After being outjabbed and outhustled by Ricky Burns for nearly the first two rounds of Saturday’s fight in Hidalgo, Texas, Omar Figueroa Jr. seized The Moment when he exploded during a 10-second stretch of the second round. The flurry set the tone in Figueroa’s 12-round victory by unanimous decision.
Starting with a jab and a crisp right hand to drive Burns into retreat, and eventually to the ropes, Omar Figueroa forced his way inside. From there, Figueroa outslugged Burns with a blistering assortment of damaging left hooks, right crosses and uppercuts—all to the head.
The sequence followed an earlier stretch of nearly 30 seconds during which Figueroa’s back was pinned to the ropes while Burns successfully smothered the Texas native’s punches and delivered counters of his own.
“Burns is tough, but he was more effective behind his jab,” said former two-division champion Paulie Malignaggi, who provided ringside analysis during CBS’s broadcast of the fight from State Farm Arena. “But starting in Round 3, Omar made it more difficult for Burns to consistently keep him at jab distance. Many times, Omar was busier inside, although the fight was close.”
Figueroa's confidence surged from there as he continually plowed forward and ripped shots to the head and body. Through five rounds, Figueroa had more than doubled Burns’ output in body shots landed, 35 to 14.
“He has one of those European guards where he holds his hands up high and his elbows are exposed,” Figueroa said. “I had to be careful going to the body because that's how I hurt my hands most times, from hitting the elbows.”
Through seven rounds, Figueroa outlanded Burns 156 to 142 in power shots, his uppercuts repeatedly splitting the Scotsman’s highly held guard.
“The plan was to try to stick to boxing for the first half of the fight,” Burns said. “But once the size really took over I had to stand and exchange more than I would have liked. I couldn't get him off of me.”
Referee Laurence Cole deducted a point from a frustrated Burns for holding in both the eighth and 11th rounds. The penalties didn’t affect the outcome, as Figueroa won by scores of 116-110 on two of the judges’ scorecards and 117-109 on the third.
“If not for Cole’s point deductions, I don’t think you could complain about a draw,” Malignaggi said. “Regardless of the judges’ cards, that was a close fight. The difference may have been Omar’s ability to get inside Burns’ jab.”
“I tried to do what I could to get inside," he said. "Thankfully, the judges saw that."
For the full recap, including photos and videos, visit our Figueroa Jr. vs Burns fight page.