Omar Figueroa and Michael Perez battled for six hard rounds before Perez was pulled out of the fight. (Photo by Tom Casino/Showtime)
Last night on ShoBox from the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, Showtime and Golden Boy saved a boxing night that started horribly on Friday Night Fights from Key West, turning out a terrific, action-packed double-header in the lightweight division that saw four men fight pretty damn well, but one of them steal the show.
The show-stealer was Omar Figueroa, who stopped Michael Perez after six rounds in the opening contest, the result of a blistering, fearless, and hard-charging offensive attack. Perez (15-1-1, 9 KO) started the fight well with some good body work, but eventually he was just outgunned and worn down by Figueroa (14-0-1, 11 KO), who took a step up the prospect ladder with the best win of his young career.
Ramos UD-10 Beltran | Figueroa RTD-6 Perez
"I was a little disappointed. I hit him with all my best shots but he didn't go down," said Figueroa. "But I was confident. I never thought I was going to lose. I've been asking for tough opponents. I wanted to fight the best and I proved I can deal with this and much more.
"[Perez] was a tough opponent but that's what I've been asking for."
Perez, 21, offered no excuses, saying his legs simply didn't hold up. "It was my legs," said Perez. "I had no power since round two. I'm disappointed."
Obviously Figueroa's biggest weakness is spotty defense, but offensively, he's got a lot to work with. He's going to have to improve if he's going to become a serious player, but I love the way the kid fights, and he's going to make fans fighting that way, too.
In the main event, Luis Ramos Jr was able to slip past tough veteran Raymundo Beltran via scores of 97-93, 97-93, and 96-94. It was a highly competitive fight that could have gone to either man, but in the end went to the man brought in to win, the 23-year-old Ramos (21-0, 9 KO).
This is not to say that the scoring was robbery-level, because it wasn't close. But one has to feel for the double tough Beltran (25-6, 17 KO), a 30-year-old fighter who has toiled for years in the gyms as a regular sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao, and has developed into much more than just a "sparring partner." While that title is often a mark of shame for fighters who are trusted foes with the headgear on but can't get it done come a real fight night, the 30-year-old Beltran is not one of those fighters. This marks the second straight appearance on ShoBox where he's had a very good argument for a win over a touted prospect, as last year he was in a bloody, nip-and-tuck battle with Sharif Bogere, which went to Bogere.
After the fight, Beltran left the ring quickly and chose not to speak with Showtime, but Ramos shared his thoughts.
"I was a little nervous about the decision because I knew it was a tough fight," said Ramos. "[Beltran] was a tough fighter with a great record but I proved that I could hang in there and take punches."
Ramos also addressed the fact that Beltran busted him open with some headbutts, something not unfamiliar to a Beltran bout.
"He got me with a few head butts, but the blood didn’t really bother me."
The biggest question for Ramos now is whether or not he has the overall package to become a serious contender at 135 pounds. He's a good boxer, but in no way exceptional, and lacks punching power. But he's a smart fighter who has been matched tough in his career, and hasn't been on easy street despite promotional and managerial ties that could have allowed him to go that route. When he does truly step up, which could happen sometime this year, he'll be as mentally and physically ready as he's going to get. Will he be good enough? Time will tell.