It was an eventful card at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, California, that was headlined by the featherweight contest between Brandon Figueroa and Mark Magsayo, who in recent years had held major world titles. This bout was for the WBC interim featherweight title.
And after 12 hard fought rounds, it was Figueroa winning a unanimous decision. The tallies were 117-109 (twice) and 118-108.
“I felt strong,” the 26-year-old native of Weslaco, Texas said. “I just don’t stop. I don’t get tired and I’m relentless and I came forward and I wanted the fight. Whoever wants to fight me, I’ll fight. I want to fight for a world title. I just want to give the fans the fights they want.”
These scores do not reflect just how competitive this fight was, but at the end of the night, the judges got it right. It was the overall consistency and grinding pressure of Figueroa that wore down the Filipino in the late rounds.
Magsayo had some good moment throughout, he had the sharper, more accurate punches. But whatever Figueroa lacks in precision, he makes up for in doggedness. While he possesses unusual height and reach for this weight classes, Figueroa mostly eschews utilizing his range and prefers to fight in close quarters and swarm his foes.
This steady onslaught took an effect on Magsayo, who was deducted a point in the eighth round for excessive holding, and once again docked in the 11th by referee, Thomas Taylor, for the same infraction. While Figueroa finished with a strong finishing kick in the championship rounds, Magsayo looked like a drowning man desperately trying to make it to shore.
To his credit, he gutted it out, but it was Figueroa who got his hands raised in victory. Now he gets an opportunity to face WBC featherweight belt-holder, Rey Vargas, who just recently lost in his attempt at their 130-pound title versus O'Shaquie Foster. With the unusual height of both boxers, Vargas-Figueroa could look like two giraffes jousting at one another.
On the Showtime co-main, we may have seen the end of Jarrett Hurd, whose bout against Armando Resendiz was stopped seconds into the 10th round by the ringside physician due to a laceration on Hurd's lips.
It wasn't that long ago that Hurd was a unified junior middleweight, who had defeated the likes of Tony Harrison, Austin Trout, and Erislandy Lara (in what was one of the best bouts of 2018). He was a fighter with a fan-friendly style and seemed to be a rising star.
But that style came at a price, and combined with boiling his 5'11 frame into the 154-pound weight limit seems to have aged him faster than an open avocado left out in the sun. He was beaten convincingly by Julian Williams in May of 2019, and since that point has fought just three times. After a victory over the naturally smaller Francisco Santana, he was defeated by Luis Arias in 2021, and then stopped on Saturday night by Resendiz.
What we saw in Hurd was a fighter who's spirit was willing, but his body was not. He looked like a hollowed out being in there. Yes, he was able to land his share of leather in the middle rounds, but it was the pesky Resendiz, who kept out-working him from close range, and chipping away at Hurd. There was a right hand late in the ninth that seemed to stiffen him up along the ropes.
Hurd is now a fighter who can see openings and can't capitalize on them, and saw oncoming punches and couldn't get out of the way.
As the bell sounded to begin the 10th and final round, referee Ray Corona, took him over to the ringside doctor, who mercifully waved it off. Hurd didn't seem to protest all that much. Perhaps he knows that his expiration date as a professional prizefighter has come. At the time of the stoppage, Resendiz was up on two cards, 87-84, and 89-82.
"I wish I could have finished it, but my lip was cut too bad. So, congratulations to Reséndiz. I definitely wish I could have continued,'' said Hurd. "At no point was I hurt at all in that fight, but I have to respect what the doctors say and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Here's hoping Hurd never fights again. It was a short but memorable run. To extend it any further seems reckless.
This was an entertaining card on Showtime, which also included Elijah Garcia's fourth round KO of Amilcar Vidal.
And with that, 'Battleship' Pittman, who was the focus of a recent K9's Corner, sent me this email on Sunday morning with the title 'All is not lost':
"Hi Steve, just wanted you to know I enjoyed the boxing on Showtime last night. Figueroa/Magsayo was a good fight and very entertaining. I may be disillusioned with some of the ways boxing has evolved, but when you get down to what takes place in the ring itself, no other sport can compare to it.
Speaking of Showtime, they announced their upcoming schedule for the first half of '23....
You can all discuss and debate the quality of this lineup.