In the end, it was cringe-worthy, simply because no one wanted to see Omar Figueroa Jr. take another punch. Certainly, his father, Omar Figueroa Sr., also Omar’s trainer, did not want to see it.
It’s why Figueroa Sr. ended his son’s fight—and his career, it looks like—when Sergey Lipinets stopped Omar Jr. in a 12-round WBC super lightweight title eliminator Saturday night on SHOWTIME in a PBC event from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, after the eighth round.
Entering the fight, Figueroa Jr. and Lipinets had not won since 2019. Lipinets was a late substitute for Adrien Broner, who pulled out stating mental health issues.
Figueroa, the former WBC lightweight titlist, and Lipinets, the former IBF junior welterweight champion, were fighting for their relevance. Lipinets ((17-2-1, 13 knockouts) handed Figueroa (28-3-1, 19 KOs) his third-straight loss.
Lipinets knocked down Figueroa for the second time in his career with 1:11 left in the second round with a blunt right hand.
Figueroa could not keep Lipinets off of him.
“I did well considering that he caught me with a good punch early on,” Lipinets said. “I had a good fighter in front of me. My hat’s off to Omar for being a warrior. The punch that rocked Omar is the punch that my trainer and I have been working on for a long time. He came at me and it was the perfect time to use it.
“I was too focused on protecting myself. I was concerned about him answering my punches, but it was not my job to stop the fight; 140 is my weight. I came back. I’m back.”
Lipinets landed 172/517 (33%) total punches to Figueroa’s 44/475 (9%) total tally.
Those numbers explained the fight.
Figueroa, who has been a beacon the mental health awareness, knew immediately after the fight the decision he had to make.
Between the seventh and eighth rounds, Omar Sr. told his son he was not going to watch him take any more punishment, warning him he would end the fight if he did not see him fight better.
After the eighth, that was it.
Omar Sr. wisely ended it.
“I’m very disappointed about the outcome,” Omar Jr. said. “My team and I worked so hard during this training camp. My body has reached its limit. I’ve been doing this for 27 years and my body has finally said enough. I’m just sorry I’ve disappointed the fans.
“The change of opponents didn’t affect me. I think I’ve reached the end of the line here in boxing. It occupied my life for 27 years. My body just gave up. It didn’t respond.
“My daughter was born earlier today. I’m happy that I got to enjoy this last camp. I had a great time. Lipinets was tough, he’s a tough fighter. He’s really strong and he came to fight. My body just didn’t respond. Not much else to say.
“I have no idea what’s next. I’m working on a couple things. I have a book that I’m working on, and maybe I’ll be able to give people a little more insight on my life. There’s so much more that’s part of who I am, and maybe that’s part of why it came to such an abrupt end like this.”
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.