Whenever WBC lightweight champion Omar "Panterita" Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KO) fights, there's sure to be a lot of punches thrown.
On Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, the all-action fighter from Weslaco, Texas will defend his title against the rugged "Corpus Christi Kid" Jerry Belmontes (19-3, 5 KO).
Aside from the title on the line, there is a little more to this bout. Chris Thurman of 8 Count News writes:
There is more to be gained from this fight than the WBC belt. Also on the line is bragging rights for south Texas as both fighters hail from the Lone Star State and have a history dating back to their amateur days.
The fight is part of a triple-header on Showtime that will also feature interim WBA welterweight champion Keith "One Time" Thurman defending against Julio Diaz.
Sandwiched between that bout and the Figueroa-Belmontes clash is the return of Lucas "The Machine" Matthysse.
Following a loss to Danny "Swift" Garcia in September, Matthysse looks to get back on track.
Here's how you can watch the action.
Where: StubHub Center in Carson, California
When: Saturday, April 26 at 9 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Livesport.TV (Region Restricted)
The Book on Figueroa
Figueroa is a marked man. That comes with the territory for most any world champion. But because Panterita has built a reputation as a crowd-pleasing draw, he's on the tip of the tongues of many hungry lightweights.
Recently dethroned 135-pound former champ Ricky Burns has his sights set on Figueroa, per Martin Domin of the Daily Mail.
Figueroa was scheduled to face Ricardo Alvarez in March, but an injured hand forced him out of the fight.
Obviously, Figueroa has to handle Belmontes first.
The champion seems to know only one way to fight. Six of his last eight fights have ended inside two rounds.
Belmontes might be a tougher nut to crack, though. He's never been stopped in his professional career, and he's an inch and a half taller.
Can Figueroa pick up where he left off before injuring his hand?
The Book on Belmontes
The Corpus Christi Kid isn't coming off like a fighter who will take a loss easily.
In fact, he's been talking a bit of trash about pre-teen meetings in the ring between he and Figueroa.
Apparently the bouts happened when Belmontes was "11 [or] 12 years old." He told Lem Satterfield of The Ring Magazine:
I guess that he doesn't remember those two but I've got the book that shows it and it says that I beat him five times. I mean, I beat the crap out of him. The last time, I made him cry. I stopped him in the third round and I made him cry.
Figueroa is 24 and Belmontes is 25 now, so we'll see how much validity those wins have.
As a professional, Belmontes has established himself as a good boxer with a solid beard. Perhaps the drama in this bout will be centered around whether Figueroa can stop his adolescent rival.
It worries me whenever a fighter reaches back to a childhood bout with a future opponent as a confidence booster.
Devon Alexander made a similar reference before Shawn Porter took his IBF title in December 2013.
Even aside from that, Belmontes' lack of power is the biggest issue.
Against a fighter like Figueroa, an opponent has to make him respect him by firing offense that gets his attention or by being elusive enough to slip and counter.
Belmontes isn't sharp enough in either area.
It'll be only a matter of time before Figueroa catches him and ends his night.
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