LAS VEGAS – Julio Ceja’s last two fights in Las Vegas have made him mistrustful of officials entering his high-stakes featherweight fight against Mark Magsayo on Saturday night.

Ceja still disagrees with referee Russell Mora’s decision to stop his all-action brawl with Guillermo Rigondeaux. The Mexican contender also is certain he beat Brandon Figueroa in his fight following an eighth-round, technical-knockout defeat to a surprisingly willing Rigondeaux in June 2019 at Mandalay Bay Events Center.

The Ceja-Figueroa fight – a 12-rounder for Figueroa’s secondary WBA 122-pound title – resulted in a split draw. Ceja, who came in 4½ pounds overweight the day before he fought Figueroa, hasn’t boxed since his draw with the undefeated Figueroa in November 2019 at MGM Grand Garden Arena.

“I’m mad about those fights,” Ceja told through a translator after a press conference Thursday at MGM Grand Garden Arena. “That’s why I’m not gonna leave anything in the hands of the judges or the referee. I’m motivated to knock [Magsayo] out.”

The 12-round battle between Magsayo (22-0, 15 KOs) and Ceja (32-4-1, 28 KOs) is part of the Manny Pacquiao-Yordenis Ugas undercard at T-Mobile Arena. FOX Sports Pay-Per-View will air it during a four-fight telecast scheduled to start at 9 p.m. EDT ($74.95).

The Philippines’ Magsayo is an undefeated featherweight contender who is promoted by Manny Pacquiao’s company. Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s longtime trainer, works with Magsayo as well.

Meeting Magsayo, 26, on the Pacquiao-Ugas undercard has made Ceja more mindful than usual of not allowing this fight to go the distance.

“Obviously, we feel like I did win the Figueroa fight,” Ceja said. “So, I’m motivated for this fight now. I don’t wanna leave nothing on the table, nothing for the judges, because the same thing happened when I fought Rigondeaux. I feel I beat Rigondeaux, but the ref stopped me. The ref pretty much helped Rigondeaux. I don’t wanna leave nothing in the hands of the judges or the referee. I wanna leave it in my hands.”

Ceja has lost by technical knockout three times, but based on his resume he appears to be the toughest opponent of Magsayo’s eight-year pro career. The 28-year-old Ceja briefly held the WBC interim 122-pound championship and gave Rigondeaux and Figueroa a lot of difficulty in those back-to-back bouts.

Barring a draw, Magsayo or Ceja will move closer toward a shot at the WBC featherweight title because their fight is a 12-round elimination match. Magsayo is ranked fifth among the WBC’s challengers for Gary Russell Jr.’s 126-pound title, seven spots atop the 12th-rated Ceja.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Ceja said. “If I beat Magsayo, I could become the next world champion. So, I’m really excited. I’m happy. I’m motivated.”

Ceja feels fresher after his move up to the 126-pound limit as well.

“At 126, I feel much stronger,” Ceja said. “At 122, I was dragging my feet toward the scale. But now, at 126, I’m really, really strong.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.