By: Rich Lopez
As we get ready for the Wilder vs Ortiz rematch this weekend in Vegas, there will be a good undercard in store for fight fans. The undercard will feature Leo Santa Cruz and Brandon Figueroa. Also on the undercard is one of the best bantamweight fighters today, Luis Nery.
Luis “Pantera” Nery (30-0, 24 KO’s) of Mexico, is undefeated and has been boxing professionally for seven years. The 24 year old southpaw wants to reclaim his throne in the bantamweight division. Nery steadily climbed up the rankings which landed him a major title shot back in 2017 against long time WBC champion Shinsuke Yamanaka in Japan. Yamanaka had made 12 title defenses and was the Ring Magazine champion at bantamweight. In their fight, Nery was able to match Yamanaka with speed and power and he showed who the better fighter was. Nery stopped Yamanaka in four rounds and won the WBC title but most importantly he was now considered the best in the division. However, the Ring Magazine title was stripped from Nery and reinstated to Yamanaka. Nery failed a pre-fight drug test as he tested positive for the banned substance called Zilpaterol. This was a result of Nery consuming contaminated meat. The WBC ruled that Nery could keep the title but had to grant a rematch to Yamanaka.
Prior to the rematch, Nery lost the WBC title for not making weight and would not be able to regain the Ring Magazine title as well. To prove the victory was no fluke, Nery stopped Yamanaka in two rounds in their rematch of 2018. So even though Nery scored his biggest wins of his career, he was beltless. Afterwards, Nery fought twice in 2018 in Mexico scoring two more stoppages.
Nery is now looking towards the future.
Nery signed a deal with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions and has already won two fights by stoppage. First, he fought on the Errol Spence vs Mikey Garcia undercard back in March. He stopped McJoe Arroyo in four rounds for his debut under PBC. Next, he fought on the Manny Pacquiao vs Keith Thurman undercard in July. He knocked out former world champion Juan Carlos Payano in nine rounds with a body shot. Now, Nery will face another former champion in Emmanuel Rodriguez on Saturday. Should Nery get past Rodriguez, another title shot opportunity looms for Nery.
The ultimate goal for Nery is to be ruler of the bantamweight division once again. At the end, this could lead to a possible mega fight with the “Monster” Naoya Inoue. Inoue has taken over the bantamweight division while Nery has been fighting his way back into title contention. Nery knows he would need to score another spectacular victory this weekend to land a fight with Inoue in the future. Ironically, Nery’s last win over Payano and his upcoming fight with Rodriguez, are both knockout victims of Inoue. You can assure Nery will be looking for a knockout again against Rodriguez to put Inoue on alert.