There’s world-class action in the featherweight division on Saturday when Brandon Figueroa and Mark Magsayo clash at the Toyota Center in Ontario, California. The 12-round bout, plus undercard action, will be broadcast by Showtime.
However, as good a fight as it promises to be, there’s no world title at stake in this battle of aggressive former world champions. The interim WBC featherweight belt will be on the line, but both men know that an authentic world title shot beckons for the winner.
Unlike the lightweight and super middleweight divisions, which host undisputed champions in the form of Devin Haney and Canelo Alvarez, respectively, the featherweight crown has been fragmented for several years.
Incredibly, there hasn’t been an undisputed featherweight champ since Mexican legend Vicente Saldivar’s reign ended in October 1967.
MORE: All you need to know about Figueroa vs. Magsayo
So who are today’s featherweight world champions? Well, the spirit of the late Saldivar remains as every single world titleholder in the division hails from the great former champion’s home country:
IBF Featherweight Champion: Luis Alberto Lopez (27-2, 15 KOs)
Mexico’s Luis Alberto Lopez took the IBF title from Josh Warrington via a razor-thin majority decision in December.
What was particularly impressive about this result is that Lopez ventured to Warrington’s First Direct Arena fortress in Leeds to spring the upset. There’s hostile, then there’s Leeds hostile.
Lopez, 29, got off to a strong start and survived the Englishman’s late-round charge to claim a career-best triumph and his first world title.
Rumours abound that Lopez’s maiden defence will be against popular Irish star Michael Conlan. The target date is May 27 in Belfast.
MORE: Brandon Figueroa exclusive, talks Magsayo, Fulton, and Inoue
WBA Featherweight Champion: Mauricio Lara (26-2-1, 19 KOs)
Lara waited a long time for his world title opportunity and seized the moment with a come-from-behind seventh-round stoppage of WBA titleholder Leigh Wood in February.
As this was a voluntary defence by Wood, the Englishman had a rematch clause inserted into the contract. It remains to be seen if the ex-champ will activate this.
The 25-year-old Lara also has unfinished business with another British fighter. “Bronco” scored a stunning ninth-round knockout over Josh Warrington in February 2021, and the rematch ended in a disappointing second-round technical draw.
After wrenching the title from Wood on enemy territory, Lara spat in the direction of Warrington, who was stationed at ringside. The fiery former champion was aghast and this bad blood runs deeper than ever.
MORE: ‘A brilliant performance’ – Roy Jones vs. John Ruiz 20 years later
WBC Featherweight Champion: Rey Vargas (36-1, 22 KOs)
Despite coming off the first loss of his professional career, Rey Vargas remains the WBC featherweight champion of the world.
Last month, the Mexican stylist moved up to 130 pounds in a bid to win a third divisional title. He was stopped in his tracks by new kid on the block O’Shaquie Foster, who claimed the WBC super featherweight crown via a 12-round unanimous decision.
The winner of Figueroa and Magsayo is sure to be named Vargas’ mandatory challenger.
Magsayo surrendered this very title to Vargas last July, but the fight was close enough to justify a return. If Figueroa prevails, then that would set the stage for an intriguing boxer versus pressure-fighter collision.
WBO Featherweight Champion: Vacant
This world title was recently relinquished by Mexican warrior Emmanuel Navarette, who’d made four successful defences.
However, a new champion will be crowned when Isaac Dogboe and Robeisy Ramirez clash for the vacant championship on April 1 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Dogboe, known as “Royal Storm”, is a former WBC super-bantamweight champion and a talented fighter. An authentic road warrior, Dogboe has thrown down in the U.K., the U.S., Switzerland, Australia, and his native Ghana.
But it’s southpaw Ramirez who enters this bout as a prohibitive favourite. The double Olympic champion from Cuba suffered a shock defeat in his pro debut but has gone from strength to strength since that setback.
Many believe the skids are greased for the super-skilled Ramirez to be the future of the featherweight division.
MORE: Is Sylvester Stallone in Creed III?
Ring Magazine Featherweight Champion: Vacant
There hasn’t been a Ring Magazine featherweight champion since multi-division titleholder Mikey Garcia in 2013.
While the division has seen plenty of world-level action over the past decade, “The Bible of Boxing” hasn’t deemed any of the matchups to be worthy of their championship.
This belt is ultimately contested if The Ring’s No. 1 and No. 2 featherweights face off. Right now that would involve an all-Mexican boxer vs. puncher duel between WBA champ Lara and WBC champ Vargas.
Whoever wins this belt would be in esteemed company. Previous holders include Manny Pacquiao, Marco Antonio Barrera, Salvador Sanchez, and Alexis Arguello.
Unfortunately, Lara vs. Vargas would also mean PBC vs. Top Rank, and that’s a matchup we rarely ever see. Don’t hold your breath.
News/ 43 mins ago
High school baseball team’s premature celebration leads to brutal loss in sectional championship
A New York high school baseball sectional championship ended in a brutal way on...
News/ 1 hour ago
The Miami Heat Are in Trouble, and It’s (Mostly) Their Fault
After the miracle and the madness, Gabe Vincent broke the silence inside the Miami...
News/ 4 hours ago
Jon Gruden helping Derek Carr get settled in Saints offense: report
Jon Gruden reportedly resurfaced with an NFL team last week more than a year...