Figueroa to step up vs. Augustus

By Kirk Lang


Figueroa to step up vs. Augustus

Junior welterweight champion Frankie “El Gato” Figueroa (19-2 with 13 KOs) will be in a very tough fight this weekend against Emanuel Augustus, who was recently voted ESPN’s most memorable fighter. While Augustus’ record is littered with losses, he’s one of the best fighters with a lousy record you will ever see.  Figueroa signed a promotional contract last month with Roy Jones, Jr.’s Square Ring Promotions, and will be fighting Augustus on the undercard of the showdown between Jones and undefeated Joe Calzaghe this coming Saturday night at New York City's Madison Square Garden. Figueora was originally scheduled to face former WBA titlist Gavin Rees.

Augustus should be a good litmus test for the likeable 30-year-old from the Bronx, who hasn’t experienced defeat in four years.  Figueroa took some time out of his training - with the fight less than a week away - to answer a few questions via his Blackberry.

KL: Frankie, I saw you at the de la Hoya-Pacquiao press conference in NYC back on October 1st and you were telling me you were having problems with your promoter. Next thing I know you’re signed by Roy Jones' promotional company. How did you pull that off so fast?

FF: Well things was rough with my promoter and the reason I was able to leave him in some way was that Square Ring was willing to do some business with him.

KL: Tell me what it means to have Roy Jones as your promoter. That's got to be the ultimate honor, to have the most athletically gifted fighter of all time take an interest in you like that and invest his hard-earned money into you.

FF: Being with Roy is going to be great being that he's a powerhouse for HBO. It’s also a powerful way to get introduced to HBO.

KL: You're fighting on the Jones-Calzaghe undercard against Emanuel "The Drunken Master" Augustus. You were originally supposed to fight Gavin Rees. How does this change things for you in training camp, if at all?

FF: You know, when I train for people I train to get in shape and also get my timing right. Nothing has really changed. The methods we have in camp are basic.

KL: Augustus has a very awkward style - including throwing two punches at once - and has been known to pull off upsets. He says he gets a lot of his style from playing the video game Tekken. How do you plan to show him it's "Game Over."

FF: Well, Emanuel is awkward but like in video games you have to play chess and figure out a way to beat your opponent. I love playing chess, and like Emanuel I play video games too. LOL (lots of laughs).

KL: You've sort of been fighting under the radar all these years and haven't really been getting the publicity all these other New York City fighters have gotten. Why do you think that is?

FF: Umm, to answer your question, I really didn't fight a lot in New York City, being the local boy fan base fighter. I fought in New York City maybe four times in my career.

KL: Tell us, when you make that first big paycheck, get your first world title fight, what is the first big purchase you're going to make?

FF: My first paycheck and world title? What I'm I going to do with my money? Well I'm going to have a wedding ceremony. From there I'm going to have to sit down with professional investors and come up with a longevity game plan.

KL: You were only signed by Jones a few weeks ago and your fight is now less than a week away. Did you have a chance to train with Jones at all and if so, what are you learning from watching him in the gym? Has he given you any great motivational pep talks? What are the lessons he tried to impart?

FF: Well I've only met Jones one time. I really can’t say much, only this though, his personality is awesome. He's very social like me.

KL: Imagine you were making a 30-second commercial to promote yourself - sort of like the candidates for the Presidency - what would you look into the camera and tell boxing fans and non-boxing fans about you? In 50 words or less.

FF: Well, to my fans, you know I've giving you nothing but the best both in the ring and out. Stay tuned for another exciting bout. Remember  - “Can't Stop, Won't Stop.” Team Gato Baby!


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