Mauricio in LA

Photo by Al Applerose

Mauricio Herrera Fight to be L.A. Sports Arena Finale

By David A. Avila

No other prizefighter but Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera could lose two of three fights and be tabbed the main event of a large fight card in Los Angeles.
The reason is simple: most fans around the world felt he won all of those fights.

“I feel I should be undefeated,” said Herrera.

Riverside’s Herrera (21-5, 7 Kos) will fight Philadelphia’s “Hammerin” Hank Lundy (25-4-1, 12 Kos) on Saturday July 11, at the soon-to-be-closed L.A. Sports Arena. The Golden Boy Promotions card will also be televised on HBO Latino.

Once a premiere hot spot for mega boxing events that saw fighters such as Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Archie Moore, Ruben Olivares, Bobby Chacon and Danny “Little Red” Lopez battle in the arena. The building is closing its doors for good this year to make way for construction of a soccer stadium.

Ironically, the first event ever held at the L.A. Sports Arena was a boxing match four days after it opened its doors in July 1959. The bantamweight world champion Alphonse Halimi of France was knocked out by Mexico’s Jose Becerra. Fans roared their approval for Mexico’s first world champion.

“It was the loudest screams I ever heard,” recalled longtime publicist Bill Caplan who was present at the boxing event. “It was so loud it hurt.”

The arena will perhaps be closing its doors for good after Herrera fights Lundy in a junior welterweight match.

Nothing comes easy for Herrera who fought three times in 2014 including a world title bout against another Philadelphian Danny “Swift” Garcia. That bout took place in Puerto Rico and though most saw Herrera a clear-cut winner, he returned without the world title. Last December, Herrera faced undefeated Jose Benavidez and after 12 rounds of seemingly superiority, the judges again scored in favor of the other guy. Fans were angry, reporters were angry and the boxing world views Herrera as a winner.

Herrera feels honored that he and Lundy are the last prizefight at the L.A. Sports Arena.

“We’re going to close it down,” said Herrera. 

Tickets are now on sale and priced at a very reasonable $10 and up. For more information call (800) 745-3000.

Another Riverside fighter

Saul “Neno” Rodriguez (17-0-1, 13 Kos) remained undefeated with a solid performance on Saturday at the Florentine Gardens in Hollywood. 

Facing another undefeated fighter in Antonio Capulin (14-1, 6 Kos), the two lightweights battled for eight rounds with Rodriguez emerging the winner by unanimous decision. A first round knockdown scored by Rodriguez aided his case in winning by scores 80-71 on two judge’s cards and 79-72 on a third card.

The Riverside Poly graduate has emerged a crowd favorite and a television darling for his sizzling knockouts. Though he was unable to score a knockout against Capulin, he was just one-punch shy of ending the fight in the first round. 

“He fools people with that innocent child’s face,” said the television analyst.