Stephen Fulton and Brandon Figueroa appear headed on a collision course
Saturday night at the Bert Ogden Arena, in Edinburg, Texas, was supposed to be a homecoming for young, rising star Brandon Figueroa. But the greater benefactor may have been a bearded guy from Philly in a cowboy hat wearing an ear-to-ear grin.
Figueroa, “The Heartbreaker,” did what he was supposed to do on the FS1 PBC Fight Night show by overwhelming 38-year-old Javier Chacon and stopping him at 2:00 of the fourth round.
Stephen Fulton, “Cool Boy Steph” to some, or, “Tex,” for Saturday night at least, did his part earlier, stopping the more formidable Isaac Avelar earlier on the card with a sixth-round knockout at 1:26.
For the fifth time in his last eight fights, Fulton (17-0, 8 knockouts) beat the sixth undefeated fighter on his resume when he stopped Avelar (16-1, 10 KOs). He didn’t even shower in his dressing room, running back out to catch what Figueroa did.
The interesting twist is at the time of the stoppage, Fulton was down 48-47 on Luis Escalona and Hector Maldonado’s scorecards, while judge David Avalos had Fulton up 48-47.
“I’m more comfortable with myself in the ring,” Fulton said. “I know how to set things up now. I think it’s why I’m showing more power. I came back to see (Figueroa) and I’m not impressed.
“Chacon did nothing. I want to fight Figueroa and I’ll come out victorious. I’ll stop him. Figueroa hasn’t fought anyone like me before. This is going to be easy for me.”
As for fighting Fulton, Figueroa said, “I’m more than happy to do it. I can switch up my game and do everything at any time. I don’t think he’s seen a hard-hitter like me.”
To come to this possible crossroads, each had to do their part Saturday night.
Figueroa, 22, retained his interim WBA super bantamweight title with a searing body attack that Chacon, 38, could do little against. In the first, Figueroa used a sharp, wide lefts to the body. In the second, moving from southpaw to orthodox, he continued doing the same.
Still, Chacon offered no resistance. Through two, Chacon had offered just 30 shots at Figueroa, to The Heartbreaker’s 153.
Finally, in the fourth, Chacon did land a few rights to the body. That put Figueroa on notice. He came back to the body again and as the final minute of the round approached, The Heartbreaker dug a right to the body, then went up top with a right hook on the temple that dazed Chacon.
Chacon wobbled back against the ropes and Figueroa finished him a right uppercut that put Chacon down. Referee Rafael Ramos counted him out at 2:00 of the fourth.
“It was one of the best moments of my life fighting in front of my family and supporters who have been with me since I was seven years old,” said Figueroa, who landed 96-297 (32%) total punches to Chacon’s paltry 18-69 (26%). “I want to do this again over and over. These are my people and it feels amazing.
“He wasn’t throwing punches so I had to get in there and rough him up. He didn’t want to fight my game so I had to punish him and I caught him with a good right hook.”
In the co-feature, Fulton appeared in control from the start.
“This is the sixth undefeated fighter who came up short against me” Fulton said. “It shows that I’m ready for anyone. I want all of the title holders. If I have to go through Brandon Figueroa to do that, I’ll be ready.”
On the undercard, super lightweight Omar Juárez (5-0, 3 KOs) didn’t give Gino De La Paz (2-3-1, 1 KO) a chance. Juarez stopped De La Paz at 1:40 of the first round.
“I want to thank my friends and family my whole team and supporters for tonight,” Juárez said. “But most of all I want to thank my father because he has made me the fighter and man that I am today. It’s great to be fighting in front of my hometown and me and Gino put on a great show. I’m proud to see all my people from Brownsville here.
“We’re both from this area and everyone from down here is a tough fighter. We train to be calm and composed in the ring. I just listen to my corner so that we can complete the mission. I want to keep staying busy this year and I’m going to keep giving them 100 percent every time I step into the ring.”
On the first FS1 fight, super featherweight Jaime Arboleda (15-1, 13 KOs) looked good in downing Victor Betancourt (26-3, 13 KOs). An Arboleda head shot followed by a right to the body dropped Betancourt in the first. Barely able to get up, Betancourt was fodder for Arboleda, who put him down a second time with a right to the body. It was waved over at 2:32 of the first.