"I think I’m still the champion,’’ he said. "I’m 24-1 and Team Porter will be back to the drawing board. There are no excuses. I do want the rematch."
"This journey has been amazing and I can’t even fathom it. I already overcame the biggest fight of my life by beating cancer. I can’t see anything being bigger than this. I was never close to giving up. I stuck to it and now I’m WBC world champion.
"This means the world to me, what else can I say? After beating cancer, making it back from a motorcycle accident and getting a second chance at boxing, I just knew I was going to make the best of it.
"Tonight the referee did a wonderful job. Bika is rough, he’s a helluva fighter. But I’m glad to finally have him in my rearview mirror. I’m not gonna complain about the close scores. I got a unanimous decision and I couldn’t be happier.
"The difference between this fight and our first one is that I wasn’t on the ropes this time. I came out and boxed. But I know I got his attention at the start.’’
"I fought very hard. He was a better fighter tonight. I’m going to go back to the gym and come back stronger. This (losing) happens.’’
"I don’t think I did that great and obviously felt I could be more explosive and maybe get him out of there earlier,’’ said Figueroa, who suffered a bad cut above his left eye from an unintentional headbutt in the ninth. "I was a little concerned that the referee or doctor would stop the fight because of the cut. I knew Estrada would be open for the right hand. I was playing a little possum when I caught him.’’
As for the immediate future, Figueroa sounded like a boxer ready to move up a weight class. "I’m not 100 percent positive I am going to stay at 135 pounds,’’ he said. "I’m sure my body would be more comfortable fighting at 140. But if the money is right, I would defend again at 135.’’
"I’m grateful for the opportunity. "Initially I felt good but he hurt me and I couldn’t recuperate. I had the mentality to win, but I was up against a great champion.’’
"This was fun. I wanted to go some rounds. A lot of people are still asking so many questions to me; I tried to answer some of them today.
"Of course, I could have landed my right hand more in the first couple rounds. He was leaving me openings, but I didn’t want to show off everything. I wanted to save that for next time.
"I’m ready for that world title fight. I want the WBC champ Bermane Stiverne next, hopefully in late November.’’
Nino De Oro Linares
"This was the kind of fight I didn’t expect but that I wanted,’’ Linares said. "I was able to watch tapes on him extensively so I was well prepared. I definitely want to fight for the world title next. That’s why I was here and took this fight. I’m just waiting for my opportunity.
"That was a good straight right hand I landed on him. Once I connected I knew it was over.’’
All pics supplied by Esther Lin/Showtime
August 16, 2014