There are certain places in the US that are associated with great fighters. New York, Philly, and Los Angeles are known for putting out great fighters, the same way that Texas is known for putting out great football players and specifically QB’s. However, Texas has produced some top-notch world-class fighters in the past but certainly isn’t what the Lone Star State is known for. Texas has long been football country. However, the times they are a changing while the state is still producing all world football talent it is now taking over the sweet science as well. The most talented divisions in boxing are about to be controlled by Texans. All of the mid-weight classes are about to be dominated by Texans. All of them from Jr Welterweight straight up to Middleweight. Never in my recollection can I remember one state dominating the sport in this way.
Omar Figueroa has a message for everyone at 140. Errol Spence has the same message for everyone at 147, as well, Jermell Charlo has the same message to the Junior Middleweight division, and his identical twin brother Jermell has the same message for the Middleweight division. That message is “Don’t mess with Texas.” All four of those weight classes are often considered the best in boxing and typically are home to many of those on the pound for pound lists. For each of these weight classes to have one of their top fighters all sharing the same home state is truly astounding.
Omar Figueroa a Weslaco Texas native has put the wide open 140-pound division on short notice. The undefeated and former WBC 135 pound strap holder ended the year and a half layoff back in July be demolishing the tough former champ, Robert Guerrero. Figueroa dismantled the Ghost at 147 and has recently signed to fight Adrein Broner in a WBC Title Eliminator in April. A win there will put him in position to challenge for the green belt by years end. Figueroa who is undefeated in 28 professional fights poses awesome one punch power and is a massively strong Jr welter who has previously held the WBC lightweight title in 2013 and 2014 which he vacated to move up to 140. The Weslaco Texan owns impressive victories over Ricky Burns, Daniel Estrada, and Antonio Demarco at this weight in addition to the Guerrero KO at 147. A dominating win over AB will certainly catapult him to the top of the 140-pound division.
Errol Spence a Dallas native just put on a career-best performance in destroying former two-division champion Lamont Peterson. “The Truth” has Keify & The We Don’t Want No Smoke Welterweights shook. Spence, just days after destroying Peterson, has already set his next fight. A June homecoming in Dallas most likely against his IBF mandatory undefeated Mexican Carlos Ocampo. Spence said he plans on fighting three times this year if Thurman, Garcia, and Porter who have come up with convenient excuses to not step in the Ring with the tough Texan all continue in their refusal to fight him. Spence will continue to have to search elsewhere and may have to move up in weight to find someone who wants to fight him as the 147-pound division is shook.
Houston native Jermell Charlo is dominating the 154-pound division and holds the WBC strap in the weight class. 2017 was a wildly successful year for Charlo. He fought twice and destroyed both opponents. He made his first defense of his belt in April against fellow Texan Charles Hatley and easily disposed of him in six dominating rounds. He then took on all world undefeated prospect Erickson Lubin in October, a fight in which many experts and pundits picked Lubin to win. Charlo ended the fight before it started with a first round one-punch knockout that got KO of the year consideration, ending the all-world prospects night in just 150 seconds. The WBA and IBF champs in the weight class (Lara & Hurd) will unify in April, setting up a logical Mega fight between Charlo and the winner. In the meantime, Charlo has a fight scheduled for June, no opponent has been named at this time.
Fellow Hoston native Jermall Charlo held the 154-pound strap from 2015 to 2017 in that time period he was considered by many to be the top dog in the division put together dominant victories over Austin Trout, Julian Williams, and K9 Bundridge. He moved up to middleweight in late 2017 and stopped a rugged Jorge Sebastian Heiland in 4 rounds in a WBC middleweight title eliminator. Charlo is a 6’0 lethal heavy fisted middleweight who is now scheduled for a March 3rd date against Hugo Centeno Jr for the WBC interim belt and should Charlo be successful in that fight, in which he will be a huge betting favorite. Charlo will be the mandatory and in line for a September mega showdown with the Canelo/GGG II winner for absolute supremacy of the middleweight division.
The stars shine big and bright in the heart of Texas and these Texas natives are shining brightly under the bright lights. In addition to having the top fighters in each of these four divisions, two of the best and most esteemed trainers are Texas-based as well. Derrick James who is out of Dallas and currently training Jermell Charlo and has trained Errol Spence his entire career pro and amateur. Houston is home to the world-famous Plex Gym and its trainer Ronnie Shields, where he trains Jermall Charlo as well as other world champs like Erislandy Lara.All thing considered the Texas boxing scene is looking better than it ever has before. Don’t mess with Texas!