Mauricio Saga 2

Photo by Al Applerose

Mauricio Herrera Saga Pt. 2

By David A. Avila

Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera rose up the slippery rankings of prizefighting in a manner most unusual for a professional boxer, even in the 21st century.

Most others gradually make their ascent as if tip-toeing through a swamp. Herrera ran through it uncaringly as if with blinkers.

Herrera (21-5, 7 Kos) continues the climb when he faces Hank Lundy (25-4-1, 12 Kos) next Saturday July 11, at the L.A. Sports Arena the historic home of many revered boxing wars. The Golden Boy Promotions fight card will be the last ever staged in that building. HBO Latino will televise.

The Riverside prizefighter reminds boxing experts of another fearless fighter named James “Lights Out” Toney. Ironically or purposely Herrera said Toney, a former middleweight now a heavyweight, has always been a favorite. 

“I’m like the Mexican James Toney,” says Herrera.

Though Toney has been recognized as one of the best defensive fighters in the past 50 years, unlike other defensive boxers such as Floyd Mayweather, Toney refuses to run away, he always moves forward.

It’s a style that Herrera admires.

“I study James Toney tapes all the time,” said Herrera, who has adapted many Toney traits to his own repertoire. 

Herrera has confronted many of the best junior welterweights in the world the past four years. While others avoid danger Herrera has invited it. Collisions with former world champions such as Mike Alvarado, Mike Anchondo, Ruslan Provodnikov and Danny Garcia were all close and brutal encounters. Against world champion Garcia a year ago, most of the world felt Herrera defeated the Puerto Rican. Each opponent was surprised by Herrera’s resilience and even more so his fighting skills.

Former junior welterweight world champion Tim “Desert Storm” Bradley never fought Herrera, but sparred him years ago.

“Man, Mauricio has skills,” said Bradley last year. “He’s hard to get a bead on.”

Bradley is another that Herrera would love to face along with fellow Riverside boxer Josesito Lopez. But that’s in the future.

“We can have a battle of Riverside,” said Herrera. “That would sell out over here.”

Lunday says not so quick. First, both will battle in L.A.

“This is going to be a horrible butt whipping,” said Lundy while in L.A. for a media press conference. “I can’t say too much because I don’t want to scare you.”

Herrera calmly looked straight ahead at the small crowd of media with his usual self-assuredness.

“I really feel I should be undefeated,” said Herrera. “We both could be undefeated.”

On Saturday someone will lose. After several near misses for world titles, will this finally lead to a world title for Herrera.

“Mauricio Herrera is the uncrowned world champion,” said HBO’s Max Kellerman.

Other bouts

Michael “The Artist” Perez (22-1-2) meets Sharif Bogere (27-1) in a lightweight showdown set for 10 rounds. Perez currently lives and trains with Robert Garcia in Riverside. Bogere lives and trains in Las Vegas. 

Melinda Cooper was slated to fight Costa Rica's Carolina Arias for the WBO bantamweight world title, but problems with visas forced a cancellation of the fight. Cooper fights out of Las Vegas and is one of the most feared female boxers in the world.

Others on the card are former U.S. Olympian Jojo Diaz, Irish middleweight Jason Quigley, and East L.A.’s Angel Bojado the younger brother of Panchito Bojado. A food and music fiesta outside of the L.A. Sports Arena is planned. Tickets begin at $10. For more information call (213) 233-4223.