"Champion in recess" is what the WBC dubbed Omar Figueroa after it stripped him of his title on Monday. Figueroa has been nursing an injured hand which has kept him on the shelf the last few months. That has paved the way for ultra-talented Jorge Linares (37-3, 24 KOs) to fight Javier Prieto (24-7-2, 18 KOs) for the now-vacant WBC title on December 30th.
You may have read me gush over the obvious talent of Jorge Linares in the past, though I always manage to be surprised by how easily he can be opened up and melt away. I still think he's a top 5 pound-for-pound fighter (in terms of talent level and skill), but unfortunately, his one glaring weakness is a particularly terrible one to have in this line of work. That being his single-ply, tissue paper skin. So while I had been hoping to see him work his way back to another title shot, I was kind of hoping it would've been under different circumstances.
Nonetheless, Linares now has his opportunity and with Figueroa's new designation, it'll pave the way for Omar to become a mandatory challenger to the winner of Linares-Prieto if and when he's ready to return to action. Figueroa has mentioned that he wants to move up to 140lbs, but the opportunity for winning his title back is still awaiting him at 135 if he so chooses.