WBC 122 pound champion Luis Nery (31-0, 24 KO’s) will face off against WBA champion Brandon Figueroa (21-0-1, 16 KO’s) in a title unification bout tonight (Saturday) from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA.
This contest will headline a tripleheader of action on Showtime.
As of this writing Nery is listed as the -335 favorite whereas Figueroa can be had for the underdog price tag of +250.
There is no disputing the talent of Luis Nery. He has above average quickness and hand speed for the division. Nery’s punching power is for real and he is instinctively is a very good counter puncher with excellent timing. Defensively he is above average. Watching tape on him there is just so much to like and enough talent to say that he belongs on pound for pound lists. But there is a big but.
Nery’s desire and focus and decision making are a major question. It’s why he isn’t a bigger betting favorite in this fight. He was missed weight on numerous occasions. Sometimes he looks bored in the ring and fights down to his opposition. Pound for pound the talent is there but the desire and commitment to want to be something special is a major question for Nery.
Brandon Figueroa, the younger brother of Omar Figueroa, likes to chuck the leather and come out firing. He is all offense and as a matter of fact his offense is his only defense. This style, while certainly fan friendly, can often times only get a fighter so far until they get exposed.
So far in his career Figueroa has been very carefully matched. He has been able for the most part to overwhelm his often overmatched opponents with his all offensive assault. Yes, he has been hit but often times by fighters who either did not possess much power and/or were naturally much smaller than him.
Is Nery the one who will expose Figueroa? As long as he is focused I think Nery will make relatively easy work of Figueroa. There is just such a wide talent gap and Nery is so much more technically sound than Figueroa.
The questions as always with Nery though are first will he make weight and second how bad does he want it especially if things get a little rough in the ring? I was willing to bet on the talent of Nery prevailing here as long as there was no scale fail–and he took care of that business– on Friday and don’t think Figueroa can do anything to get his respect. My official pick is Nery TKO 7.
Daniel Roman vs. Ricardo Espinoza Franco, 05/15/2021
On the televised portion of the Nery-Figueroa card former 122 pound champion Daniel Roman (28-3-1, 10 KO’s) will face former bantamweight world title challenger Ricardo Espinoza Franco (25-3, 21 KO’s).
As of this writing Roman is currently listed as a -455 favorite whereas Franco can be had for the underdog price of +333.
At his peak Roman is a silky-smooth boxer-puncher. During his championship reign he was known for using his footwork, stepping side to side often in front of his opponents, landing quick combinations in the pocket and being able to be just slick enough to avoid any counters. His use of angles to land precision power shots on his opposition was masterclass.
But he has started to show some slippage in recent years. He was hit by TJ Doheny quite easily in a title unification fight in 2019. Though Roman won it certainly wasn’t his best performance.
He was then dragged into a war in losing a split decision to Murodjon Akhmadaliev in January of 2020. In that fight Roman absorbed quite a beating, particularly in the second half of the contest. It was the kind of beating that some fighters never come back from the same.
And it showed some in Roman’s comeback fight against Juan Carlos Payano this past September. Yes, Roman won but it wasn’t his most impressive showing.
Roman’s style is a style that requires near perfection from a fighter. For a time, Roman was nearly perfect in his performances. But if he has slipped the downward trajectory of fighters who fight the way he fights is often very steep.
So can Franco be a threat to Roman? Franco likes to come forward keeping a tight guard and looking for counterpunching opportunities. He is not quick or athletic. Though his record shows a high number of knockouts I don’t really see him as a big puncher. He has fought some very soft opposition that includes a win as recent as 2018 against a fighter with a 0-33-3 record.
Franco may keep a high guard but doesn’t move his head. So he can still be hit clean. This is just the type of opponent that Roman use to feast upon in the prime of his career.
I think Roman has slipped but not enough to be threatened here by Franco. Roman will be a key parlay piece for me this week. I won’t be looking at the over/under or any props but if asked to make a pick would say Roman by 11th round stoppage.
Some weeks there are several fights on my radar. Other weeks there will be only one or two contests that make my final bill. This is one of those weeks. I really like both Nery and Roman to win. Since I really like them both will be juicing them up together in a parlay. And maybe just a sprinkle in a little of Nery winning by KO, TKO or DQ as I think that he has a really good chance of finishing Figueroa.
Nery/Roman to win parlay (-175) – $40 (would win $63.93)
Nery to win by KO, TKO or DQ (+125) – $7 (would win $8.75)
Good luck to all!
As always in an effort to maintain full transparency I will recap the results from last week’s picks. Click here to read the column from last week to refresh your memory.
Below was the final ticket.
Canelo Alvarez to win by points (after 12 rounds) at +150 – $34 (would win $51)
Canelo Alvarez/Souleymane Cissokho/Elwin Soto parlay at -175 – $15 (would win $8.79)
Saunders looked to be well on his way to at least going the distance until he suffered that eye injury towards the end of the eighth round. Of course Canelo’s punching power and the precision of his shots led to that injury for Saunders. I can’t fault Saunders for not coming out for the ninth round and wish him a speedy recovery.
The “just in case” parlay hit, though we had to unexpectedly sweat some things out with Souleymane Cissokho. First, he almost got stopped suddenly in the ninth round in a fight he seemingly was in total control of and then we had some very questionable scoring once again in the state of Texas. But he got the nod and the parlay held intact.
There was $49 wagered and the bring back was $23.79 for a loss of $25.21. The bankroll now sits at $952.94.