By Tyson Bruce
WBC Lightweight Champion Omar Figueroa, 22-0-1-(17), was considered one of the most exciting up and coming fighters in all of boxing because of his action packed style. Figueroa failed to capitalize on the momentum of his thrilling win over Nohito Arikawa by turning in a lackluster performance against old amateur rival Jerry Belmontes.
Photo: Tom Hogan/Golden Boy
Belmontes, 19-4-0-(5), used his crafty footwork and slick defensive skills to turn the bout into a highly tactical affaire. Figueroa was by far the more aggressive of the two fighters but it was often ineffective. His typical reckless aggression and punching power were notably absent.
Official scores were 116-112, 118-110 in favor of Figueroa and 115-113 Belmontes. Boxinginsider.com scored the bout 116-112 for Belmontes, who perhaps exposed Figueroa’s lack of craft.
In a fight that words simply cannot begin to describe, Lucas Matthysse overcame two knockdowns to stop a game and an extremely dangerous John Molina. Going in, the matchup was widely derided by the press as a complete mismatch.
The bout began in a thrilling fashion as Molina put Matthysse on rubbery legs with a powerful overhand right in the first round. In the early rounds Matthysse had trouble reaching the larger Molina, who was beating him to the punch. Matthysse, who is known for having an iron chin, seemed genuinely shocked at Molina’s ability to hurt him. Molina capitalized on his momentum by scoring a knockdown in the second round courtesy of an overhand right.
From start to finish, the fight was surreal in its brutality. Matthysse gradually began to have the upper hand in the overall flow of the bout, but Molina remained dangerous. The fight had a tremendous amount of ebb and flow—giving it an air of unpredictability that was thrilling to watch.
In the third round both fighters suffered cuts, with Matthysse bleeding over the left eye and Molina from a wound to the back of head that would continue to pour blood for the remainder of the bout. After winning the majority of the fifth round Matthysse would again visit the canvas when Molina caught him with a right hand to the back of the head.
Matthysse made a crucial adjustment in the middle round of the fight by using a brutal blunting jab to cut the distance. As Matthysse began to find his range the fight turned into a blood curdling war. Quite frankly, the punches that Molina was able to withstand from Matthysse were sickening. Rounds five through seven were truly breath taking, with both men dishing out and receiving a cinematic level of punishment.
Matthysse took control over the fight in the eighth round when he dropped Molina for just the second time in his career. From that point on Matthysse walked Molina down with a withering assault of combination punching. Matthysse battered Molina in the tenth, causing another knockdown at the end of the round.
Molina’s trainer Joe Goosen convinced the doctor to let Molina have one more round in a scene that was reminiscent of the great Corrales-Castillo fight. Alas, another dramatic end would not be in cards this time, as Matthysse launched into Molina with another brutal assault that saw the bout end in the eleventh round. Matthysse improves to 35-3, 33 Kos, while a gallant Molina droped to 27-4, 22 Kos.
The main event Keith Thurman scored a third round TKO over veteran contender Julio Diaz when a rib injury prematurely ended the bout. Thurman was extremely sharp and explosive from the get go, as he released a variety of flamboyant power punches. Thurman scored a delayed reaction knockdown with a counter left hook to the temple in the second round. Diaz had slightly more success in the third round by crowding Thurman but his corner decided in between rounds that his injury was too much to overcome. Thurman improves to 23-0-1-(21 Kos), while Diaz slumps too 40-10-1-(29 Kos).