Stephen Fulton feels his experience versus better opposition is one of his biggest advantages over Angelo Leo.
The skillful Fulton has defeated seven unbeaten boxers during his five-year pro career, including a convincing, 12-round, unanimous-decision win against Arnold Khegai in his last fight. Leo has beaten only one undefeated fighter since he turned pro in November 2012, and that win came in just his second bout.
None of that matters to Leo as their 12-round, 122-pound championship match nears.
“He can boast about his resume all he wants, but you know, we’re both top-five in the world,” Leo said during Showtime’s recent virtual press conference. “We’re both undefeated, so it doesn’t really matter once we get in there. You know, he has beat undefeated fighters, but if you look between the lines, you know, he’s been rocked, he’s been dropped in all those fights. And, you know, he’s not untouchable.”
Philadelphia’s Fulton (18-0, 8 KOs) and Albuquerque’s Leo (19-0, 9 KOs) will headline Showtime’s tripleheader Saturday night from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. They’ll fight for the vacant WBO junior featherweight title Emanuel Navarrete relinquished recently to move up to the featherweight division.
Fulton, 26, has been installed as more than a 2-1 favorite over Leo, another 26-year-old contender who stopped Mexican veteran Cesar Juarez in the 11th round of his last fight, December 28 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
“I’m just more hungrier than him,” Leo said. “You know, I’ve seen what he has. I’ve seen that I can break him down. I see his will. He doesn’t have the will like I do and the heart like I do. And on top of that, I also have a lot of skill. And on August 1st, he’s gonna see why I’m undefeated.”
Fulton is ranked number one in the WBO’s 122-pound ratings. Leo, who is promoted by Floyd Mayweather’s company, is ranked second by the WBO.
“I thought I was ready for a world title two, three years ago,” Leo said. “So, with the Cesar Juarez fight, it just solidified why I’m ready for a world title. You know, I stopped him. I stopped Cesar Juarez in spectacular fashion. I dropped him in the sixth and I stopped him in the 11th. So, that’ll tell you right then and there that, you know, I’m in shape to go the 12, and I can still have my power and I can drop you in the middle of the [fight]. So, you know, I’m ready for anything, and I’m ready for that world title.”
Fulton-Leo is the main event of Showtime’s three-bout broadcast, the premium cable network’s first show since March 13.
Showtime’s telecast, scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, will include another evenly matched bout between unbeaten junior featherweights. In that fight, Tramaine Williams (19-0, 6 KOs), of New Haven, Connecticut, and Las Vegas’ Raeese Aleem (16-0, 10 KOs) will square off in a 10-rounder.
In the opener of Showtime’s tripleheader, Houston’s Joseph George (10-0, 6 KOs) and Argentina’s Marcos Escudero (10-1, 9 KOs) will meet in a 10-round light heavyweight rematch. George edged Escudero by split decision in their first fight, a 10-rounder November 15 at WinnaVegas Casino Resort in Sloan, Iowa.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.