm going to train hard, you're going to train hard, and we're going to give the crowd what they want."
But the feisty Crawford, who was last in the ring for a dominant title-winning decision over Ricky Burns in Glasgow, Scotland in March, had not heard the last from Gamboa, a 32-year-old former Olympic gold medalist from Cuba.
"I didn't make any error picking and choosing to take this fight. Before you speak, you've got to look at the records and compare them. Look at my record versus yours," said Gamboa, whose msot recent bout was a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Darleys Perez last June.
"Look at the caliber of fighters that I've fought and the caliber of fighters that you've fought. You've never fought an Olympic champion like me, and a man who has been a three-category champion. I'm a three category world champion. What are you? You can't say what I can say, that I've fought over three different categories and still won, and you've only fought in one category."
Not to be outdone, Crawford responded.
"Hey, this ain't the amateurs. This is the professional game. I got a zero, and you got a zero, but that's soon to be a loss," said Crawford. "I'm the champion, you're the challenger, and you're going to see that on June 28."
Crawford-Gamboa represent the first title fight in Omaha since heavyweight champion Joe Frazier beat Ron Stander in 1972, and Crawford is the state's first titleholder since Perry “Kid” Graves from won the vacant welterweight crown in 1914.
"Terence Crawford is the first champion in more than 100 years. That's hard to believe. That's before even I was born. So it's been a long, long time before Omaha has had a world champion," said Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who is 82. "I'm sure that Omaha and the surrounding area and all over Nebraska and Iowa and the rest of the midwest, they will rally behind this tremendous young man as he further climbs the ladder to stardom in boxing."
Arum said during an earlier interview with RingTV.com. that Top Rank Vice President Carl Moretti "is trying to make" a co-feature between former lightweight titleholder Juan Diaz (39-4, 19 KOs) and former title challenger Raymundo Beltran (29-6-1, 17 KOs).
Beltran, 32, is coming off last month's unanimous decision over former title challenger Arash Usmanee, which followed a disputed draw with Burns, whose jaw was broken in the fight.
Diaz, 30, is 4-0 with two knockouts in his past four fights, and was last in action for a unanimous decision over Geraldo Robles in March. Diaz had retired for nearly three years after losing a rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez by unanimous decision in July 2010, this, after having been stopped in the ninth round of their first bout in February 2009. Diaz ended his retirement with a sixth-round stoppage of Gerardo Cuevas in April 2013.
ALL-ACCESS: FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.-MARCOS MAIDANA EPILOGUE AIRS SATURDAY
Showtime will air the All Access: Mayweather vs. Maidana epilogue on Saturday on Showtime's free preview weekend in the wake of Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s majority decision victory over Marcos Maidana, which added the WBA's welterweight belt to the RING and WBC championships he already owns.
All-Access will air after Showtime's 9:30 p.m. ET/PT rebroadcast of the Mayweather-Maidana fight.
MICHELLE CORRALES-LEWIS NAMED FIRST VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE NVBHOF
Michelle Corrales, who last August accepted the induction trophy to the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame on behalf of her late husband, Diego Corrales, has been named the first Vice-President of the NVBHOF.
Ms. Corrales-Lewis accepted a position on the Board of Directors late last year, and soon after took on the duties of NVBHOF events coordinator. Corrales-Lewis arranged the NVBHOF Press Conference to announce the 2014 Inductees in February, and most recently, put together the "Party With Boxing's Legends" event at the New Tropicana Las Vegas, attended by numerous boxing luminaries.
"Michelle has been an unbelievably valuable addition to the Nevada Boxing Hall of Fame. She has given of her time freely and been a tireless worker. Her experience in Event Planning has been an enormous help," said Rich Marotta, founder and president of the NVBHOF. "She is already planning future events for the NVBHOF including our gala induction ceremony this August. Michelle Corrales-Lewis is held in high esteem within the boxing community, and deserves to have the title of Vice-President."
Michelle Corrales-Lewis and her husband, Ryan Lewis, live in Las Vegas along with their children.