By Carlos Arias
CARSON --- Omar Figueroa of Weslaco, Tex., and Jerry Belmontes of Corpus Christi, Tex., are very familiar with each other.
They grew up competing in the same amateur tournaments and Belmontes actually holds an amateur victory over Figueroa. But this isn't the amateurs anymore. Belmontes (19-3, 5 KOs) challenges Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs) for his interim WBC lightweight title on Showtime's triple-header on Saturday night at StubHub Center.
"This is going to be a style fight. He's a brawler. I'm a boxer," Belmontes said at Thursday's final pre-fight news conference. "So this fight is going to be great one to remember. We're both representing Texas and South Texas. He's a good friend. I seen this guy grow up, but I just hope he doesn't take it personal when I get that belt on Saturday."
This will be Figueroa's first title defense.
"It's the same old same old with me and I guess that's why the fans like it so much, because I don't care about winning or losing," Figueroa said. "I'm going to go out there and put on a great show and try to punish my opponent as much as possible, which is the best feeling in the world.
"I fought Jerry before and he beat me in the amateurs. But now we're pro and the gloves are a little bit smaller and we don't have head gear and they hurt a little bit more. Like he says, it's going to be a good fight. No disrespect. We've seen each other a few times in the amateur tournaments and whatnot and we say hi to each other. But once we're in the ring, of course, that's a different story."
Contact Carlos Arias on Twitter @PunchyMcGee.