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Avila Perspective, Chap. 227: Figueroa and Magsayo Ready to Rumble in SoCal

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  • Avila Perspective, Chap. 227: Figueroa and Magsayo Ready to Rumble in SoCal

    ONTARIO, Calif.-Former world titlists Brandon “The Heartbreaker” Figueroa and Mark “Magnifico” Magsayo both hunger to return to world championship status and eagerly await their confrontation.

    Power versus power.

    Texas raised Figueroa (23-1-1, 18 KOs) moves up to featherweight to challenge Filipino slugger Magsayo (24-1, 16 KOs) for the interim WBC featherweight title on Saturday, March 4, at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, Calif. Showtime will televise the TGB Promotions card.

    Essentially, the winner claims the number one spot to face current champion Rey Vargas of Mexico.

    Mexican fighters have recently run a streak of success in the featherweight division. A week ago, Mexico City’s Mauricio Lara went to England and knocked out Leigh Wood to win the WBA title. A few months ago, Mexicali’s Luis Alberto Lopez knocked out England’s Josh Warrington for the IBF title. And last summer Mexico City’s Rey Vargas defeated Magsayo for the WBC version.

    Only the WBO featherweight title is held by a non-Mexican; Isaac Dogboe.

    Figueroa, a Mexican-American from Weslaco, Texas, was a super bantamweight world titlist but lost by majority decision to slick-fighting Stephen Fulton. An expected rematch was nixed when Japan’s superstar Naoya “Monster” Inoue challenged Fulton. That was too much money to turn away for Fulton who will travel to Japan for that mega-fight this May.

    “I expected Stephen Fulton Jr., to not take the rematch with me. My job is to go out there and give a spectacular fight for the fans. I do what I do best, and that’s fight,” said Figueroa. “I do feel like the rematch will happen in the future, it’s just a matter of time.”

    Meanwhile, Figueroa decided to move up a weight division and will meet Magsayo who was defeated last summer by Vargas in a tight struggle. The sledgehammer-fisted Filipino wants the title back.

    “I’m hungrier than ever. I’ve always been hungry, but I know that I need to win this fight. This is my chance to become a champion again,” said Magsayo.

    It won’t be easy. Packing power in their fists, each has never been knocked out nor badly hurt in a prize fight.

    Moving up a weight division often changes the dynamic especially for the smaller weight fighters below 135 pounds. Very few can jump into heavier weight categories unless they possess extraordinary qualifications such as speed, power, defense or stamina.

    Not everyone can do what Floyd Mayweather, Oscar De La Hoya, or Manny Pacquiao accomplished in winning world titles in multiple weight divisions. Pacman did it in an extraordinary eight weight divisions. De La Hoya won six.

    Figueroa accepts the challenge. And because both possess similar attacking styles, the Texan expects another Alamo fight to the finish.

    “Figueroa is strong and always comes forward. But I’m strong too and that’s going to make this fight one you don’t want to miss,” said Magsayo who formerly trained with Freddie Roach and now with Marvin Somodio.

    Throughout Southern California boxing history, Filipino boxing greats have been engaging in memorable wars with fighters of Mexican heritage since the 1930s. Warriors like Speedy Dado, Ceferino Garcia and the great Pacquiao, of course, who all engaged in historic wars against fighters like Henry Armstrong, Manuel Ortiz and Juan Manuel Marquez.

    Pacquiao and Marquez battled four times with only one fight ending in knockout.

    “As fans expected from Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, this is going to be an amazing fight. We both have the heart of a lion and we’re both trying to become champions again,” said Figueroa.

    Magsayo agrees.

    “This is my chance to become a champion again,” Magsayo said.

    Two weeks ago in nearby Pomona, two other featherweights lit up the night with a firefight that surpassed all others this year.

    Could this featherweight contest equal the Luis Nery and Azat Hovhannisyan clash?

    “The winner of this fight is going to be the fans,” repeated Magsayo.

    We shall see.

    Other Bouts

    Former super welterweight titlist Jarrett “Swift” Hurd (24-2, 16 KOs) returns after nearly two years and faces hungry Mexican middleweight Armando Resendiz (13-1, 9 KOs) in a 10-round match. This will be a heavier weight division for Hurd.

    “It was such a breeze making 160 pounds,” said Hurd about making the heavier weight.

    Resendiz was respectful of the former champion but remains steadfast in performing at his best.

    “He’s a great fighter,” said Resendiz,.”I’m Mexican. I’m ready for a war.”

    Middleweight prospects Amilcar Vidal (16-0, 12 KOs) of Uruguay meets Elijah Garcia (13-0, 11 KOs) of Arizona in another 10 rounds bout. Garcia is only 19 years old.

    “I’m ready on Saturday to get that title for my team,” said Vidal, 27.

    Garcia had little to say.

    “I’m not a big talker. I’m just ready to go 10 rounds,” he said.

    Doors open at 3 p.m. at Toyota Arena in Ontario, Calif. The telecast begins at 6 p.m.

    Fights to watch

    Sat. DAZN 5 p.m. Angel Fierro (20-1-2) vs Eduardo Estela (14-1).

    Sat. Showtime 6 p.m. Brandon Figueroa (23-1-1) vs Mark Magsayo (24-1).

    Photo credit: Al Applerose