Luis Nery is one of the rare fighters whose switch to respected trainer Eddy Reynoso didn’t work out.
Reynoso prepared Nery for his WBC super bantamweight title fight against Aaron Alameda on September 26. Nery defeated Alameda by unanimous decision and became a world champion in a second division, but that didn’t prevent Nery from returning to Tijuana and reuniting with trainer Ismael Ramirez for his fight against Brandon Figueroa on Saturday night.
“I felt like I didn’t prepare right,” Nery told BoxingScene.com. “Out of zero to 100 percent, I felt like I was 60 percent. It had nothing to do with fighting at 122 pounds. It was just the sheer fact I didn’t prepare right, maybe I had some missteps along the way. I felt kind of sluggish.”
Reynoso has drawn praise throughout the boxing world for his work with Canelo Alvarez, Ryan Garcia, Julio Cesar Martinez, Andy Ruiz Jr. and Oscar Valdez. The 26-year-old Nery wasn’t critical of Reynoso, but training at Alvarez’s gym in San Diego didn’t work for the Mexican southpaw.
“It was just the change in routine that threw me for a loop,” Nery said. “Different gym. Different sparring times. Different training sessions. Something as simple as going eight rounds daily, to only doing that a couple of times a week. That kind of threw me, and it affected me in a way that I wasn’t expecting.”
Nery (31-0, 24 KOs) feels like his old self as he prepares to fight Figueroa (21-0-1, 14 KOs), of Weslaco, Texas, in their 12-round, 122-pound championship match.
“I went back to what I know works best, the way I prepared for my previous 30 fights, the way I prepared for my fights in Japan,” Nery said. “And I’m really happy with it. I feel my preparation for this fight is actually among the best that I’ve had in my career.”
Nery, a former WBC bantamweight champ, had some well-documented difficulties making the bantamweight limit of 118 pounds prior to hiring Reynoso.
He was three pounds overweight for his WBC bantamweight championship rematch with Shinsuke Yamanaka, whom Nery stopped in the second round in March 2018. Nery’s fight against former IBF bantamweight champ Emmanuel Rodriguez was canceled in November 2019 because Nery came in one pound above the contracted limit.
Showtime will air Nery-Figueroa as the main event of a three-bout broadcast Saturday night from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The winner of their fight for Nery’s WBC belt and Figueroa’s WBA world championship will advance to a showdown with unbeaten WBO champ Stephen Fulton (19-0, 8 KOs) on September 11 at a venue to be determined.
“Anything can happen, really,” Nery said. “Figueroa, he’s a dangerous fighter. But I wholly believe that the way that I have prepared and the way that I feel right now will only yield positive results. I’m ready to roll. I’m ready to fight and I’m only thinking positive thoughts heading into May 15th.”
Showtime will televise a pair of 10-round bouts before Nery faces Figueroa.
In its co-feature, Daniel Roman (28-3-1, 10 KOs), a former IBF/WBA 122-pound champ from Los Angeles, will meet Mexico’s Ricardo Espinoza (25-3, 21 KOs). Sacramento’s Xavier Martinez (16-0, 11 KOs) and Mexico’s Juan Carlos Burgos (34-4-2, 21 KOs) will square off in a junior lightweight bout that’ll open Showtime’s tripleheader at 10 p.m. ET.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.