"Physically, I'm a lot better, so I'm recovering quickly. My hands are the only things that are taking the longest to heal. The cuts and bruises are going away. It wasn't that bad. Like I was saying in another interview, everyone wants a piece of Panterita right now. It's been busy and crazy. We're just trying to make sense of everything and every situation right now...People are always going to talk smack regardless. I was just in the Fight of the Year candidate and people still aren't satisfied. What the hell do you want? Even though we threw like 2000 punches between the two of us, we were bloodied, and we took a crap load of punishment, they complained. And then you get Mayweather, who throws like 2 punches per round, and they complain. That's why I don't worry about what they have to say. I was satisfied with my performance," stated newly-crowned WBC interim lightweight champion Omar Figueroa, who talked about his Fight of the Year candidate performance in his victory over Nihito Arakawa. Check out what else he had to say about the fight, his future plans, and much more.
DK: Omar, wow! That's all I can really say from Saturday night. How are you feeling?
OF: Physically, or about the fight, or everything in general?
DK: Everything in general really.
OF: Well, physically, I'm a lot better, so I'm recovering quickly. My hands are the only things that are taking the longest to heal. The cuts and bruises are going away. It wasn't that bad. Like I was saying in another interview, everyone wants a piece of "Panterita" right now. It's been busy and crazy. We're just trying to make sense of everything and every situation right now.
DK: I saw the picture in the hospital after the fight that you and Arakawa took together. How were you able to even get out of bed on Sunday morning? If it were me, I would have slept all day (laughing).
OF: I had no choice. I had to come home (laughing). That's when we made our trip back home. That's when we stopped at one of our sponsor's restaurant and took some pictures with fans. That's kind of become a tradition and we always do that. He's one of the guys who helped me from the beginning. Ponchos has been great to be me. I let my fans know we would be there, and it was cool because fans got to hold the belt and take pictures and stuff like that.
DK: There were 716 power shots landed by both you and Arakawa; 450 of which were landed by you. What was going through your mind during that fight? Did you ever think you were going to stop him, and if you did think that, were you ever frustrated?
OF: You know what? Someone on Twitter asked me that too. He told me about the same thing. I'm very realistic. I was thinking to myself, if I boxed, I would tire myself out running. I would have had to throw more and keep him at bay, so I said, "I'm going to war. Screw it." He didn't hit me that hard and didn't hurt me, so I said I'd rather block the punches with my face than my hands because my hands were in so much pain. So many things were going through my head, and no one else knows, except me, the pain I was feeling. I had never been 12 rounds, and I did the best to save myself and the energy to be able to go 12.
DK: You told me last week, before the fight, you wanted to give the fans what they wanted. You and Arakawa did that and more. I've already heard the comparisons to Arturo Gatti vs. Mickey Ward and Diego Corrales vs. Jose Luis Castillo. Have you seen the fight yet, and where do you think it ranks?
OF: I don't think I've ever watched those fights. I never really watch boxing outside the ring. I'd rather just get in the ring and do it myself, so I can't really rank those fights compared to mine because I never watched those fights, so I wouldn't know.
DK: I know not everything has probably sunk in yet and you truly haven't had time to enjoy this one, but of course, there will always be criticisms. The main one I've heard is your lack of defense and you won't be able to fight this way forever. What have you heard and what did your trainer, Joel Diaz, or your dad tell you after the fight?
OF: They were proud of the way I fought, and they were satisfied and content with the fight. Only we know how it was in there because we were there experiencing it. People are always going to talk smack regardless. I was just in the Fight of the Year candidate and people still aren't satisfied. What the hell do you want? Even though we threw like 2000 punches between the two of us, we were bloodied, and we took a crap load of punishment, they complained. And then you get Mayweather, who throws like 2 punches per round, and they complain. That's why I don't worry about what they have to say. I was satisfied with my performance. My team was satisfied. My family was satisfied. That's all I worry about.
DK: You said you hurt both your hands early in the fight. Is there any damage that might require some serious time off?
OF: Um, I hope not, but we're going to do a follow up with one of the local doctors here and see if anything is seriously wrong. Right now, I think it's just bruising and swelling. I have noticed that my wrist is hurting a bit more than usual. I'm actually healing at a fast rate. I don't know if it's the Mexican Voo-Doo my mom's been doing (laughing), you know, that stuff that you hear all the clichés about, but this time my wrist has been hurting more and my wrist has never really bothered me. I can't really put any pressure on it, but I want to go get a Cat Scan and whatever other stuff needs to be done on it. I don't want to risk anything. I want to be 100% for whoever's next.
DK: Champ, and you'll be hearing that a lot now, it may be too soon to think about this, but have you thought about what you want next?
OF: No, I'm not worried. I don't like to worry about next moves or anything of the sort. I like to take it one fight at a time. I posted on my Facebook fan page that I worry about one fight at a time and I don't look ahead. I plan to give it 100% for that fight. The way I fight, a lot of people criticize that I don't have a defense. I feel like I have a great defense, but either way, I go in there throwing punches and I go for it. I do my job. I know I should worry about my future and whatnot, but in boxing, any punch can end my life. The shirt I was wearing when I went into the ring, I was promoting a scholarship that one family started in memory of their son. He was pulled out of a Whataburger, a fast food chain in Texas. He opened the door and nudged the car next to him accidentally. He gets out and starts apologizing to the owner of the other car. The guy he hit punches him and knocks him out and he landed funny. He hits his head and dies later in the hospital. I get hit for a living and this guy gets punched one time and dies. I guess it makes me realize how fragile life is, and I'm thankful that I am alive and well and able to be in the position I'm in. I'm able to inspire people and do what I do. Really, I do live by YOLO [You Only Live Once], but more about appreciating life, not drinking and smoking and stuff like that; what all the kids think it means. I like to live the way I am now, and God willing, make it to fight another day.
DK: You said this win, for the WBC interim lightweight belt, was for your dad. You even gave him the belt after the fight. If you don't want to answer this, I understand because you may just want to keep this a private moment, but what was the behind the scenes like between you and your dad in the locker room? Was there something that you and your dad shared?
OF: Um, no. I'm a very cold-blooded type person when it comes to certain things. Yeah, that fight was for my dad, and I had mentioned that in some of my interviews. It was totally for him and everything I do is for him. I'm able to help my family and secure my daughter's future and provide the opportunity for others to help their own lives, but, in essence, it's really because of my dad. He's the puppeteer so to speak, so I give him the praise and I love him. I'm very thankful I have the kind of dad I have because without a cornerstone, you don't have anything solid. It's not just my dad though, because my mom has also been a big part. Boxing is my dad, but when it comes to my life in general, it's been tremendous teamwork with my parents.
DK: Omar, I want to thank you again, along with Nihito Arakawa, for giving fans one of the most memorable fights in recent memory. This was definitely one fans will remember for a long time. Is there anything you want to leave for the fans?
OF: Just thank you for everything they do. Thank you for the loyalty and support. To the new fans, welcome, and don't expect anything less. Thank you for everything.
Email comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, follow me on Twitter @BoxingObserver, and "Like" The Boxing Observer on Facebook.
[ Follow David Kassel on Twitter @BoxingObserver ]