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Herrera still hoping for rematch against Garcia


By John J. Raspanti

Back in the ring for the first time since his controversial loss to WBC and WBA junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia, Mauricio Herrera faces Johan Perez in a junior welterweight eliminator on the undercard of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Erislandy Lara main event this Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Herrera’s chances looked slim when he faced off against Garcia last March in Puerto Rico.

Garcia was coming off a sensational victory over heavy-handed Lucas Matthysee. Behind early in the bout, Garcia closed Matthysee’s eye and knocked the favored fighter down in round eleven. He went on to win the fight by a unanimous decision.

On the other hand, Herrera had lost twice in 2012, before rebounding with victories over unheralded opponents.

Garcia was favored by as much as 10-1 on fight night.

None of this bothered Herrera. He used the ring intelligently, jabbed to the body consistently,and landed more punches. Garcia connected with the heavier shots, but Herrera (20-4, 7 KOs) controlled most of the fight, so it seemed.

Two judges had Garcia winning the bout by four points, while the third scored the fight a draw. Showtime commentators Al Bernstein, Paulie Malignaggi, and Steve Farhood, all had Herrera winning the bout. This boxing scribe concurred.

But the decision shocked few. Garcia was fighting in Puerto Rico for the first time. His parents were born there. The hometown crowd cheered Garcia‘s every move.

The defeat still haunts Herrera.

“Yes, I’m not totally over it, with Danny Garcia,” said Herrera at a press conference a few weeks ago. “It was frustrating for a while. But I still think about that fight. It is still frustrating in my head. But I wasn’t surprised at the decision, either.

“Nobody ever expected me to do that well, so I have the mentality that I just have to keep going, keep going forward, and keep proving myself.”
And herein lies the calamity of boxing. Herrera, 34, trained harder than he ever did in his career. Maybe he knew that this might be his last chance to achieve something that every fighter dreams of, winning a world championship.

And after 12 hard rounds, in a perfect world, he should have been rewarded with the victory, instead of being crushed, like many underdogs before him, by a loss.

Herrera was hopeful of a rematch, but instead will face WBA interim champion Perez (19-1, 13 KOs) in a 12 round bout. The winner will be in line for a shot at a world title. Herrera is wary of the fight going the distance. He wants to stop his taller opponent.

“I want to put on exciting fights all the time for the people,” said Herrera. “I’m never in a boring fight. I am a boxer. I’m not a very, they say a hard puncher,’ so I sort of follow what my style is.

“But I know what I can do, and when I’m in great shape, I know I can do better things and get that stoppage. So, I’m going to try really hard and give the fans what they want.”

Perhaps this time his hard work won’t be for naught.


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