Photos by Suzanne Teresa/Premier Boxing Champions
Omar Figueroa Jr (26-0-1, 18 KOs) made his return to the ring against veteran fighter Antonio DeMarco (31-6-1, 23 KOs), headlining the Saturday, December 12, 2015 edition of Premier Boxing Champions on NBC.
Figueroa, who had not stepped into the ring since his hard-fought battle with Ricky Burns, looked to impress his Texas fans once more.
What was originally scheduled to be a fight fought at 140 pounds was later renegotiated to a “who knows what” weight class. This confusion started at the official weigh in when DeMarco stepped onto the scale weighing in at 149 pounds. Most members of the media just assumed he couldn’t make weight.
Next thing you know, Figueroa stepped on the scale and weighed 151 pounds. This started a frenzy of journalist and photographers looking through the press kits, wondering what the hell was going on. The word around the rumor mill was that both camps agreed to be over the limit of 140. It’s assumed that Figueroa paid DeMarco some amount of money for being 11 pounds overweight.
Once the bout got underway, it was clear as day that Figueroa was the bigger man in the ring. As expected, Figueroa came out charging and applied pressure on DeMarco instantly. DeMarco would try to distance himself by moving backwards and creating space with his jab.
DeMarco would find some success with this game plan here and there throughout the opening rounds, but Figueroa would remain the more consistent fighter through three. The fifth round was arguably DeMarco’s first solid round as he began to push Figueroa back a bit and gain confidence in his combination punches.
By the sixth round, Figueroa had thrown 500 punches to DeMarco’s 200 and one could only wonder if he could keep that pace up. In the seventh round, DeMarco opened the round landing crisp combinations to the body and head. Midway through the round, DeMarco would lay against the ropes and seemingly take a number of clean punches from Figueroa. After a few seconds, DeMarco would wait for Figueroa to fade for a brief moment to throw another set of combination punches that were both clean and effective.
In the 10th round, Figueroa began catching his second wind and continued to force DeMarco against the ropes and power punch as much as possible. The final two rounds were full of action from both sides. The crowd inside The AT&T Center began to erupt as both fighters were getting caught with vicious shots. It was literally a fight to the finish as the final bell rang and both men were still continuing to throw.
It came down to the judges scorecards in the end with the final scores reading 115-113, 115-113 and 116-112, all for Omar Figueroa. As expected, the pro-Figueroa crowd cheered their boxer on in victory. Ringside at press row, many had DeMarco winning a close decision.
During the post-fight interview, Figueroa was very open and stated that he had a lackluster performance.
“This wasn’t the fight I expected. I thought I would end the fight early, but he caught me with some good shots and it just wasn’t what I expected,” said Figueroa.
When asked about the increase in weight Figueroa gave a vague response. “There were some unforeseen circumstances during the process of making weight. I want to try and do more things in the 140-pound division, but it could be my body telling me it can only handle so much,” said Figueroa.
Both fighters deserve a lot of credit for putting on one hell of a show. While DeMarco added yet another loss to his record, he most certainly earned a lot of respect from the boxing community for his performance and showed that he certainly still has some gas left in the tank.
As for what’s next for Figueroa, he stated that he wants to continue fighting the best opponents available.
“I’ll fight anyone. That part doesn’t really matter to me, it’s all up to Al Haymon and his team,” stated Figueroa.
What is clear is that Figueroa fought a war and earned himself a little break. Should he still be able to make 140, there’s certainly no lack of competition.
— RoundByRoundBoxing (@RBRBoxing) December 13, 2015
Photos by Porfirio Barron Jr./RBRBoxing