SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Arco Arena will be a hostile environment for Raphael Assuncao on Sunday when he fights the city’s favorite son, Urijah Faber. However, it won’t be the first time the 27-year-old Brazilian has encountered that situation. Assuncao made the trek to the Chicago suburbs in November 2006 to fight veteran Jeff Curran in his backyard.
Assuncao hopes any similarity between the pair of fights ends there. After three tough rounds, Curran earned what was a controversial majority decision, the only loss on Assuncao’s otherwise unblemished record.
The highly rated featherweight, who may be next in line for champion Jose Aldo should he get past Faber, understands he may be up against it should his fight go to the scorecards.
“A stoppage is always the best option and I hope I get a fair shake with the judges if it does go to a decision,” said Assuncao. “It’s always in the back of your mind, being that it happened before, but I’m pretty comfortable, I feel good about it, it’s nothing that will get me off my game plan.
“I come to fight, he’s a great fighter but if he gives me an opening I’m going to capitalize on it,” continued Assuncao. “I think there are going to be very few mistakes in this fight and whoever imposes the strongest will is going to come up victorious.”
Should the bout boil down to the intricacies in this closely matched fight, it very well could end up in the judge’s hands, though Assuncao warned against relying on any kind of partisan charity.
“Even for him, in his hometown, he shouldn’t be thinking about a decision just because he is from here because you can’t think that way prior to a fight,” he said. “I don’t think any fighter should think that way, I don’t think any fighters do think that way going into a fight.”
Assuncao didn’t want to discuss the possibilities he might encounter -- other than some time off -- should he pull off the upset, but it is apparent this bout will have serious title implications for the 145-pound division.
“After this fight, if I do get the win and everything goes well, hopefully I will get a little time off to rest because I have been training so hard,” he said. “So I will get a little vacation and then, after this performance, I will look at it and see how it’s going and when it’s time for me to get a crack at the title against Jose Aldo I will definitely be ready.”