Premier Boxing Champions Comes to Hidalgo

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Updated: April 29, 2015
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Al Haymon’s “Premier Boxing Champions” brand of boxing promotions is set to take over the southern tip of Texas come May 9th. The city of Hidalgo and the State Farm Arena will be playing host to the secretive and controversial boxing figure’s new boxing franchise which for South Texas fight fans will have an early afternoon start. CBS will be broadcasting the main events of the card throughout the nation into an overwhelming number of homes which means a whole lot to a certain local fighter.

Omar “Panterita” Figueroa (24-0-1, 18 KO’s), the fighting pride of Weslaco, will be testing the waters at 140 pounds for the very first time. The former WBC lightweight champion of the world will be climbing through the ropes and onto the squared circle for the first time since summer of last year when he defeated Mexico’s Daniel Estrada by 9th round stoppage. In the bout Figueroa suffered a grotesque cut to his left eye which left him sidelined for the remainder of 2014. In that same bout fans also witnessed the return of Omar Figueroa Sr. to his son’s corner as lead trainer and chief second, replacing the notorious Joel Diaz. At the time of publication it is known that Omar Figueroa Sr. alongside with renown cutman and striking coach Ted Lucio will be assisting Figueroa in the corner come fight night as advisors.

Travelling from gray skies and cool-weather climate of Scotland to the south Texas heat is Ricky Burns (37-4-1, 11 KO’s). The “Rickster” has been calling San Antonio home for the past couple of weeks as he has been training in The Alamo City for this upcoming bout and becoming acclimated with local climate. The former WBO super featherweight and WBO lightweight champion may just be Figueroa’s toughest opponent to date on paper having had defeated current WBO super featherweight champion Roman “Rocky” Martinez in the past, along with Nicky Cook, Michael Katsidis, Paulus Moses, and Kevin Mitchell. As of recently though, Burns has been victim to Terence Crawford and Dejan Zlaticanin while having been tenderized by Ray Beltran despite having escaped with a draw.

The fight is an interesting one and has a huge upside for both fans and fighters. Both fighters will be meeting at a weight class new to them. Figueroa, who has been bursting at the seams for some time, will in all likelihood welcome the move up in weight as his body has been calling for such move for some time. As for Burns, he will be looking to revive his career and kick start it back into championship contention. The Scotsman is 2-2-1 in the last two years yet should really be 2-3 considering the shellacking Beltran dished out. Burns will also be looking to increase the size of his wallet as his monetary woes have recently been well documented.

In Ricky Burns, Figueroa will find an opponent who has never been stopped and who has fought over half a fight with a broken jaw (thanks to Ray Beltran). Translation: the man is about as tough as they come. Burns has championship experience galore, having fought for European, British, and Commonwealth titles since 2006 and having acquired the WBO featherweight world title in 2010, having defended it three times only to move up in weight and win the WBO lightweight title against Katsidis in his first bout at that weight.

In Figueroa, Burns will find an ex-champion with a punch that in all likelihood he has never encountered. The unrelenting pressure Figueroa places on his opponent wears them down in both a physical and mental manner. His orthodox and southpaw attack is one which has yet to be fully negated. And despite having a height advantage it is a fair assumption that Figueroa is the bigger of both men. The Weslaco fighter also has never been down in his young professional fighting career and has shown character and toughness having endured a hellacious battle with Japan’s Nihito Arakawa in 2013 in what was a “Fight of the Year” nominee for the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Fans can only hope it is as good in person as it is on paper! Figueroa vs. Burns is slated for 12-rounds or less at the junior welterweight limit.

In the heavily anticipated co-feature of the evening fans will be treated to a classic bout between East vs. West as Japan’s Tomoki “El Mexicanito” Kameda (31-0, 19 KO’s) will be looking to return back home with the WBA “regular” bantamweight championship belt which his opponent holds. Jamie McDonnell (25-2-1, 12 KO’s) will be making the long trip from Yorkshire, England in search his second title defense. What was previously a title unification bout will now only be for McDonnell’s WBA belt as Kameda opted to relinquish the World Boxing Organization’s bantamweight title when the WBO justly did not recognize McDonnell as a world champion (the WBA has Juan Carlos Payano as its “Super” champion at bantamweight, making McDonnell his #1 mandatory). The WBO had threatened to strip Kameda of the title if he went through with this bout.

Kameda, who is from a boxing family as his brothers Koki and Daiki also fight, won his first world title in 2013 at the age of 21. He defended his title a total of three times. As for McDonnell, his championship history extends all the way back 2007 as he claimed the British Boxing Board of Control Title at super flyweight, and in 2010 would also claim the European Boxing Union and Commonwealth titles. A victory over Julio Ceja in 2013 would crown McDonnell as the IBF bantamweight king, while just last May McDonnell ascended to the throne of the WBA “regular” championship title.

In addition to the two 12-round bouts already mentioned, a third 12-round match will be taking place at the super welterweight limit. Former WBA world champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout (28-2, 15 KO’s) will finally be going up against Australia’s Anthony Mundine (47-6, 27 KO’s). Local fight fans will be treated to a grudge match which has been discussed and talked about on the internet for quite some time. Trout will be looking to return to championship status with a win as the WBC silver super welterweight title is on the line and the man across from him is the one wearing it.

Trout, who holds wins over Miguel Cotto and Daniel Dawson, is 2-2 since 2013. Yet some still argue that Trout did enough to deserve the nod over Saul “Canelo” Alvarez when they met in a title unification bout in early 2013. His career has not quite been the same since that meeting.

On Mundine’s behalf, “The Man” as he is known to some has had a long career with championship reigns at super middleweight, middleweight, and is now looking to do the same at super welterweight. Having been in the ring with the great Mikkel Kessler and Sven Otke, Mundine has wins over Antwun Echols, Sam Soliman (three times), Daniel Geale, Garth Wood, Bronco McKart, Shane Mosley, and Sergey Rabchenko.

Undefeated prospects and local talent can also be witnessed on the undercard. Undefeated welterweight Enrique Alvarez (5-0, 3 KO’s), the always exciting Jose Prado (4-1, 2 KO’s), and Brandon Figueroa, younger brother of Omar Figueroa, will all be fighting on the same

Javier Cantu may be reached at javier.cantu.1984@gmail.com

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