By Ian S Palmer
Unbeaten Omar Figueroa Jr. of Weslaco, Texas takes on former four-division world champ Robert Guerrero of Gilroy, California in a 10-round welterweight bout at the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island, New York this Saturday, July 15th. The Premier Boxing Champions contest can be seen live in North America on the Fox Network. Figueroa last fought in December of 2015 when he beat Antonio DeMarco by a 12-round unanimous decision. Guerrero’s last outing was a 12-round split-decision loss to David Emmanuel Peralta last August.
The 27-year-old Figueroa will enter the ring with a near-perfect record of 26-0-1 with 18 Kos to his name. He’s a fan-friendly action boxer who also has good power with a current knockout ratio of 67 per cent. However, he hasn’t fought for about 18 months now so will likely have some ring rust to get through. Figueroa s relatively short for a welterweight at just over 5-feet-7-inches tall, but has a decent reach of 73 inches, which gives him a two-inch reach advantage over Guerrero.
Figueroa is a former WBC World Lightweight Champion who turned pro back in 2008 and has 123 rounds under his belt since. The only blemish on his record us an eight-round split decision draw with Arturo Quintero in 2010. He’s beaten some decent boxers along the way including DeMarco, Jerry Belmontes, Abner Cotto, Nihito Arakawa, Daniel Estrada and Ricky Burns. Figueroa is an action-packed fighter who’s pleasing on the eye and just keeps throwing punches until the job’s done.
His fight against Nihito Arakawa in the summer of 2013 saw Figueroa land 450 of his power shots, which ranks fourth all-time by Compubox when it comes to volume. He also caught a lot of leather in that bout and proved that he’s got a solid chin. Figueroa doesn’t back down once the bell rings and likes to be the aggressor, but he can’t take Guerrero lightly since he’s a quality opponent who is also a dangerous puncher and comes into a fight with the same mentality as Figueroa.
Former multi-division world champion Guerrero is now 34 years old and has lost three of his last four bouts and four of his last six. These were to Peralta as well as unanimous decisions to former world champion Danny Garcia, current world champ Keith Thurman and former world champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. He still has a fine record of 33-5-1 though with 18 Kos and his other career loss came back in 2005 when he dropped a 12-round split decision to Gamaliel Diaz.
He did manage to beat Aron Martinez in 2015 by split decision in a tough bout in which he had to pick himself up from the canvas in. Guerrero also has solid victories over the likes of Secluk Aydin, Joel Casamayor, Michael Katsidis, Yoshihiro Kamegai and Andre Berto and has won world titles in four different weight divisions. His lone draw was a technical decision against Julian Rodriguez in 2004 and he also has a pair of no contests on his record.
The southpaw Guerrero definitely needs a win here to get his career back on track and if he hopes to find himself in contention for another title shot down the road. He has a 1.5-inch height advantage as he’s 5-feet-9-inches tall, but his reach is two inches shorter than Figueroa’s at 71 inches. Guerrero has and has 282 rounds under his belt since turning pro in 2001 and his current knockout ratio is 44 per cent. He’s taken on some tough customers during his career and has quite a bit of big-fight experience.
Guerrero can take a punch as he has an excellent chin, but hasn’t stopped an opponent since 2010 with his last seven wins all coming by decision. He used to combine fine boxing skills and mobility with inside fighting while throwing a variety of punches and combinations from different ranges and angles. After moving up to the welterweight division he prefers to fight mainly on the inside and maul his way into a brawl while unloading short shots and uppercuts.
Guerrero’s boxing skills shouldn’t be underestimated. He’s been in a few wars, but can also box effectively if needed even though he’s now past his prime. However, he seems to be a bit of a brawler at heart and needs to make sure he doesn’t walk into anything. The same can be said of Figueroa and this has the potential to be a fight-of-the-year candidate. However, at this stage of their careers I’d be surprised if Guerrero pulls out a win.