ONTARIO, California – Mark Magsayo believes he did enough to beat Rey Vargas.
Magsayo dropped Vargas during the ninth round of their 12-round fight for the WBC featherweight title, but Vargas edged Magsayo by split decision July 9 at Alamodome in San Antonio. While Magsayo maintains that he should still be undefeated, the strong Filipino fighter is certain that fans will be much more entertained when he battles Brandon Figueroa on Saturday night than they were when he faced Vargas.
“For this fight, it’s different,” Magsayo stated during a press conference Thursday at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Ontario Airport. “Rey Vargas is just a running man. And this guy’s a good fighter. [Figueroa] comes to fight. So, it’s a big difference to the last guy I fought.”
Like Vargas, Figueroa is taller and rangier than Magsayo. Figueroa fights much more aggressively than Vargas, however, and the former WBA/WBC 122-pound champion is known for relentlessly pressuring opponents with his smothering style and volume punching.
Magsayo welcomes that type of fight from Figueroa in the main event of a “Showtime Championship Boxing” tripleheader that’ll be broadcast from Toyota Arena. The 27-year-old former featherweight champion expects them to produce a “Fight of the Year” candidate in their clash for the WBC interim 126-pound crown.
“I guarantee that this is gonna be a great fight,” Magsayo said. “We’re good fighters. Brandon Figueroa is prepared, too. He’s ready for this fight. He’s ready for war and I’m ready for war. So, let’s see Saturday night and it’s a good fight. The winner of this fight is the fans, so let’s roll.”
The 26-year-old Figueroa (23-1-1, 18 KOs), of Weslaco, Texas, is consistently listed by oddsmakers as a 3-1 favorite to saddle Magsayo with a second straight defeat. The winner is expected to fight Vargas, who will return to the featherweight division to defend his WBC belt now that O’Shaquie Foster (20-2, 11 KOs) defeated him unanimously on points in their 12-round fight for the then-vacant WBC 130-pound championship February 11 at Alamodome.
“Expect that there’s gonna be a brawl fight because Brandon Figueroa is not gonna back up,” Magsayo said. “I’m sure he’s gonna come forward and he’s gonna turn southpaw, everything, so I’ve been prepared for this fight.”
The Figueroa-Magsayo match will headline Showtime’s three-bout broadcast, which is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET.
Former IBF/IBO/WBA 154-pound champion Jarrett Hurd (24-2, 16 KOs), of Accokeek, Maryland, is set to meet Mexico’s Armando Resendiz (13-1, 9 KOs) in Showtime’s 10-round, 162-pound co-feature. Amilcar Vidal (16-0, 12 KOs), a middleweight contender from Montevideo, Uruguay, will battle 19-year-old prospect Elijah Garcia (13-0, 11 KOs), a southpaw from Wittmann, Arizona, in Showtime’s 10-round opener.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.