Luis Nery and Brandon Figueroa are well aware of the rich history of fan-friendly, unforgettable fights at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Motivated in part by those memorable battles, the unbeaten 122-pound champions expect to add to that tradition Saturday night. In fact, Nery and Figueroa feel they’ll produce nothing short of a “Fight of the Year” candidate when they square off at the venue once known as Home Depot Center in Carson California.
“All we need to do to stand out in the month of May is to put up a great fight,” Nery said during a press conference Thursday in Los Angeles. “And Brandon is a great opponent. We are gonna have an all-out war [from] the first round. And people are gonna be talking about it not only in the month of May, but for the rest of the year to come.”
Tijuana’s Nery (31-0, 24 KOs) will make his first defense of the WBC super bantamweight title he won seven months ago by out-pointing Aaron Alameda (25-1, 13 KOs) when he faces Figueroa (21-0-1, 14 KOs), of Weslaco, Texas. Figueroa’s WBA world 122-pound championship also will be at stake when they meet in a “Showtime Championship Boxing” main event.
The 24-year-old Figueroa, whose relentless aggression and defensive flaws have made him a fan favorite, cannot see any way that he and Nery won’t produce an all-action battle.
“I mean, I feel the same way [as Nery],” Figueroa said. “I feel like this fight can be ‘Fight of the Year.’ And definitely, it’s gonna be talked about because I mean, I come with everything. You know, I know everything’s on the line and I’m gonna make sure I go out there and give it my all. And if I’m gonna give it my all, then it’s gonna be a great fight.”
The winner of their fight will face unbeaten WBO champion Stephen Fulton on September 11 at an undetermined venue. Philadelphia’s Fulton (19-0, 8 KOs) will be part of Showtime’s broadcast team Saturday night.
Nery-Figueroa will headline a Showtime tripleheader scheduled to start at 10 p.m. ET.
In the 10-round 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). In the opener of the telecast, Sacramento’s Xavier Martinez (16-0, 11 KOs) will face Mexican contender Juan Carlos Burgos (34-4-2, 21 KOs) in a 10-round junior lightweight bout.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.