Brandon Figueroa feels Mark Magsayo deserved the lone loss on his professional record.
Figueroa watched the Rey Vargas-Magsayo fight from ringside July 9, when Mexico’s Vargas defeated Magsayo by split decision to win the WBC featherweight title from him at Alamodome in San Antonio. Figueroa, who stopped Carlos Castro in the sixth round on the Vargas-Magsayo undercard, agreed with judges Tim Cheatham and David Sutherland, both of whom scored Vargas a 115-112 winner over Magsayo.
Judge Jesse Reyes scored the action 114-113 for Magsayo, whose right hand dropped Vargas during the ninth round. Vargas survived that troublesome moment and became a two-weight world champion in the main event of a “Showtime Championship Boxing” tripleheader.
“I feel like it was a really close fight,” Figueroa said during a recent virtual press conference to promote his fight against Magsayo on Saturday night. “I feel like Rey Vargas did enough just to edge him a little bit. You know, we did see a lotta things in that fight that definitely showed that, you know, Rey Vargas was the one that went in there and just basically took the belt from him. I mean, it was an amazing fight, don’t get me wrong. You know, the atmosphere was crazy. And I just felt Rey Vargas did just a little bit enough to win the fight.”
CompuBox counted more connections overall for Vargas than Magsayo in their competitive contest (196-of-687 to 132-of-451). According to CompuBox, Vargas landed more power punches (135-of-339 to 92-of-250) and jabs (61-of-348 to 40-of-201).
“I think I [won] that fight,” Magsayo said during the aforementioned press conference, “but I respect the judges.”
Vargas moved up in weight for his following fight, but O’Shaquie Foster (20-2, 11 KOs) outboxed him to win a unanimous decision in their 12-rounder for the then-vacant WBC super featherweight title February 11 at Alamodome. Vargas (36-1, 22 KOs) is expected to return to the featherweight division to defend his WBC belt against the Magsayo-Figueroa winner.
Figueroa (23-1-1, 18 KOs), of Weslaco, Texas, became the WBC’s number one contender in the featherweight division by beating Castro (27-2, 12 KOs) in their eliminator. He’ll fight the Philippines’ Magsayo (24-1, 16 KOs), who is ranked second, for the WBC interim featherweight championship.
Their 12-rounder will headline another Showtime telecast from Toyota Arena in Ontario, California.
Showtime’s broadcast will begin at 9 p.m. with a 10-round middleweight match in which Elijah Garcia (13-0, 11 KOs), a 19-year-old southpaw from Phoenix, will face Uruguay’s Amilcar Vidal (16-0, 12 KOs). Former IBF/IBO/WBA 154-pound champion Jarrett Hurd (24-2, 16 KOs), of Accokeek, Maryland, will end nearly a 21-month layoff versus Mexico’s Armando Resendiz (13-1, 9 KOs) in Showtime’s 10-round co-feature.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.