By Jackie Kallen
Damn I wish I was going to be in Carson, CA this coming weekend for the fights at the StubHub Center. Two of my favorites (Keith Thurman and Lucas Matthysse) are fighting for belts as is undefeated Omar Figueroa. Even the undercard is exciting with unbeatens like Antonio Orozco and Joseph Diaz putting their 0’s on the line.
At 22-0 and only 25 years old, Thurman, from Clearwater, FL, is making a name for himself in the welterweight division. Boxrec.com has him rated in the Top 10 and he has already won a few small belts. This fight against 34 year-old Julio Diaz is a step up for him. A former IBF Lightweight champion, Diaz is a veteran of 50 bouts. He’s been in with names like Amir Khan, Shawn Porter, Kendall Holt and Ricky Quilles.
With his stunning punching power, Thurman shouldn’t have much trouble getting inside and stopping Diaz, who has been KOed five times in his nine losses. Coming off two losses, Diaz is happy to have this opportunity and will no doubt give it his best. But Thurman is simply too hot to handle.
The Matthysse fight is another one that I will watch with interest. He demolished my fighter Michael Dallas in the first round of their fight in January 2013 and I have much respect for him as a man and as a fighter. He is a gentleman who happens to pack a ton of dynamite in his fists. He was humble in his victory and I will always remember that.
I think that 27-3 John Molina will be stepping into deep water when he gets into the ring. Molina is taller and also has solid punching power. But 34-3 Matthysse is a guy who gets into the ring with every intention of destroying the man in front of him. Coming off a September 2013 loss against Danny Garcia, Matthysse has a lot to prove. Molina is coming off two straight wins and probably feels that the timing is right for him. But Molina has big shoes to fill if he plans to follow in Garcia’s footsteps.
The third title fight is another good one. Twenty four year-old Texas Lightweight Omar Figueroa puts his 22-0 record out there for Jerry Belmontes to try and ruin. The WBC lightweight belt is up for grabs and of course both men want to claim it. 19-3 Belmontes is stretching here. He is a light hitter who will need to move a lot and use his speed and activity if he plans to win rounds.
Figueroa has stopped 74% of his opponents and probably looks at this as a sparring session. It’s never a good idea to take anyone lightly, but this would be a real upset if Figueroa loses
All in all, three title fights, all good match-ups and a chance for boxing fans to see some top prospects in action.