by David P. Greisman
Oscar De La Hoya believes that lightweight Omar Figueroa has a bright future ahead of him.
The 23-year-old prospect will be appearing on Showtime on July 27 as part of the network’s tripleheader. Figueroa will face Nihito Arakawa for the World Boxing Council’s interim title at 135 pounds. The bout will be on the undercard to Andre Berto vs. Jesus Soto Karass.
“Omar Figueroa is a guy who, every fight, every opponent we put him in against, he’s getting better and better,” said De La Hoya on a July 16 media conference call. “He’s passing the tests with flying colors, and now it’s time to step it up and step it up big time. July 27 is not going to be an easy night for him.”
Figueroa is coming off a dominant first-round knockout of Abner Cotto on the April 20 undercard to Canelo Alvarez vs. Austin Trout. That win brought his record to 21-0-1 with 17 knockouts.
“These are difficult fights, but we feel comfortable that he will continue to pass these tests with flying colors,” De La Hoya said. “I don’t think there’s a limit to where he can go. Omar Figueroa has established an amazing fan base, especially after his knockout win April 20. Ever since we signed Omar Figueroa, he keeps on proving us wrong. He keeps on proving that he can be moved at a faster pace. He always tells me, ‘When am I going to get that world title?’ and he started asking me that after 10 fights. This is a kid that we feel is going to go very far.”
But first Figueroa will need to defeat Arakawa, who is listed on BoxRec.com as having a record of 24-2-1 with 16 knockouts. The 31-year-old lost a technical decision last November against Daniel Estrada, then bounced back this past May with a quick knockout of a designated opponent.
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]