Herrera vs Gomez

Mauricio "El Maestro" Herrera vs. Frankie "Pit Bull" Gomez 

By David A. Avila

Many consider Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera the uncrowned world champion of the super lightweight division in the boxing world.

In a perfect world the Riverside prizefighter would be the champion.

Herrera (22-5, 7 Kos) looks to continue the quest for a world title on Saturday May 7, when he faces East L.A.’s young charge Frankie “The Pitbull” Gomez (20-0, 13 Kos). The non-title welterweight match takes place at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The welterweight fight is the semi-main event on the Golden Boy Promotions card that features Saul “Canelo” Alvarez defending the WBC middleweight title against Amir “King” Khan of England. HBO pay-per-view will televise.

So why does the boxing world consider Herrera the uncrowned champion?

Two years ago Herrera fought then super lightweight world champion Danny “Swift” Garcia in Puerto Rico. In front of an international televised audience it seemed the world championship changed hands as Herrera battered and befuddled Garcia for 12 rounds.

Instead, the boxing world was stunned when the judge’s score cards saw Garcia the winner.

Losing fights due to poor judging is a common occurrence for Herrera; it happened against Jose Benavidez in 2014 and against Mike Anchondo in 2009.

“I’m not a big puncher so I think I don’t get credit,” said Herrera, 35, who only has seven knockouts but has never been knocked out himself. “I’ve been in some wars.”

Wars are a common theme when it comes to Herrera fights. In 2011, Herrera faced Russia’s Ruslan Provodnikov a feared and avoided slugger in Las Vegas and handed him his first loss. Later, Provodnikov would win a world title.

East L.A.’s Gomez, 24, represents another class of fighter. Back in 2009, he was the subject of a bidding war by boxing promoters after winning the amateur world championships in Europe. Golden Boy Promotions won the bid and in 2014 signed Herrera too.

“We have to be ready for anything. We know he’s hungry. We know what he brings, an undefeated record. Those guys are the toughest guys to fight,” said Herrera. “When they mentioned I would be fighting Frankie Gomez I got real excited. The real boxing fans know who he is. He’s real tough.”

Gomez, a soft talking prizefighter from the hard streets of Boyle Heights, a section located in East L.A., knows that Herrera is one of the top fighters in the world.

“He’s a good fighter. He goes good to the body and has a lot of experience,” said Gomez about the Riverside prizefighter. “My mind set is going there to win and give everybody a great show.”

Both Gomez and Herrera agree that giving the fans a great fight is a priority.

In Herrera’s last fight that took place in June 2015, he was disappointed when two severe cuts forced the referee to end the fight early in the fifth round. Though he won by technical decision Herrera felt lacking.

“I was kind of mad and frustrated that night. I wanted to give a good show,” said Herrera. “But with this fight against Gomez on this stage, all the past gets erased.”

A win by Herrera puts him right at the top of the welterweight rankings and allows his many fans to see him in action again.

“I’m here to fight the best and that’s why I’m in there with Frankie Gomez,” Herrera said.