Mauricio Herrera: Loser and Still Champion

By Robert Ecksel on July 10, 2015
Mauricio Herrera: Loser and Still Champion
“I’d seen Danny fight before and I knew I can take that guy out. He’s slow. He’s flatfooted.”

“I’m not going to complain. I’m a boxer. I’m a fighter. I’ll take it on the chin and keep proving myself. A fighter always has to keep proving himself…”

No matter what happens Saturday night at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California, when Mauricio Herrera (21-5, 7 KOs) fights Hank Lundy (25-4-1, 12 KOs) for the vacant NABF super lightweight title, Herrera and his career are prime examples of what is right and wrong with our sport.

What is right about the sport are the fighters, especially fighters like Herrera, who come to fight, who take pride in their accomplishments, who never complain.

What is wrong about the sport are decisions that, without pointing fingers, sometimes border on the incomprehensible.

When Mauricio Herrera fought Danny Garcia (27-0 coming in) on March 15, 2014, at Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, it was one of those fights where the officials got it wrong. Not everyone agrees, nor should they, since all opinions are created equal. The bout might not have been as one-sided as I remember, or as one-sided as the fight with Lamont Peterson, in which Garcia was also gifted a decision, but it looked, objectively speaking, like Herrera beat up Garcia.

“Before I got offered the fight,” Herrera told, “I got offered it a while back. Maybe it was after Provodnikov. It wasn’t the promoter. It was a third party. They were offering it on two weeks’ notice, some bullshit like that. I’d seen Danny fight before and I knew I can take that guy out. He’s slow. He’s flatfooted. But they were giving me the runaround. And then they said two weeks and I was like, ‘Aw, c’mon, two weeks? You know what? I can take this guy out.’ He was undefeated and I thought if I beat Danny, what are they going to give me? It’s not going to prove anything. So I thought, one day I hope, and it will be at a bigger level and it will be worth it. And it happened that way.”

The fight with Garcia was a fight Herrera was supposed to lose. No one entered his dressing room and told him, “Kid, this ain’t your night.” But Herrera, no matter how solid, no matter how underrated, has never been on the fast track to superstardom. He was a late starter without world-class power who already had three losses. But Garcia, celebrated at the time as the next big thing, had wins over fighters whose best years, with exception of Lucas Matthysse in 2013, were behind them.

“Golden Boy offered me the fight and I said, ‘Perfect. This is my time.’ I’m not afraid of this guy. He has a belt, but fighters fight themselves out. Why is he the champion? He went through Erik Morales, but it was a fading Erik Morales. He got his belt. It could have been anyone else that night. He could have lost to Amir Khan. Matthysse was a close fight. Maybe Matthysse was nervous. So I said, ‘You know what? I think I can beat this guy. I’m not afraid of anybody. I know exactly who he is.’ It’s in Puerto Rico. He doesn’t even know Spanish. It’s all for his dad, his background. So going into Puerto Rico I thought we’re on even ground, except for the judges. That could be difficult, but I knew I could easily take the crowd from him. They didn’t know who he was at all. So I decided I’m going to take it to Danny.”

Taking it Danny might have proven to be a mistake. What Garcia lacks in speed and footwork, he more than makes up for with power.

“I wasn’t afraid at all going out then,” continued Herrera. “The first round felt so good and I knew this guy’s not dangerous. He’s not that fast. He has some power, but he was never catching me clean. So the fight’s going on, I’m waiting around, to just end up to beat him, and then I started to feel more comfortable. It was my first big fight. It was a big arena. There were a lot of people buzzing. The crowd was like a bunch of bees in there. I never looked up, because I knew that would get to me. I stayed focused on Danny the whole time.

“It wasn’t until the later half of the fight, like I started to feel more confident taking it to him. Danny started backing up, like I was the champion. So I was sticking the jab out there and boxing him up. I had a nice round, round nine I think. I had him on the ropes, nose bloody, and I thought, this is my time, this is me. I knew it was going to go this way. I knew he wasn’t all that everyone was saying. This was one of the easiest fights in my whole career. Then decision time came.”

One doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to know what the words failure to launch mean.

“I already knew earlier, they had open scoring, they were giving him the fight. But I thought to myself, please, please, something’s going to happen. Maybe they’re just going to give it to me. Hopefully they do—and it never happens, they’re going to give it to Danny. And I said, well, look, I won. Keep my smile. Keep acting like I was the champion and just take it. They knew Danny’s name. It wasn’t a surprise. Whatever, it is what it is. People know who won it. It comes with the territory. I’m not going to complain. I’m a boxer. I’m a fighter. I’ll take it on the chin and keep proving myself. A fighter always has to keep proving himself.”

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  1. Koolz 02:18pm, 07/10/2015

    I hope not Irish
    The guy should own three belts.
    What’s great is that most consider Herrera the Champion!

  2. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 12:42pm, 07/10/2015

    Great article….how absolutely refreshing to read Mauricio’s spot on, no bullshit commentary….“telling the truth” in this ” time of deceit” is in deed a “revolutionary act”. (George Orwell). That said, I prophesy that he is probably in for another screwing.

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