In light of the WBC announcing that Omar Figueroa Jnr. has being anointed as their new Lightweight champion- after they stripped Adrien Broner of the title- a few ringside observers voiced their displeasure that he wasn’t forced to fight for the right to claim his first world title.
Whilst some may feel that Figueroa Jnr. should be have earned the title by virtue of facing a similarly ranked opponent for the vacant title, the vast majority of people who witnessed his thrilling 12 round victory over the game and gutsy Nihito Arakawa will agree he earned the title on merit.
That epic ‘Fight of the Year’ contender acted as the tipping point in his career- it was the sort of once in lifetime performance that propels a fighter into the public consciousness. Such a show of courage and bravery often is the catalyst for a fighter to earn some big pay days, as fights of such an enthralling variety make a boxer a valued, highly marketable commodity.
Their gripping contest is exactly the type of clash that is the lifeblood of the sport of boxing as they help engage casual fans who crave excitement above all else.
Fans are fickle, and if casual observers were fed on a diet of Guillmero Rigodeaux and Floyd Mayweather contests then they would soon desert the sport. Although the aforementioned fighters are masters of their craft, their safety-first styles are simply not entertaining enough to consistently capture the imagination of the uneducated fan. Floyd Mayweather is the one exception to the rule as his unblemished ring credentials is the only reason he is able to persist with such a conservative style.
Fighters of the ilk of Figueroa Jnr and Arakawa are obviously favourites of the network television companies and promoters as there entertaining styles are sure to translate into healthy viewing figures, which from a business point of view is absolutely imperative.
Fortunately, the fundamental need to provide value for money to the fans has seen Showtime and Golden Boy Promotion place both Figueroa and Arakawa on the same bill- they will feature on the undercard of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez vs Alfredo Angulo on March 8th at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Incidentally, Figueroa Jnr (22-0-1, 17 KOs) will make the 1st defence of his newly acquired 135lb title against Canelo’s older brother Ricardo ‘Dinamita’ Alvarez (23-2-3, 14 KOs), whilst Arakawa (24-3-1, 16 KOs) will face former titlist Jorge Linares (35-3, 23 KOs). The inclusion of these two burgeoning talents coupled with the tantalizing prospect of all out war with Alvarez and the battle hardened Angulo means that the event dubbed ‘Toe to Toe’ promises to live up to its billing.
The urgency of both Showtime and Golden Boy to showcase the talents of both fighters on the same bill so quickly after their epic battle is a classic attempt to orchestrate a situation where the demand for the second coming of Figueroa Jnr. vs Arakawa reaches fever pitch. This is definitely the script that is being written by Golden Boy and Showtime- however, defeat for either fighter would spell disaster for these plans.
If both fighters win though, a dream rematch between Omar Figueroa Jnr and Nihito Arakawa with the WBC lightweight title on the line will surely materialise. The smart money would on the fight being staged on the undercard of a Floyd Mayweather Jnr show on September of this year.
If plans for a Figueroa vs Arakawa rematch come to fruition, the fans will be the real winners.
Is this a rematch that excites you?
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