The Night Herrera Beat Provodnikov

By Robert Ecksel on July 8, 2015
The Night Herrera Beat Provodnikov
Mauricio Herrera fought Ruslan Provodnikov on January 7, 2011, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Going into this fight, he was everything I thought. This guy has rocks in his hands. He was tough. Every shot would hurt, and it would bust you up…”

In advance of Saturday’s fight at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles, California, between Mauricio Herrera (21-5, 7 KOs), from Riverside, California, and Hammerin’ Hank Lundy (25-4-1, 12 KOs), from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for the vacant NABF super lightweight title, I had the pleasure of speaking with El Maestro.

The temptation, when questioning Herrera, is to ask about his losses, specifically his loss to Danny Garcia, since it appeared to be a win. But Herrera has victories to his credit, and one of the best was over Ruslan Provodnikov. When they fought on January 7, 2011, at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada, Provodnikov was undefeated. His profile has grown since then, in part because of the way he lit up ESPN with his tenacious do-or-die style.

“Before I got offered that fight,” Herrera told Boxing.com, “I saw this guy Provodnikov fight on Friday Night Fights on ESPN. The guy was like a tank. He was tough and he was blowing guys out of there. He reminded me of a fighter I used to like, Kostya Tszyu, so I was impressed by him. He was in my weight class. At the time I had only about 16 fights and never even thought I’d fight on TV anytime soon. It was just a couple of months after watching him that I got offered the fight. And when they asked me if I wanted to fight him, I said, ‘Man, I know exactly who that is. That guy’s a machine. He’s on ESPN, taking guys out. I’ve been watching him.’ But when I got offered that fight I said, ‘Yep, let’s take it. If I’m in this business and if we have to fight already let’s do it and see how it goes.’”

That willingness to fight whoever is in front of him is a Herrera trademark. He may not pack explosive heat, but he’s never been stopped. He’s smart and he’s skilled and never fought a man he didn’t think he could defeat.

“Fighting Provodnikov was the first fight I ever had enough time to train,” recalled Herrera. “I had two months, so I know I had no excuses. I had to go in there and train hard. Going into this fight, he was everything I thought. This guy has rocks in his hands. He was tough. Every shot would hurt, and it would bust you up. In the beginning of the fight I was playing it safe, sticking the jab, tying him up. It was going good and I thought I could take this guy easy this way. And I don’t know what happened. He came up with I think it was a left hook—right in my left eye. It closed and I felt it shutting. I thought, alright, now comes the fight. It was about the third round, and as I walked back to my corner I could see all my family behind the corner there and they’re all rooting for me. I sat down and said to myself, Oh man, every time I gotta go to this corner I’m gonna see all my family, so I’ve got to push through.”

Herrera paused before continuing.

“He’s a tough guy, he was putting pressure, and I’m trying to see through that one eye. I’m sticking my jab out there and I think it wasn’t until the seventh or eighth round, I started getting more into a zone where I just didn’t feel any of his punches and I felt confident in there. He can take you out in any round. He is dangerous. But I was just focused, his punches couldn’t hurt me. I don’t know if it was my will, my hunger, or just everything about not letting this guy beat me. I didn’t care where he was from. I knew he had lots of amateur background. I was there to win and please my family. I could see them. They helped me. They were going through it as I was. They gave me that extra boost that put me in the zone, where it kind of numbed me. I knew the punches were hard. And some were landing. They were just not going to take me out. I could feel my face getting more swollen, but I didn’t feel that I was getting rocked or stunned. It was just a weird feeling.

“My corner was telling me, ‘Just box him. Just box him,’ but I felt I could exchange with him. It wasn’t power punches, but almost going to take the risk and go toe-to-toe. But I started boxing and it wasn’t until the 12th round I felt I had him and almost had him out. He was exhausted and tired and I went for him. I was so happy. I felt that I knew I won and the crowd was screaming and it was one of the most exciting fights I ever had. I took it. I was glad I won it. It was just one of those nights to remember.”

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Ruslan Provodnikov vs Mauricio Herrera



Discuss this in our forums

Related Articles

Comments

This is a place to express and/or debate your boxing views. It is not a place to offend anyone. If we feel comments are offensive, the post will be deleted and continuing offenders will be blocked from the site. Please keep it clean and civil! We want to have fun. We want some salty language and good-natured exchanges. But let's keep our punches above the belt...
  1. Robert Ecksel 10:34am, 07/10/2015

    We’ll have to agree to disagree on Herrera’s fight with Garcia. But tip o’ the hat for admitting that Lamont Peterson defeated Danny.

  2. Darrell 11:20pm, 07/09/2015

    Still pushing the “Herrera beat Garcia” barrow…...Herrera fought well but lost comfortably to Garcia who barely got out of 2nd gear.  I will say this though, Peterson beat Danny.

  3. Koolz 04:14pm, 07/08/2015

    I want to mention something here. At the end of the Provodnikov fight, at those later rounds it sounds like Herrera Tapped into his inner self and let himself go!  He became one with the Gloves, one with the Ring, and won the Fight!  He Became the Fight.
    The guy did an old martial arts Trick without even knowing it! 
    Herrera said:
    “I started getting more into a zone where I just didn’t feel any of his punches and I felt confident in there. He can take you out in any round. He is dangerous. But I was just focused, his punches couldn’t hurt me. I don’t know if it was my will…”

    (It was my Will)
    Musashi:“If you wish to control others you must first control yourself.”

  4. Koolz 02:34pm, 07/08/2015

    Herrera is such an underrated fighter!
    The poor guy has been fooked over by the judges to many times.
    I hope his next fight coming up it all goes his way finally, he needs a break.
    I absolutely loved it when he Schooled Little Danny Garcia, whahah his Father’s reaction in the corner just cracked me up!

  5. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 02:15pm, 07/08/2015

    You can’t make this shit up….Ross Mirkarimi (what the fuk is a Mirkarimi?!), Sheriff of Karachi, Pakistan…..no silly…. San Francisco, Calif is a koksukin’ wife beater!

  6. Clarence George 01:30pm, 07/08/2015

    Arianna LaBarbara?  I don’t know, she was the first one to come to mind.  Anyway, I agree.  If it weren’t for bad luck, Herrera would have no luck at all, if you’ll allow the paraphrase.

  7. KB 12:59pm, 07/08/2015

    Guy has been screwed more often than a porn actress

  8. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:17am, 07/08/2015

    Punching power…if he had it he would be a monster…..but then he wouldn’t be Mauricio would he….maybe he would be a guy with power who faded when he didn’t get his early KO. He beat Garcia and Benavidez….I figure he lost to Mayfield when Karim still believed he was mini King Kong.

Leave a comment