Omar Figueroa Jr. and Abel Ramos have every intention of stealing the show in a venue known for generating instant classics.
The welterweight clash has been pegged as one to watch as part of a four-fight Fox Sports Pay-Per-View event that takes place this Saturday from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. The site was still known as StubHub Center when Figueroa enjoyed his last win as a lightweight titlist, outlasting Mexico City’s Daniel Estrada to earn a 9th round knockout in their Aug. 2014 shootout.
“I’ve given some great fights in that arena already,” Figueroa noted during a recent Zoom media conference call to discuss his clash with Ramos. “It takes two to tango. Everyone knows I’m willing to give the fans those types of fights for as long as it takes. I’m just excited to get this show on the road May 1.”
Figueroa (28-1-1, 19KOs) fights for the first time since suffering his lone career defeat, a lopsided 12-round unanimous decision to Yordenis Ugas in their July 2019 title eliminator. Five months prior, the former lightweight titlist from Weslaco, Texas claimed his most recent win to date—a 10-round decision over John Molina Jr. in Los Angeles, running his record to 8-0 (6KOs) in fights held in California.
Saturday marks Figueroa’s fourth career fight in this venue, having first appeared on the non-televised undercard of a June 2012 Showtime telecast when the site was known as the Home Depot Center. Figueroa returned two years later as a lightweight champion, outpointing Jerry Belmontes over 12 rounds in April 2014 and making his last-ever title defense in the aforementioned knockout win over Estrada before moving up in weight.
Like his opponent, Ramos (26-4-2, 20KOs) also returns to the ring following a loss to Ugas. It came in their vacant WBA welterweight title fight last September at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, with Ramos dropping a competitive but clear 12-round unanimous decision.
The setback snapped an eight-fight win streak for the 29-year-old from Casa Grande, Arizona, including a 10-round decision over Francisco ‘Chia’ Santana at this very location. Their March 2019 shootout saw Ramos survive an early knockdown to claim the unanimous decision victory.
“There’s been great wars. It’s just something about that arena that attracts those types of fights,” notes Ramos. “I’m just ready to do my job and my job is to give the fans an exciting fight.”
Another war is expected in the evening's main event, a heavyweight clash between former unified titlist Andy Ruiz (33-2, 22KOs) and Chris Arreola (38-6-1, 33KOs; 2ND). The upcoming PPV event—which is presented by Premier Boxing Champions (PBC)—marks the first boxing card in California to take place with fans in attendance. PBC has staged all of its Fox-televised shows in the greater Los Angeles area since the pandemic, all of which have taken place behind closed doors.
The backdrop of a crowd and raucous cheers on the weekend preceding the Cinco de Mayo family should undoubtedly make for a festive atmosphere. The action promised in this matchup figures to give plenty of cause for applause.
“Boxing experts are right to think that we can steal the show,” states Ramos. “Our boxing styles will mix very well the night of the fight. They are going to love this fight.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox