Stephen Fulton does not understand the hype behind Brandon Figueroa’s title-winning stoppage of Luis Nery last May.
Fulton, the WBO junior featherweight titleholder from Philadelphia, will face off against Weslaco, Texas’ Figueora, the WBC titleholder, in a unification bout on Sept. 18 at the Park Theater in Las Vegas on a Showtime-televised card.
“Me, personally, I wouldn’t say he looked fantastic,” Fulton (19-0, 8 KOs) said of Figueroa during an interview with ring announcer Ray Flores. “The knockout overcame how clumsy the fight looked a little bit. I could say that, in that aspect.”
After absorbing some heat in the early going, Figueroa quickly turned the tables on Nery with a combination of pressure and hard shots to the body. Nery, who at point was considered one of the most dangerous threats in the 118-pound division, had no answer for the rugged Figueroa, eventually succumbing to a body shot in the seventh round.
The boxing world may have been impressed, but Fulton thinks Figueroa’s mistakes were all there for anyone to see. Had it not been for the knockout blow, Fulton believes the win would not have been heralded to the same extent.
“From my standpoint the fight wasn’t so neat,” Fulton continued. “[Figueroa] made it dirty, he made it wild. It wasn’t like a clean boxing fight that you could say, oh, he looked good. Brandon looked real good. No, it was just the knockout that made it a good fight. The knockout [overshadowed] what I felt the fight looked [like].”
In Fulton’s opinion, Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs) did not show any new wrinkles in his craft during the Nery bout.
“We seen the same Figueroa all the time,” Fulton said. “It’s really no different. I’m not saying he won’t come in any different when he faces me. I’m not saying that. But when I look back at that fight we see the same Figueroa if he was facing [Javier] Chacon or [Julio] Ceja, the one he got the draw with. So I wouldn’t say that. I’m not saying that he would fight me the same.”
Still, Fulton, 27, gave credit to his adversary where it was due.
“[Figueroa] improved as far as his conditioning [goes], as far as him just growing,” Fulton said. “He’s only 24, 25, so he’s still growing. Of course there will be some improvement in what he does. I’m not saying he’s staying stagnant. If he had he would have lost already. He is improving in the areas that he is good at.”