LAS VEGAS – Brandon Figueroa embraces the description “pretty ugly” as a compliment.

The undefeated Figueroa feeds off the fact that many of his opponents portray him as a pretty boy with a style entirely too ugly to beat them. Having opponents underestimate him has motivated the unbeaten WBC super bantamweight champion throughout his impressive run in the 122-pound division. The Weslaco, Texas, native has had one close call – a 12-round split draw with a wildly overweight Julio Ceja in November 2019 – but otherwise Figueroa has proven to be one of boxing’s best junior featherweights over the past few years.

His impressive seventh-round knockout of previously unbeaten Luis Nery on May 15 propelled Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs) into a title unification fight against another unbeaten champion. He’ll face Philadelphia’s Stephen Fulton (19-0, 8 KOs), the WBO junior featherweight champ, in a 12-round fight Saturday night at Park MGM’s Dolby Live, the main event of a “Showtime Championship Boxing” tripleheader (10 p.m. ET; 7 p.m. PT).

The rugged Figueroa feels self-belief has helped him reach this meaningful fight as much as his superior conditioning, granite chin and relentlessness.

“At the end of the day, I believe in myself so much and I’ve been proving people wrong since the amateurs, just because I have a skinny frame and a pretty face,” Figueroa told “I love to fight. I love to get hit. I love to go in there and, like I said, work on the inside, make it a phone-booth fight, go back and forth. To me, it doesn’t matter. But obviously, as I’m getting older, getting more experience, I know I’m just polishing my style a little more.”

The 24-year-old Figueroa senses that his preference for coming forward face first dupes opponents into believing he is an easy mark. Mexico’s Nery, a strong southpaw who won world titles in two weight classes, learned the hard way that Figueroa is anything but an easy out.

Figueroa overwhelmed Nery (31-1, 24 KOs) with persistent pressure and volume punching until he landed a body shot during the seventh round that rendered Nery unable to continue at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

“I take a lot of people by surprise because they underestimate me,” Figueroa said. “I’ve been used to it, so you know, I’ve seen a lot of fighters go in there confident that they’re gonna beat me. But as soon as they feel my power with that first punch I hit ‘em with, that’s when I feel they notice they’re not in there with just a skinny kid, with a pretty face, you know? They’re in there with someone that can fight. Then they get hit with that first punch and realize it’s a different story.”

Figueroa is confident Fulton will suffer the same fate, especially if Fulton, who is clearly the better boxer, tries to defeat Figueroa at his own game.

“I feel like he’s gonna try it and I feel like it’s not gonna work the way he wants it to work,” Figueroa said. “You know, I’ve faced a lot guys that are brawlers, and even they turn into boxers. I mean, I don’t know – he’s gonna have to find out for himself. A lot of people see me from the outside looking in, and they think I’m an easy fight. They think I’m an easy win. I mean, I know every fight wasn’t a pretty fight, but I’m not going in there to look nice and flashy. I’m going in there to fight and if I have to make it ugly, I’ll make it ugly. That was the only way to beat Nery.

“You know, you have to get in there and rough it up. You have to take the fight to him. Anthony Joshua said it. He said that he’s just gonna go out there and fight. I mean, at the end of the day, that’s what fighters do. A lot of fighters focus on looking pretty, on looking good stylistically and looking cute for the camera. But I don’t care about none of that. I just wanna go out there and fight. If I have to make it ugly, it may not look pretty, but at the end of the day, it’s a fight. You know, you have to do whatever it takes and rough up your opponent.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.