It’s a battle of undefeated titlists making a habit of fighting undefeated opponents.
Saturday night (Showtime, 10 PM EST), two of the three men holding belts at Jr. featherweight will narrow the field. Both are young, both are hungry, both throw leather, and neither knows how to lose. They could have sat on their belts for a defense or two.
Instead, they’re going right at each other.
Stephen Fulton knows how to hand out first losses. Figueroa will be his fourth straight unbeaten opponent. Figueroa is coming off a win over unbeaten Luis Nery. Barring a draw, someone will learn to lose on Saturday night.
It probably won’t be the fans.
Let’s get into it.
Stats and Stakes
Title: WBC Super Bantamweight (2021-Present, 1st Attempted Defense)
Previous Titles: None (Held WBA sub-title)
Weight: 121 ½ lbs.
Hails from: Welasco, Texas
Record: 22-0-1, 17 KO
Press Rankings: #1 (BoxRec), #3 (TBRB, ESPN), #4 (Ring)
Record in Major Title Fights: 1-0, 1 KO (4-0-1, 3 KO including WBA sub-title fights)
Last Five Opponents: 123-12-3 (.946)
Notable Outcomes, TBRB and/or Ring Rated Foes: Luis Nery KO7
Additional Current/Former Titlists Faced: Julio Ceja D12
Title: WBO Jr. Featherweight (2021-Present, 1st Attempted Defense)
Previous Titles: None
Height: 5’6 ½
Weight: 121 ¾ lbs.
Hails from: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Record: 19-0, 8 KO
Press Rankings: #2 (BoxRec, ESPN), #3 (Ring), #4 (TBRB)
Record in Major Title Fights: 1-0
Last Five Opponents: 92-5-1 (.949)
Notable Outcomes, TBRB and/or Ring Rated Foes: Angelo Leo UD12
Additional Current/Former Titlists Faced: Paulus Ambunda UD12
The Pick: Fulton has the tools to box and move more than he does. It’s not always his preference. Fulton is an excellent inside fighter and his ability to switch from range to the phone booth should have him ahead after the first few rounds. The trick will be staying ahead. Figueroa is a fighter who gets better after a few rounds. Figueroa can look awkward at the start but there is a method to his approach. His game is escalation.
Fulton saw some escalation from Leo in his last fight and matched it. His will is accompanied by several athletic advantages. Fulton is quicker than Figueroa, has better feet, and can win more than one way. Fulton is going to have to get through some fire but his better overall game is going to be enough. The pick is Fulton by decision in an excellent outing.
Rold Picks 2021: 41-12
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org