By Keith Idec
Adrien Broner’s upcoming opponent has his own legal issues to overcome.
ESPN.com reported Tuesday that Omar Figueroa Jr. was charged with driving under the influence after an arrest January 29 in Indian Wells, California. The 28-year-old Figueroa resides in Weslaco, Texas, but is in Southern California to work with trainer Joel Diaz for his April 21 fight against Broner.
According to ESPN.com, Figueroa was arrested at 3:14 a.m. PT on January 29, booked at 6:28 a.m. and later released on his own recognizance. Figueroa (27-0-1, 19 KOs) has a court date scheduled for March 26 at 7:30 a.m. at the Indio Justice Center in Indio, California, less than four weeks before he is scheduled to box Broner in a 12-round, 140-pound fight Showtime is supposed to televise.
Figueroa’s legal trouble surfaced on the same day multiple outlets reported Broner was arrested at an Atlanta shopping mall Monday night for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman.
Broner (33-3, 24 KOs, 1 NC), a four-division champion from Cincinnati who has encountered various legal issues in recent years, was arrested because a woman claimed Broner “inappropriately groped her” outside a store in Lenox Square, an upscale mall in Atlanta. After interviewing Broner, police arrested him for misdemeanor sexual battery.
The 28-year-old Broner had been preparing for the Figueroa fight at new trainer Kevin Cunningham’s gym in West Palm Beach, Florida. It isn’t clear why he was in Atlanta on Monday.
If the Broner-Figueroa fight isn’t postponed due to their legal issues, it is expected to take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, though the site hasn’t officially been announced. If it happens, the winner of the Broner-Figueroa elimination match would become the WBC’s mandatory challenger at 140 pounds.
Amir Imam (21-1, 18 KOs), of Albany, New York, and Jose Ramirez (21-0, 16 KOs), of Avenal, California, are set to fight March 17 in New York for the vacant WBC super lightweight title Terence Crawford gave up when he moved up to welterweight last year. The Imam-Ramirez winner would first need to fight the victor between Houston’s Regis Prograis (20-0, 17 KOs) and Namibia’s Julius Indongo (22-1, 11 KOs), who’ll fight for the WBC interim 140-pound title March 9 in Deadwood, South Dakota (Showtime).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.