Stephen Fulton was willing to battle Brandon Figueroa again.
The unbeaten WBC/WBO 122-pound champion insinuated during a recent virtual conference call that it was Figueroa who prevented them from negotiating for an immediate rematch of what was a fantastic “Fight of the Year” candidate. Fulton defeated Figueroa by majority decision in their 12-round title unification fight November 27 at Park MGM’s Dolby Live in Las Vegas.
The Philadelphia native will defend his WBC and WBO belts against former IBF/WBA champ Daniel Roman on Saturday night in Minneapolis. Showtime will air their 12-round bout as the main event of a live doubleheader from The Armory.
“It could’ve been a realistic [option],” Fulton said regarding facing Figueroa in a rematch. “I feel like it could’ve been more realistic more so on their behalf, though.”
Fulton declined to elaborate.
“You know,” Fulton said, “some things I don’t wanna talk about.”
He laughed and replied, “Yeah,” however, when asked if money was a factor that prohibited their rematch from taking place.
Showtime’s Brian Custer, who moderated the conference call, then stated that Figueroa’s father/manager/trainer, Omar Figueroa Sr., indicated to him recently that his son wouldn’t pursue a 122-pound championship rematch with Fulton because he is committed to moving up to the featherweight division for his next fight.
Fulton figures the possibility of another fight with Figueroa (22-1-1, 17 KOs), of Weslaco, Texas, might be revisited when he eventually moves up to the 126-pound division as well.
“When I get there,” Fulton said, “when I get some other belts, we’ll see.”
Fans would want to see Fulton, 27, and Figueroa, 25, fight again after the action-packed 12-rounder they produced six months ago. Fulton fought a relentless Figueroa on the inside at times and won eight rounds apiece on two scorecards (116-112, 116-112, 114-114).
Fulton (20-0, 8 KOs) is listed by Caesars Sportsbook as more than a 5-1 favorite to beat Roman (29-3-1, 10 KOs). Los Angeles’ Roman has lost only a 12-round split decision to Uzbekistan’s Murodjon Akhmadaliev (10-0, 7 KOs) since October 2013.
They’ll headline a Showtime telecast set to start at 9 p.m. ET. Cuba’s David Morrell Jr. (6-0, 5 KOs) will defend his secondary WBA super middleweight title against Kalvin Henderson (15-1-1, 11 KOs), of Fayetteville, Arkansas, in Showtime’s 12-round co-feature.
The broadcast will begin with a replay of Gervonta Davis’ sixth-round knockout of Rolando Romero on Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.