OMAR FIGUEROA: FULL INTERVIEW
By Tom Watt on Aug 28 2014
At the end of the day, I had dedicated so much time to boxing already, having started when I was 6 years old and throughout my whole life I always, you know its like they say "once you put those gloves on the never come off" and that's true. - Even when I wanted to not box because it became so overwhelming and I had so many other things going on, I always played Baseball since I was 4 years old, I played soccer and football whenever it was in season and I even started swimming in high school! - So everything has been a very fast pace for me growing up. But I always knew I would pursue boxing full time as I had spent so much time on it and I felt like I was good at it so I thought I might as well - it was an easy decision.
I only really went to college to prove to my parents that I could survive on my own - because I ended up getting a scholarship so they didn't really have to help me as I had my meal plans etc. - They obviously helped me because I was training all the time but ultimately I always knew what I wanted to do. - It was tough because once I was in college, I fell in love with it but I always knew that I would go back to boxing because I knew that would be the catalyst to my success.
And what made you choose Boxing over those other sports?
Yeah 1 thing I liked about boxing over those other sports was that I didn't count on other guys' effort, practice, dedication and performances like I did in Baseball - I was a pitcher and no matter how good I did, no matter how many people I struck out - they could make an error and although it didn't count against me but we would still lose the game. So I said I'm not going to rely on other people's success and I'm not going to blame anyone else for my losses or whatever goes on.
It's obviously proven to be a great decision for you! But what advice would you give to other fighters that are on the cusp of making a decision like that?
The main advice would be, you have to be ready to give your life up - you have to be willing to give your life up and turn it over to boxing. In my case it was my Dad and my parent and my family so at the end of the day I knew I was in good hands and they weren't going to screw me over any chance they got – so that helps with the decision making to but you know, it’s a tough sport and they’re going to go through things that you never imagined you would go through and you will experience things that never in your life would you have thought manageable. Its just, you have to put yourself through hell! If you want to be successful, you have to be willing to take orders and live under the rule of your promoter and manager until you prove yourself and they let you off the hook a little. But even then you have to keep pushing yourself and striving to be someone better because there’s always someone out there to prove you wrong. Just make sure you have the motivation, because if you don’t have it 100% then you’re not going to make it that far.
You mentioned working under the rule of your manager, what has been one of the most difficult things that you've had to do as that ‘up-and-comer’?
I guess the most difficult thing was, well a lot of the time you will get last minute notification for a fight, and the weight would change – so I would prepare for that weight then they’d get back to me and say “oh your opponent fell through, now you are fighting at this weight” – you know, they changed opponent on me so many times and you just have to be ready for everything, you have to be in shape.
You mentioned the weight there, and that’s something that has been spoken about a bit in the news lately, whether or not you would move up to 140 or stay at 135 for now, can you shed some light on where you are at with that in your mind at the moment?
Well you know, I want to move up in weight but I do have a team and as we said the promoters as well. They've been busy with the next Mayweather fight but they want to get together and talk about what's going to happen and how we are going to go about it. And whether I can make 135 again. We’re going to make the decision as a team but I've decided that I want to move up.
If/When you do move up, there’s a lot of great fighters at that weight; Danny Garcia, Matthyse, Peterson and even Broner – In your mind, what would be your dream fight at that weight?
My dream fight would be against any of those guys. Honestly, they’re the guys you watch on TV that everybody claims are the best in the World. – And the way it is with me is I have always been one to challenge myself and being one of the best guys at everything I did is just something my father instilled in me. So honestly I don’t care who they put me up against, I'm not afraid of anybody, I wasn't raised that way, its not how I was built. So whoever they want to put me in against, I'm willing.
Who would you say, in that division, is in your opinion the number 1?
Well it all depends on how you want to judge the guys, they all have their strong suits and their weaknesses as well. All I know is, I've sparred Danny before and I don’t mean to downplay Danny but I didn't have a hard time with him… It’s hard to judge because my style is completely different to any of the., I really can’t make any assumptions as to how the fight's are going to go because everything changes
Your last outing, on the undercard of Porter Brook at the StubHub was a very interesting fight. You were obviously controlling the fight then the cut completely changes things and you had to adjust. Did you know or were you told that you needed to end that fight?
I didn't think I needed to end the fight because I felt like I was on the scorecard either way so I felt like either way I was going to win the fight. But I just didn't want it to end by them stopping it because of a head-butt so I just went in there and put my plan into action and had to hurry it up a bit. Honestly though I knew I was going to knock him out because I knew he was fading and I knew I had been saving some for the later rounds - I kept myself from throwing a lot of heavy punches because I didn't want to hurt my hands early in the fight so I had them for later.
You could see at the of the 7th round he walked to the corner hurt and obviously the 8th I hurt him at the end to. Its just something that when you're in the ring you know what's going on and it's hard to explain to someone on the outside.
That fight, potentially stole fight of the night, and your style is one that lends itself to exciting fights - do you see yourself making that step up and headlining these kind of shows now?
Absolutely, I don't see why not, I am a World Champion and I do have an exciting style so I feel like my name on any card is going to bring in fans. I'm not going to say that I'm going to get in there and beat someone up and then just run like Estrada did, he was talking all this smack saying he was going to go toe-to-toe and show he was the stronger guy then in the ring he starts running. I'm gonna go in there and get it done and that's that.
And is there anywhere in particular you would like to headline?
Well I'd want to headline a show at the MGM, that's' everybody's dream 0 you grow up watching all the big fights in history at the MGM or in Vegas so I guess that's where its at but I honestly love fighting here in San Antonio because that's close to home and all my fans and friends from the where I grew up can come and watch me fight.
You've mentioned family and being close to home and I know for your last fight you chose to stay at home and train with your Dad rather than with your trainer Joel Diaz - to be closer to your baby daughter. How did you find that in terms of your preparation and is that something you will continue with?
As they say, why fix something that's not broken. I've got everything I need here to train at home. Everything leading up to the fight worked to perfection so I'm going to keep that up as much as I can.
The future looks bright for one of Boxing's rising stars and with Golden Boy and a growing fan-base behind him, the sky seems the limit for the young, affable Champion.
1. FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
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