Former world titleholders Omar Figueroa and Robert Guerrero will meet in on FOX main event on Saturday July 15, it was announced this evening. The crowd-pleasing style of Figueroa (26-0-1, 18 KOs) and his opponent, former four-division world champion Robert Guerrero (33-5-1, 18 KOs) makes their welterweight matchup one that is sure to be explosive. Joel Diaz, who trains Figueroa, said Wednesday, “We’ve got two guys who have similar styles as far as crashing in the middle of the ring, and they don’t take a step back. This will not be a boring fight!
Figueroa’s battling style of combat won him to the WBC 135-pound title, but his lack of defense took a toll on his body. He won the WBC interim title four years ago in a battle with Nihito Arakawa that was a leading candidate for fight of the year. Figueroa defended his WBC belt twice and then moved up to 140 for two fights, although he has won every match (except 1 draw), he has absorbed many punches in his last 4 to 5 fights.
He has also suffered at times from injuries to both hands, his elbows and shoulders and even his legs, Figueroa said he was far less than 100 percent healthy for many fights. “It was just instinct and pure heart and determination that got me through these last couple fights because I was off when it came to training,” Figueroa said. “It was too much for me mentally. I was getting hit more than I wanted, and my body wasn’t responding.”
Figueroa’s nature always found a way to win, but when he had difficulty training or where hand injuries robbed him of his power, health became a safety issue.
“It’s like a cop going into a gunfight without a gun,” Figueroa said. “You think he’s going to feel very safe or secure? He’s going to be thinking about these things more than ever, and that’s the way I was feeling because of my injuries.”
Figueroa was trained by his father most of his career, they had a degree of conflict over his layoff and agreed it was best to work with Diaz, who had trained Figueroa once before and is one of the best in the business.
After such a long time off, they decided it was best to “make a pit stop” at the 147-pound welterweight class rather than try getting down to 140 all at once. If he gets past Guerrero, Figueroa hopes to move to 140 for a title shot in that division.
But 34-year-old southpaw Guerrero is no walk in the park, his three most significant losses were to undefeated champions — Floyd Mayweather Jr., Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia.
“You develop that kamikaze mentality,” Figueroa said of his approach to this fight. “Guerrero is not going to be an easy opponent. He’s not someone you can put down in one or two rounds. He’s someone that’s going to stick it out and make you work very hard for that victory.