It was a little pony car when it debuted, but with something brutal lurking under the hood. Wait, that sounds familiar.
Anyone who follows Omar Figueroa Jr. on Twitter or Instagram has come face to face with his pride and joy—a 1965 Mustang fastback, silver smoke gray with purple racing stripes that’s equal parts muscle, animal roar and dead sexy.
It was that old story when he found it: Boy meets car. Boy falls hard for car. Boy winds up getting sticker shock, but because every great love has to overcome obstacles, boy commits. Violins swell.
“It was love at first sight,” Figueroa said. “When I was fighting against [Jerry] Belmontes last April I saw the car and immediately I fell in love, but I was kind of scared away by the price tag. One thing led to another and they contacted me. We worked out a deal that worked out for the both of us. I went for it, and I’m so glad I did.”
Fast and furious Figueroa also has a ’71 Mustang Mach 1 and a ’66 Bronco, and he wants to add a ’68 Camaro, a ’75 Corvette Stingray, a Jensen Interceptor and an early ’70s BMW 328i, but there’s one car that should be fitting for the fighter nicknamed “Panterita”—a De Tomaso Pantera.
“I’ve actually looked into those. I found some, but a couple of them were project cars and the other ones were really, really nice. I think I’m going to have to wait a couple of more fights and see if I make that kind of expense, getting a car like that.”
Incidentally, Figueroa got the nickname from his first boxing coach, who chastised Figueroa for missing Friday practices to watch his cousins play high school football for the Weslaco Panthers. The coach called him a “Little Panther.” It stuck because it’s true. The Panthers’ colors? Purple and gray.
Figueroa will return to the ring May 9, when he makes his 140-pound debut against former two-division titleholder Ricky Burns in Hidalgo, Texas, in a fight that will air live on CBS.