By: Steven Galeano
Luis Nery and Brandon Figueroa square off tonight in what fight fans anticipate to be an all-out war between two undefeated Mexican champions. The action takes place from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson and will be televised live on Showtime (9p ET/6p PT). Nery’s WBC Super Bantamweight World title and Figueroa’s secondary WBA title will be on the line. The winner moves onto a unification with Stephon Fulton (19-0, 8 KOs) in September.
Nery (31-0, 24 KOs) and Figueroa (21-0-1, 16 KOs) present very different physical attributes, yet what they possess most in common are their all-action pressure styles. Both champions hit very hard and have shown defensive vulnerabilities, which leans toward a brawl for however long this championship bout lasts. Figueroa will have both a three-inch height and five-inch reach advantage over Nery, and it will be extremely interesting to see if he displays that difference throughout this title fight.
In the biggest fight of his career, I say Figueroa will.
I will go against the grain and predict an upset victory for Figueroa tonight, where he surprises most by mixing boxing and brawling to befuddle the experienced champion in Nery. Figueroa’s size will allow him to absorb heavy shots from Nery, which he will have to if he hopes to come out victorious.
Nonetheless, the winner of tonight’s anticipated clash will move on to a high-stakes unification against Fulton, who won the WBO world title in January when he defeated former world champion, Angelo Leo, in an absolute firefight. Whoever opposes Fulton that night will expect to be in yet another action fight.
Where does the loser of tonight’s bout go?
With the WBC/WBO belts locked up for 2021, WBA/IBF champion, Murodjon Akhmadaliev (9-0, 7 KOs) is headed towards a mandatory title defense later this year against Ronny Rios. There are still some great fights to be made in the division, and the loser can still expect to see himself in big fights moving forward.
Here are some of the options for the loser.
Opening the Showtime telecast Saturday night is former unified champion Daniel Roman (28-3-1, 10 KOs) facing off against Ricardo Espinoza Franco (25-3, 21 KOs) in a ten-round bout. Roman has been actively seeking a rematch with Akhmadaliev after losing his titles in their first bout by a razor-sharp split decision. Yet, with all belts currently tied up, the winner of Roman-Franco can see themselves in a meaningful fight next, possibly against the loser of Nery-Figueroa.
Raeese Aleem (18-0, 12 KOs) burst onto the 122lbs title scene with two scintillating Showtime performances in the Mohegan Sun bubble. Most recently, Aleem shined bright during an eleventh-round knockout over previously undefeated Vic Pasillas, who he dropped four times. Aleem is calling out all the champions and a fight against the Nery-Figueroa loser would be mouth-watering.
Leo (20-1, 9 KOs) looks to rebound after losing the WBO title to Fulton in January. He will face off against Aaron Alameda (25-1, 13 KOs) on June 19th in Houston on Showtime. Alameda most recently lost a title fight of his own, a unanimous decision against Nery this past September. The fight was hotly contested and any combination of Nery-Figueroa and Leo-Alameda that does not end in a Nery-Alameda rematch would be absolutely great for TV.
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