Benavidez edges Herrera in a thrilling fight.
By Igor Frank
LAS VEGAS- Young, undefeated Jose Benavidez (22-0,15KO’S) and veteran, Mauricio Herrera (21-5,7KO’S) engaged capacity crowd at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas as well as millions of fans watching on HBO to a fast paced high intensity firefight which featured back and forth action. After twelve dynamic rounds judges scored the fight: 116-112,116-112,117-111 in favor of Benavidez.” Those were the quickest twelve rounds ever,” said Benavidez who has never previously gone twelve:” I think time went by fast.”
Many ringside observers felt that more aggressive Herrera won the fight because he had the younger fighter pinned on the ropes absorbing punishment for extended periods of time. However judges preferred Jose Benavidez and his sharp accurate punches that seemed to do more damage.
“I feel great. Hard work paid off,” said Benavidez when I interviewed him after the fight:” I’ve been in Big Bear for two and a half months. I am happy I won the belt.” Young contender from Phoenix Arizona won interim WBA world light welterweight title and looked very happy to be walking around with it.
Both guys tried to establish their jab early. It was the shorter Herrera who seemed to force the action with a strong up-jab. He landed an overhand right that backed up Benavidez. Herrera continued the trend in the second, pressing the action and backing up the younger fighter to the ropes. Benavidez landed some good shots but not enough to win early rounds. Jose came out with more purpose for the third round, but couldn’t sustain the pace and found himself against the ropes several times. Benavidez had more success in the fourth landing some vicious body shots. He seemed to turn a fight around momentarily when he switched to southpaw.
“I was working a lot on my southpaw stance in my training camp,” said Benavidez:” That’s what kind of threw him off a bit because he didn’t know what I was going to do”
All of sudden Benavidez was backing up his opponent and taking charge. Rounds five through seven were fast paced competitive rounds, but it was Benavidez who was landing more telling blows. Herrera came out in the eights as if he felt things were getting away from him. He pressed the action and reestablished control of the fight. Benavidez had a lot of success with his jab early in the ninth, but Herrera took over the second half and trapped younger fighter on the ropes.
Tenth round was the same Benavidez put hurt on Herrera early, but ended up against the ropes late taking shots.” When I was on the ropes I’ve seen everything coming,” explained Benavidez:” Those body shots I was blocking with my elbows.”
Benavides had a very good 11th round. His vicious body shots and combinations seemed to have taken a toll on Herrera. A veteran from Riverside, California came back strong in the twelfth. Final round was a firefight. Both warriors left everything in the ring. The fans were on their feet appreciating the action .