By James Blears
For those fight fans and fans who love to see a vibrant and sensational in-ring war that certainly won’t go away, this unification fight, starring Luis Nery and Brandon Lee Figueroa, is not one to miss, because they certainly won’t, when the bell rings and the intense action immediately kicks in.
At stake in this attractive match will be Luis’ WBC super bantamweight belt and Brandon’s WBC super bantamweight belt. It will be a titanic test of distributing an avalanche offensive, since they both distinguish themselves by always going forward. The size of the ring in this match probably won’t matter one iota.
At five feet five inches tall, Luis is giving away three inches tall. Luis’s reach is sixty-six inches, while Brandon’s wingspan is seventy-two inches. This won’t matter much, because they both love to fight up close, testing their opponent’s chin, constitutional fortitude, and mental resolve, through an enthusiastic disposition to exchange cascades of power punches. Give and take to try and see who gives. They are both pressure fighters, throwing high volumes of punches. Brandon prefers to soften opponents with a crunchy body attack. Luis also likes to lash out at the body, but he’s more of a hunter by choice.
Twenty-six-year-old left-hander Luis (31-0, 24 KO`s) from Tijuana won the WBC bantamweight championship before moving up to this division. Physically he is fully mature, sporting a bushy pirate-style beard but no mustache. There is an Old Testament aura to his appearance, but he avoids being a prophet, preferring to let his striking power deliver the sermon, chapter, and verse.
By contrast, 24-year-old Brandon (21-0-1, 16 KO`s) of Weslaco, Texas, who is the younger brother of former WBC lightweight champion Omar “Panterita” Figueroa, barely seems to be of age. enough to shave. In appearance, the blue-eyed boy resembles a slender adolescent model; However, appearances are deceiving.
When it comes to fighting, Brandon is ruthlessly robust and utterly ruthless, to begin with and as a main course. He doesn’t seem like he cares too much about taking a few scoops to get his own thing and has been branded around the eyes multiple times, as he moves up the food chain, to savor the juicier menus.
Luis’s previous fight before this one, for the vacant WBC super bantamweight title against tough Aaron Alameda on September 26 of last year, didn’t go as planned, because even though he dominated Aaron, he came the full distance. The inactivity of more than a year since his KO win against Juan Carlos Payano seems to have blunted his lead on that particular occasion. Before that, he had quietly stopped eleven opponents in a row, including the WBC bantamweight championship win, crushing Shinsuke Yamanka in four rounds with the Japanese warrior’s corner saving him.
Then a positive test result for Zilpanterol, which came from food contamination. A second B test was negative. Yamanka was reinstated as champion and a rematch was ordered. But then another nasty surprise, as Nery came in three pounds over the limit, much to the fury and scorn of Japanese officials, who are staunch supporters of absolute discipline, namely weight requirements.
With the title off the table for him, Nery won via a KO in the second round, but he won’t be fighting in Japan again, soon and probably anytime there ever again.
Nery, who is now trained by Ismael Ramírez, has been practicing a lot in Tijuana, running hills and valleys for the next power punching match to re-boost and revitalize his KO ballistics, gaining even more energizing stamina. He and Eddy Reynoso had parted ways after the Alameda fight on friendly and mutually respectful terms.
Right now, Luis as Brandon is in war mode: “It’s him or me,” and says he’s not interested in the Pretty Boy epithets given to his baby-faced opponent’s narrow shoulders. It’s going to be a fight with power and shock resistance being the core elements tested to the max.
Brandon is determined to make his mark on the sport with this as the defining fight of his career thus far. He has fought nine times less than Luis. One could argue that it hasn’t built the same battle-hardened experience, but on the other hand, it’s a bit cooler.
With Brandon’s training, well… it’s all part of the family. Namely, Dad Omar Sr, his older brother Omar and his sister Omaya, another stunning beauty on the team. Everyone knows the scale of the task ahead, its magnitude, and the cloying magma Brandon will have to pour on Luis, if he wants to win. It’s all about calculating and executing the high-risk bets in this duel.
What Brandon does best is hitting an opponent like glue with a two-punch attack, often switching from conventional to left-handed as openings unfold.
Brandon won the interim WBA title by defeating Yonfrez Parejo head-to-head in trenches. Living up to his nickname, he kept hitting until the beaten Venezuelan was defeated. Under the glaring sun, ring host Jimmy Lennon wore dark glasses, but the defeated fighter looked like he needed them much more.
In his first defense, Brandon faced the short, plump and tough Javier Nicolás Chacón. He almost came the distance, but in the twelfth and final round, a withering right to the ribs, followed with a combo to the head and then a pointed right hook through the guard, brought the curtain down.
Promoted to full regular WBA champion, Brandon then drew a battle royale against the talented and tough Julio Ceja, who came in four and a half pounds over the weight limit, and lasted the distance.
Then he dispatched Damien Vázquez with a KO in the 10th with body shots, referee Gary Rosario stopped the fight. During the previous round, Ref Gary, who was imposing a break, had accidentally pushed Brandon to the mat. Just before the tenth began, the Ring Doctor had looked hard at Damien’s swollen, sad face with his hand before allowing him to do so dejectedly, but bravely, come out for more of the same.
In this fight, Brandon will be up against a puncher and he would do well to pick his punches and avoid taking too many to get in, because like him, Luis can really hit, rather than fizz with pop.
Luis’s left hook and left cross are formidable weapons. Also blows to the body can make a difference. While Brandon’s right uppercut, right hook, and constant body crush never fail to come through, he’s particularly effective. An optimal condition, an optimal work rate, but also cunning and cunning is urgently needed to slip blows.
Luis’ one-punch power appears to be sharper, but if the fight goes beyond the midpoint, Brandon’s nonstop attack could cause significant wear and tear. Many boxing matches are built, billed, and even over-inflated as an impending war. This duel will live up to it and will exceed all expectations. It is between two fiercely proud undefeated fighters.
The winner will face WBO champion Stephen Fulton Jr, who is also undefeated, if the victor has recovered enough from a litmus test.