This Saturday night, Showtime Boxing will be broadcasting live from the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA. The main event will feature WBA Super Bantamweight Champion Brandon “Heartbreaker” Figueroa (21-0-1) going up against WBC Champion Luis “Pantera” Nery (31-0). This battle of the undefeated champions is the first part of a mini tourney which ends with the winner facing WBO Champion Stephen Fulton Jr. (19-0) later this year.
Before we start looking ahead at the Fulton Jr. fight, this Saturday’s main event certainly has the attention of the super bantamweight division. There are things that surround both Figueroa and Nery in and out of the ring which makes this that much more interesting.
The WBA Champion from Weslaco, TX has been working his way up the ranks for a while now and has put in the work which has seen him headline FS1 cards and FOX shows as of late. He catches a ton of flak for two reasons: He is the younger brother of Omar Figueroa and he happens to be a good-looking guy who attracts the attention of women and sponsors. These are things that aren’t necessarily a bad thing but can be a distraction to a twenty-four-year-old fighter.
Putting all of that aside, he fights with a ton of heart and there is no quit in him. He does have defensive flaws that leave him wide open to take many shots, but it seems as though he weathers the storm and still comes out victorious. That is a dangerous way to fight and if he runs into an opponent that can really crack, it may not end well for him. Figueroa does fight relentlessly and most of those shots are to the body which break his opponents down each and every time.
For this training camp, he went out to Coachella Valley to train alongside his brother and with Joel Diaz. Many like to go out there for the sparring and the high desert temperatures that help with the weight loss. I think this change of scenery will elevate Brandon to a level that we haven’t seen in the past.
“Pantera” Nery’s career has been a rollercoaster ride and you just never know what is going to happen. There was a time when many considered Nery as one of the best bantamweights in the world. Fans and media were salivating over potential fights at bantamweight, but Nery would disappoint with his scale fails.
When he is focused and has a successful training camp, Nery can be a handful for any fighter. He is a slick southpaw who can move well and bang with the best of them if necessary. His combination punching and angles allow him to be in control which leads to his opponents becoming frustrated. Stylistically, he is a nightmare for Brandon Figueroa if he is able to stick to the game plan for the whole fight.
This is where the problem lies as Nery tends to take the foot off the pedal. Although he has been able to afford to do that with other opponents, he cannot with Figueroa. Nery has to be firing off on all cylinders in order to ensure he comes away with the victory. With his recent departure from Eddy Reynoso, I don’t know if that is a sign that Nery isn’t as focused as he needs to be or that his training mentality is short of what is expected. I will be curious to see how he looks at the weigh-in and on fight night.
I think Luis Nery will be controlling the first half of the fight with his jab, speed and combination punching. During this time, Figueroa won’t be landing to the head too much but will be focusing on hitting the body. Once we surpass the 6th round, those body shots will start to slow down Nery. That is when Figueroa will start to turn it up. Figueroa will take some punishment but is willing to do so in order to get Nery where he wants him. I think Figueroa stops Nery with a body shot late in the fight around the 10th round.
My Three Cents:
The Dignity Sports Health Park in Carson also known as “The War Grounds”, will certainly get their pound of flesh on Saturday night. This is the type of fight that fuels those fans and that arena. Fists will be flying whether in the ring, out of the ring or both on Saturday night. Question is, will Figueroa be the “Heartbreaker”, or will he have his heartbroken? There is only one way to find out and that’s to tune into Showtime on Saturday night 10pm EST/7pm PST.