Omar Figueroa and Antonio DeMarco closed out the PBC on NBC year with a bang, delivering a closely fought action fight in front of enthusiastic fans at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.
Figueroa came out semi-aggressive but tried being more selective in spots. Figueroa looked huge, but DeMarco was taking his shots very well in the first few rounds. However, it was Figueroa’s size that was helping him keep DeMarco right where he wanted him, with his back against the ropes.
When Figueroa was being smart he was also leaving himself open, when he was aggressive and a bit sloppy is when he seemed to have the most success.
Switching style to southpaw for a moment and then quickly back to orthodox, Figueroa was able to keep the fight exactly where he wanted it – in the phone booth. DeMarco was able to get some distance between him and Omar for a bit, but he never did anything with that time. DeMarco refused to move and allowed himself to get pinned right back against the ropes.
A firefight broke out to end the third round, and it was then that we truly saw the difference size was playing in the fight. DeMarco landed two hard shots on Omar, by far the best shots in the exchange. But Omar quickly regrouped and let one punch fly that landed on DeMarco with careless effort. Yet, it was Figueroa’s punch that seemed to have more effect, despite the fact that DeMarco’s punch looked harder.
The fight started developing a rhythm where Figueroa controlled the fight almost entirely before the final 15 seconds or so. That’s when DeMarco would come back and land the hardest punches of the round and barely faze Omar.
It is difficult to win rounds like that, and Figueroa certainly wasn’t getting into any real trouble, but DeMarco was gaining a ton of confidence as he began to let his hands go more freely. In fact, DeMarco seemed to actually hurt Omar with a body shot in the 5th round, but he was unable to capitalize off of much.
Still, the body attack would eventually pay off and in the 7th round, DeMarco was able to string together some meaningful offense as he snapped back the head of Omar. Omar was still controlling the action, but DeMarco was finding success more often and in greater quantities. He actually managed to back up the oversized Omar at one point, although he recorded little damage. But the success DeMarco was having to the body was abandoned, not completely, but in a meaningful manner.
There was a noticeable cut under the right eye of DeMarco and it started to open a bit. Omar kept up the attack and DeMarco allowed his back to keep getting trapped without moving for the majority of rounds.
A low blow stopped the action briefly in the 10th.
DeMarco turned the pressure up in the 11th round and Omar responded in a way that suggested he was much more fatigued than he was probably willing to admit. A true slugfest broke out and both men took turns trading and dominating the action. Omar continued to utilize his size while DeMarco took advantage of Omar’s stamina.
The 12th round will go down as one of the best rounds ever seen in the AT&T Center as both fighters pushed each other to unthinkable limits. Figueroa and DeMarco went toe-to-toe at the end of the fight and delivered a candidate for round of the year.
Neither fighter submitted and the fight went to the judges who turned in scores of 115-113 twice and 116-112 for Figueroa who won by unanimous decision, and incredible size.
After the fight, Figueroa said that the fight did not go the way he wanted and that he was afraid he might’ve outgrown the junior welterweight division.
In the co-feature, we got another incredibly close fight as Chris Arreola and Travis Kauffman battled to a split decision in Arreola’s favor.
It was business as usual for Arreola as he went through the motions. As a high volume punching heavyweight, Arreola is extremely capable, but against someone that selects his shots methodically and isn’t afraid to bang, he can get reckless.
Kauffman was able to drop Arreola in the 3rd round with a precise right hand to the jaw. Arreola wasn’t very hurt but there was a huge momentum swing. The problem was that Arreola seemed to be reenergized by the knockdown, as he often has does with his back to the ropes.
Arreola managed to swing the momentum back in his favor in the 5th round and he was able to land a huge combination that hurt Kauffman.
At the midway point, the fight was pretty much even in terms of momentum.
Arreola looked noticeably gassed in the 7th round as Kauffman stalked him. Kauffman managed to pin Arreola’s back to the ropes and picked his shots.
It was a battle between well-known trainers Henry Ramirez (Arreola) and Naazim Richardson (Kauffman) as they screamed instructions to their respective fighters.
A low blow in the 9th sparked the action as Kauffman accidently hit Arreola below the belt during a two-punch combination to the body and head. Arreola took his time to recover and the San Antonio fans booed as their desire for violence built.
Arreola attempted to come back and retaliate with legal punches, but Kauffman was able to match his tempo and never let Arreola gain any real advantage. Still, Arreola did seem a little livelier than he had been performing in the previous rounds. He rallied with some solid 2 and 3 punch combinations.
The fight made it to the 12th and both men did their best to dig deep. Arreola was able to get some impressive shots in
The judges scored the fight 114-113 for Arreola, 114-113 for Kauffman, and 114-113 for Arreola, giving him the split decision victory.
Arreola said after the fight that he “wasn’t hurt from the knockdown, it was more of a flash knockdown.”
“I pulled it out in the championship rounds. I was in great shape and that was the difference in my winning,” Arreola said.
Arreola admitted that he is up to a rematch with Kauffman, but he feels as though he has earned a title fight.