The unbeaten interim world super bantamweight champion could become a crossover star but first he must get by veteran Javier Chacon in a homecoming title defense Saturday night on FS1.
Could Brandon “Heartbreaker” Figueroa (19-0, 14 KOs) be boxing’s next big star?
The 22-year-old has the look and the style to crossover to mainstream success, but well-traveled Argentine battler Javier “Chispita” Chacon (29-4-1, 9 KOs) is looking to test the mental toughness of the undefeated hot property.
This Saturday, August 24, in the main event of PBC Fight Night on FS1 and FOX Deportes (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT), live from Bert Ogden Arena in Edinburg, Texas, Figueroa will defend his interim WBA super bantamweight title against upset-minded Chacon in what should be a spirited twelve-round 122 lb. contest.
On the televised undercard, Stephen "CoolBoySteph" Fulton Jr. clashes with Isaac Avelar in a 12-round super bantamweight meeting of undefeated prospects and similarly undefeated Darwin Price takes on veteran Aaron Herrera in a 10-round super lightweight contest.
With this bout taking place just minutes away from his hometown of Weslaco, Figueroa, the younger brother of former lightweight champ and welterweight contender Omar Figueroa Jr., sees this challenge as a chance to build a regional base and take one full step closer to next-level stardom.
Blessed with charisma and boy-next-door good looks, the young man with big plans has impressed with his ability to deliver real hardcore action in the ring with a touch of beyond-his-years savvy.
Tall and lanky with a hefty dose of athleticism and a penchant for shifting back and forth from righty to lefty, Figueroa prefers to take the fight to opposition rather than poke and prod from a distance. He tempers his aggression with subtle nuance and a shifting of angles on the inside that not only facilitates defense, but also keeps his punches flying at off-putting angles. Effective to both the head and body, he gets good leverage on everything and throws an especially solid uppercut.
Trained by his father Omar Sr., Brandon is definitely a disciple of the Figueroa-style volume punching philosophy and has blasted CompuBox records with his punch output. His activity in the ring, combined with a pair of legitimately heavy hands and the nuances in his game, test the mental will and physical conditioning of opposition.
Riding a six-fight stoppage streak, Figueroa’s last three wins within the distance have come against tough veterans Oscar Escandon, Moises Flores, and Yonfrez Parejo, who he beat this past April to capture his interim title.
The upcoming clash puts him in the ring with another veteran foe, but Figueroa plans to put on an eye-catching show in this main event showcase opportunity.
"Bringing nationally televised fights to Bert Ogden Arena for the first time means a lot to me," said Figueroa. "It's going to be a great night for me and everyone here. I hope everyone comes out and supports me because it's going to be an atmosphere that you don't want to miss. I'm so ready to step in the ring and show everyone all the hard work I put into training camp.
“ I'm so ready to step in the ring and show everyone all the hard work I put into training camp. ” Undefeated Interim Super Bantamweight Champion - Brandon Figueroa
"I know that I'm facing a tough opponent from Argentina, which means he's going to leave it all in the ring. He has kind of an awkward style but we're working to prepare for it. I think there will be openings for me to attack the body, which is what I love to do."
The 38-year-old Chacon, from Las Heras, Mendoza, Argentina, has been around the block a few times, with bouts in Panama, Ghana, and the UK, but will be making his US debut this Saturday. Younger brother of former featherweight world champ Julio Pablo Chacon, “Chispita” has been in the ring with names like Anselmo Moreno, Jamie McDonnell, and Isaac Dogboe.
Patient and calm-headed, Chacon waits for his opportunities and pounces on them with a balanced attack. Although not especially strong in any one area, the South American 122 lb. champ is all-around solid and willing to put in work to find his spots.
A win against Figueroa not only bags him the interim WBA super bantamweight title, but also validates a 15-year pro career.
"I'm looking forward to this great opportunity to fulfill my dreams of being world champion like my brother Julio Pablo," said Chacon. "To get here, I had to win a tournament to find the best super bantamweight in Argentina. I was the underdog in every fight and still won each time. That's what I'm going to do again on August 24. I will win when nobody thinks I can."
Figueroa’s game plan on Saturday is no mystery. He will jump on Chacon and try to beat him into submission with a barrage of punches. Chacon will likely respond in typical fashion by trying to weather the storm and find his spots to return fire. On paper, Figueroa has the edge in every category except the ever-important area of experience.
The question will be whether the 22-year-old can overwhelm the 38-year-old and force a collapse. Chacon has struggled in the past with hand speed and can be overwhelmed when facing high-end athleticism. The bad news for Figueroa is that Chacon, unlike past opponents, will not tire himself out trying to keep up with Figueroa’s taxing pace. Chacon will let Figueroa do his thing and accept lost ground for a chance at scoring with the right shots at the right time. If heart and soul are going to be taken from Chacon, the younger man will have to work hard to make it happen, using guile as well as force to come away with the big homecoming victory.
Stardom awaits the “Heartbreaker,” but the road to the top will become more and more perilous the higher he gets. Saturday’s bout against Chacon may be the kind of complicated assignment he needs to prepare him for the tough climb ahead.
For a closer look at Figueroa vs Chacon, check out our fight night page.