When Brandon Figueroa and Mark Magsayo bang gloves and the first bell rings you can expect these two warriors to engage early and often. If there is a feeling out process it will be quick and by the end of the first round fists will be flying. The winner of this fight, which is being fought for an interim WBC strap will likely face Rey Vargas assuming the two-weight champion will return to the featherweight division. This important bout for both men will be televised on Showtime and live streaming on the SHO APP.
In the summer of 2021 Mark Magsayo made his presents felt dispatching the always game veteran boxer Julio Ceja in 10 action-packed rounds. The Philippines native notched a knockdown in round 1, touched the canvas himself in round 5 only to finish Ceja off for good with a flush right hand. To be fair about his victory over Gary Russell Jr. it’s difficult to judge fully given the injury. Regardless, Magsayo proved he belonged at that level. Plus, it’s not Mark’s fault Russell was hurt and to his credit Magsayo gave a great effort even in a split-decision loss to Rey Vargas last summer.
For a quite some time it was hard to get a good read on just how good Brandon Figueroa was on the way up as a prospect. He defeated a few solid journeyman level guys then had a split-draw against the previous mentioned Julio Ceja. The next four outings made many a true believer in Brandon. His victory over Luis Nery is aging nicely and even in a razor-thin margin loss to the ultra-skilled Stephen Fulton, showed this podcaster all I needed to see.
Figueroa finds a way to force his opponents into a street fight it’s just a matter of how many rounds it takes. Even with his 72-inch that doesn’t stop him from cutting the distance and unloading heavy punches. While developing at times Brandon would smother his punches on the inside something he’s improved upon greatly. The pressure and intensity along with punch volume and variety makes Figueroa a tough customer regardless of the comp. His style of fighting leave’s openings throughout the rounds.
Mark Magsayo is quick-fisted and light on his feet, bouncing around the ring in and out whether on defense or offense. He will throw combos, 4-6 punches in a row at times. Magsayo has a mean left hook, solid jab, and loves to throw straight right hands or looping overhands rights that pack a punch. In this particular matchup versus Brandon it would be prudent not to throw that many punches in a row instead look to get off 2-3. Using angles to attack and exit the pocket will be his best bet to stay out of harm’s way. While positioned on the ropes he can’t stay there long and especially not with the ear muff defense.
Allowing Figueroa to blast combinations while trapped in the corner or near the ropes significantly decreases his path to victory. Imploring a high guard defense for too long of spurts will also leave his body exposed. Three keys for Magsayo while on the ropes are as followed. One is to use a quick clinch, another is to exit and reset. The other is to throw back during the exchange. Obviously a mix of those three items will be needed to survive the onslaught of punches. The early rounds need to be won mostly by Magsayo because if he’s down on the cards at the midway point it will be a tough hill to climb. Mixing aggressive offense and smart defensive movements whether via Magsayo’s feet or upper body will come in handy.
Assuming Mark doesn’t start slow on offense he should have nice lead while media/fans score the fight at home. Then it’s about not allowing Figueroa to dominate on the inside and containing him when he does win back to back rounds. Somewhere around the 3rd or 4th round Figueroa will find his rhythm and a barrage will ensue so to speak pilling up the rounds in his favor. This boxing junkie is calling for an 8-4 or 7-5 victory on points but don’t rule out a late stoppage. Also, calling for a spirited two-way fight that will continue the string of great action bouts we’ve gotten thru 2 months of 2023.
My Official Prediction is Brandon Figueroa by Majority-Decision.
Side Note: Jarrett Hurd returns versus Jose Armando Resendiz along with a ShoBox-vibe pairing between Amilcar Vidal and Elijah Garica on the televised portion. On the YT/FB prelims look for 7-0 rising prospect Travon Marshall taking a big step up in class facing Justin DeLoach.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio