Brandon Figueroa called his majority-decision defeat to Stephen Fulton “the robbery of the year” before he left the ring the night of November 27 in Las Vegas.
The former WBC super bantamweight champion was more diplomatic seven months later, but Figueroa remains convinced that he did enough to defeat Fulton in their action-packed, 122-pound title unification fight. Fulton won eight rounds apiece on the scorecards of judges Tim Cheatham (116-112) and Dave Moretti (116-112), whereas judge David Sutherland scored their “Fight of the Year” candidate a draw, 114-114.
“It was a close fight,” Figueroa told BoxingScene.com in advance of his fight versus Carlos Castro on Saturday night in San Antonio. “I’m not gonna take nothing away from him. It was a close fight. I just felt I did a little bit more.”
CompuBox counted 45 more overall connections for Figueroa (314-of-1,060 to 269-of-726). According to CompuBox, Figueroa landed 51 more power punches (298-of-871 to 247-of-561) and Fulton connected with six more jabs (22-of-165 to 16-of-189).
“I looked for him, I put the pressure [on Fulton], I threw more punches, I landed more punches,” Figueroa said. “He was just basically running and hugging and popping off 10 to 15 clean, little shots [per round]. And I guess if that’s the way to win, then that’s the way to win, just hugging, moving, running and just popping off 10 to 15 shots a round, and making them count. I guess that’s what the judges were scoring the fight based on.
“They weren’t scoring on who was the aggressor, who wanted to fight more, who was making the fight exciting, in other words. But like I said, boxing’s a business and the fans will tell you, the ones that attended, who won that fight. But, I mean, it is what it is. I’m not focused on that fight anymore. I’m focused on this next one.”
Fulton (21-0, 8 KOs) retained his WBO junior featherweight title and won the WBC super bantamweight crown from Figueroa (22-1-1, 17 KOs). Philadelphia’s Fulton successfully defended those two titles against Daniel Roman on June 4, when he out-classed the former IBF and WBA champ on his way to a wide win on all three scorecards at The Armory in Minneapolis.
Figueroa decided before he fought Fulton to move up to the featherweight division for his following fight. The Weslaco, Texas native will return to the ring against Phoenix’s Castro (27-1, 12 KOs) in a 12-round WBC elimination match Showtime will televise from Alamodome.
Though he is fully focused on earning a featherweight title shot against the winner of the main event Saturday night between champion Mark Magsayo (24-0, 16 KOs) and mandatory challenger Rey Vargas (35-0, 22 KOs), Figueroa would welcome a rematch with Fulton at the 126-pound limit.
“If they want the rematch, then let’s make it happen at 126,” Figueroa said. “I mean, I’m not scared of no one. I’ve never been scared of no one, never said no to a fight. Whatever it takes, I’m down to fight anyone, at the end of the day. Especially with him, since we have some unfinished business. But yeah, I know our rematch would probably be more exciting than any of the fights he’d have, even if he fights for undisputed [at 122 pounds].”
Fulton will at least attempt to land a full unification fight with IBF/WBA champ Murodjon Akhmadaliev before he moves up to featherweight. Uzbekistan’s Akhmadaliev (11-0, 8 KOs) most recently stopped mandatory challenger Ronny Rios (33-4, 16 KOs) in the 12th round of their June 25 fight at Tech Port Arena in San Antonio.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.