Featherweight Brandon Figueroa Returns To The Ring On Canelo Alvarez Card‌

By Percy Lovell Crawford

After sitting out of the ring for over a year, the wait was well worth it for featherweight, Brandon Figueroa. He’s secured a spot on the card of boxing’s biggest star, Canelo Alvarez, on Cinco De Mayo weekend. Figueroa (24-1-1) with 18 knockouts will battle, Jessie Magdaleno (29-2) with 18 knockouts for the WBC interim title. Coming off of back-to-back wins, Figueroa hopes a win on Saturday night will not only enhance his stance within the division, but also put the boxing world on notice that he belongs with the upper echelon in the sport.

During a recent conversation with the two-fisted volume puncher, we discussed Saturday night’s fight, what makes his style unique, and much more.

Zenger: I watched a video of you from a few weeks ago. You look to be in great shape. How do you feel? 

Figueroa: I feel great. Finally, here for this card this Saturday. Probably one of the biggest cards of the year. We gotta go out there and do our thing. Go put on a show and make a statement and have an impressive win.

Zenger: Obviously, no fighter likes a layoff, what was your motivation to be ready when you got the phone call for this fight? 

Figueroa: Absolutely! As a fighter you always have to be ready. Always gotta be active. As a boxer, I feel like off-camp is the toughest part. You gotta eat good whether you like it or not. You gotta get up and go to the gym 3 or 4 times a week whether you like it or not. Boxing is full time, especially as a professional boxer who wants to take it to that level. Boxing is like your girlfriend. You gotta give it the time, energy, attention, the love, because if not, she would leave you. That’s something that I’ve been working on, being better off-camp. In camp, I’m locked in. I’m 100% there. We got back in camp a few months ago and we’re very sharp. I’m ready, I been ready, and I can’t wait to put it all together come Saturday.

Zenger: Last March you had a very tough fight against, Mark Magsayo, do you see any similarities in Jessie Magdaleno as Magsayo, or is the approach to this fight completely different? 

Figueroa: Of course, Magdaleno is a little bit shorter than Magsayo. I think Magdaleno has that Mexican grit. I knew with Magsayo, once he felt the pressure he was going to run and move, what fighter isn’t? I see Magdaleno likes to stay in the pocket a little more. I don’t have to look for him all night. He will be there right in front of me. I won’t have to look for him. He’s a little crafty. He won’t be the first or last guy I have to cut off the corner. He’s a little shifty. There are a lot of things he has to his style, but we studied him well. Inside the ring, a boxer has to adapt on the fly, reading your opponent and seeing what they are doing inside the ring. You can watch all the tape you want, but fighters come different on fight night, and you don’t know how they prepared for you. You always have to prepare for that. Just come prepared and leave it all in the ring.

Zenger: When you got the call that you would be a part of a Canelo Alvarez, Cinco De Mayo card, what was that feeling like for you? 

Figueroa: It felt like it was a reward for waiting so long. Being given this big opportunity on a big card, and it lands on a Mexican Holiday weekend, so I know a lot of my fans will be going crazy. I’m excited to be able to represent my flag. It’s going to be a great weekend. The atmosphere is going to be insane. I’ve been to a couple of Canelo fights, and the atmosphere is always insane, so I can’t wait for this opportunity.

Zenger: Being a part of the show is half the battle, stealing the show is another battle, if not stealing the show, how do you cement yourself as part of this card that will have people talking about your fight Sunday morning? 

Figueroa: Of course! There is no reverse in me. I prepare 110%. I work my butt off. That’s why I am one of the better conditioned fighters in the game. My volume punching is up there. I’m averaging almost 100 punches per round. Everyone knows that I’m an action-packed fighter, I’m a come forward fighter, and I just come to fight, man. I love fighting. That’s something that people are going to love to see in me, an exciting fighter, and I can’t wait.

Zenger: The record of your last five opponents is 116-3. What does that say about you the fighter, and where would you like a win over Magdaleno to place you within the division? 

Figueroa: My name has been up there. I’ve been proving, not only to myself, but to everyone else that I belong in that world-class level. I love fighting world champions; I love fighting the best of the best. Just gaining that experience, that knowledge, and that grit that I get in every fight, it helps me to keep evolving. I feel like this fight is no different. Especially with an opponent like Jessie. I never take my opponents lightly. I think that’s why I’m so successful. I never overlook anyone. I treat everyone like it’s a championship fight, and this fight is no different. I always prepare 110%, my conditioning is always there, and it never fails me. You guys are going to see come Saturday. You’re going to see me throw a lot of punches. That’s always been my forte, it’s served me well. I just go out there and fight. I’m going to do what I do best and overwhelm my opponent.

Zenger: Do you feel like your volume and length will eventually separate you from the rest of the division? 

Figueroa: Yeah, of course. I feel like a lot of people underestimate me, my style, my frame. People see me and they don’t think I’m like that, but I’m very like that. I just like to show it. I don’t do a lot of talking outside of the ring. I’m very meticulous. A lot of people think I’m rock-em-sock-em-robot, and I just come forward and punch. There is always a method to my style. I’m very smart, I’m very sneaky, I’m setting you up with every shot. I’m waiting for you to make your move, so I can counter that. I think a lot of people underestimate that from me. Yes, I throw a lot of punches, and a lot of people may think it’s wild, but it’s not. There’s a reason for that. When you’re fighting these crafty guys, you have to refuse them, you have to be tricky, and unique to beat these guys who have 200-400 amateur fights, and pro fights. You definitely have to give them a different look and something they have never seen before. I think that’s why I’m so successful because no one has my style. It’s very unique.

Zenger: Thank you for your time, always look forward to watching you fight. Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

                Figueroa: Thank you so much. Thank you to the fans who will be tuning in and in attendance. It’s going to be amazing fireworks. Thank you for the opportunity and I can’t wait to showcase my skills.

                (Additional reporting provided by Miriam Onyango)