Premier Boxing Saturday: Figueroa, Arreola, Centeno, Ortiz, Gausha

Several fighters did battle with the scale on Friday prior to Saturday’s Premier Boxing card in San Antonio. For once, Chris Arreola wasn't one of them.

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Chris Arreola gets one last shot at staying relevant in the heavyweight division Saturday against Travis Kauffman. Photo: Suzanne Teresa/Premier Boxing
Chris Arreola gets one last shot at staying relevant in the heavyweight division Saturday against Travis Kauffman. Photo: Suzanne Teresa/Premier Boxing

SAN DIEGO, December 12, 2015 – Fifteen fights are lined up for a big day of boxing at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Fans can watch several bouts in an early broadcast on NBC Sports Network at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT, followed by a prime time show on NBC starting at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT. If any fights remain, there will be walk off bouts televised late night on NBC Sports Network.

Both Omar Figueroa (left) and Antonio DeMarco will fight at their highest ever weights on Saturday. Photo: Suzanne Teresa, Premier Boxing
Both Omar Figueroa (left) and Antonio DeMarco will fight at their highest ever weights on Saturday. Photo: Suzanne Teresa, Premier Boxing

The evening session features Texas native son Omar Figueroa Jr. (25-0-1, 18 KOs) versus Antonio DeMarco (31-5-1, 23 KOs) of Mexico in a super welterweight contest. This is not a mistake. This is ten pounds heavier than Figueroa’s bout in May against Ricky Burns, and 15 pounds higher than any of his previous professional fights. DeMarco has fought a few times at welterweight, but this is also the heaviest he’s ever been for a fight. Maybe it’s the home cooking. Figueroa had been training with Joel Diaz in California, but a year ago he moved back to Texas to train to be closer to his family.

Apparently Figueroa and DeMarco’s teams agreed ahead of time to fight at a weight limit of 152 pounds, which came about when Figueroa was having trouble making weight. Everyone involved seems fine with this, but carrying that much more weight into the ring will make for a different Figueroa than we are used to seeing. He has suffered problems with injured hands over the past few years, and an elbow injury caused the fight with DeMarco to be postponed from September. DeMarco said he was retired after a loss in June to Rances Barthelemy, but that didn’t last long.

Watch to see if Figueroa has added strength and sacrificed speed in this bout against DeMarco, who doesn’t in theory present a serious challenge. Perhaps he sees more opportunity for himself in the heavier division against the likes of the Charlo brothers and Demetrius Andrade, versus the welterweight division populated by Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, and Errol Spence Jr.


Also on the evening card, Southern California heavyweight Chris Arreola (36-4-1, 31 KOs) makes one last try to get a shot at a top level opponent against Travis Kauffman (30-1-0, 22 KOs) of Reading, Pennsylvania.

Chris Arreola buckled down during training camp and came in at a sleek 236.5 pounds. Photo: Suzanne Teresa, Premier Boxing
Chris Arreola buckled down during training camp and came in at a sleek 236.5 pounds. Photo: Suzanne Teresa, Premier Boxing

Arreola has looked sluggish and in poor condition during his last two bouts. The clock is ticking on the 34-year-old. He needs to shine to have his shot at one of the marquee names in the division such as Deontay Wilder. Arreola has the heart of a lion and good power, but he isn’t always disciplined in training. He admits he needs to be away from home to focus on training, and spent time in Big Bear, California at The Summit. He weighed in at a trim (for him) 236.5 pounds and looks as good as he has in a decade.

Kauffman came in at the same weight. He has no notable opponents, but he’s made the most of his opportunity to draw attention to himself, baiting and trash talking Arreola who is notoriously outspoken himself. The pair have gone at it during news conferences, but they managed to behave themselves at the weigh-in.

If time permits, a third bout will be added from the late night segment. This could be middleweight 2012 U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha (16-0, 8 KOs) putting up his unbeaten record against Said El Harrak of Great Britain (12-3-2, 7 KOs), or another middleweight contest between Hugo Centeno (23-0, 12 KOs) versus Josue Obando (12-7-1, 10 KOs). El Harrak came in 2.5 pounds over a contracted weight limit with Gausha of 155 pounds. He didn’t even try to make weight, and the pair came to some sort of agreement to let the bout continue.

Former welterweight title holder Victor Ortiz (left) returns to the ring after a year off due to injury against Gilberto Sanchez Leon of Mexico. Photo: Suzanne Teresa, Premier Boxing
Former welterweight title holder Victor Ortiz (left) returns to the ring after a year off due to injury against Gilberto Sanchez Leon of Mexico. Photo: Suzanne Teresa, Premier Boxing

Fight fans will see a familiar face on the early afternoon show. Former welterweight champion Victor Ortiz (30-5-2, 23 KOs) returns to the ring after a year off recovering from surgery to a broken left hand against Gilberto Sanchez Leon (33-13-2, 13 KOs) of Mexico. Both fighters weighed 150 pounds. Hometown junior lightweight prospect Mario Barrios (13-0, 7 KOs) gets to fight on TV in front of the local fans against Manual Vides (18-4, 11 KOs).

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.  

Copyright © 2015 by Falcon Valley Group

CORRECTION: The time of the early PBC broadcast on NBC Sports Network has been corrected to 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.

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