For Juan Carlos Burgos, this is an opportunity for the Mexican veteran to revive his career.
If the longtime junior lightweight contender can knock off undefeated Xavier Martinez in a fight Showtime will televise Saturday night, Burgos could land an opportunity against a top 130-pound opponent. The 33-year-old Burgos is 0-2-1 in world title bouts, but Burgos believes he can change the perception of his career by beating Martinez.
“There is a reputation where, yes, I have come up short [in the big fights],” Burgos said during a press conference Thursday in Los Angeles. “But against ‘Rocky’ Martinez, for example, I felt like I won the title and the judges just robbed it from me. So, I am more than ready to redeem myself and show what I am capable of this Saturday night.”
Burgos battled Puerto Rico’s Martinez to a 12-round split draw in January 2013, when they fought for Martinez’s WBO junior lightweight title in The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. A year later, Burgos lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Mikey Garcia, who had won the WBO belt from Martinez just 2½ months earlier.
Tijuana’s Burgos (34-4-2, 21 KOs) has since lost back-to-back, 10-round unanimous decisions to two undefeated lightweights – WBC world champion Devin Haney and Hector Tanajara. Burgos boxed just six times in the seven years since his loss to Garcia, yet he jumped at the chance to replace Xavier Martinez’s original opponent, Mexico’s Abraham Montoya (20-2-1, 14 KOs), on barely four weeks’ notice because Burgos had been training for another fight that never materialized for earlier this month.
The 23-year-old Martinez (16-0, 11 KOs), who is promoted by Floyd Mayweather’s company, overcame two eighth-round knockdowns to win his most recent fight. The Sacramento, California, native narrowly defeated Dominican southpaw Claudio Marrero (24-5, 17 KOs) on all three scorecards – 115-111, 114-112, 114-112 – in a 12-rounder Showtime broadcast October 24 from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
“He’s a good fighter,” Burgos said of Martinez. “He is undefeated for a reason and I’m sure that we’re both gonna give the fans a show, and it’s gonna be a great fight. But also, like I mentioned previously, I am coming plenty prepared and ready to give the fans the show like they deserve.”
Burgos will fight for the first time in 14 months when he meets Martinez in the opener of Showtime’s tripleheader from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California (10 p.m. ET; 7 p.m. PT).
“This is definitely a big fight for me and I’m gonna have a great opponent in front of me [in] Xavier Martinez,” Burgos said. “But I feel I have a lot to give still and I wanna show that Juan Carlos Burgos is here to stay.”
Following the Martinez-Burgos bout, Showtime will air another 10-round battle between Los Angeles’ Daniel Roman (28-3-1, 10 KOs), a former IBF/WBA 122-pound champion, and Mexico’s Ricardo Espinoza (25-3, 21 KOs). In the 12-round main event, Mexico’s Luis Nery (31-0, 24 KOs) will defend his WBC super bantamweight title against Brandon Figueroa (21-0-1, 14 KOs), of Weslaco, Texas.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.