By Chris Robinson
This weekend, junior welterweight hopeful Mauricio Herrera will find himself in a definite dogfight as he challenges unbeaten Mike Alvarado in a ten-round bout inside of the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. The matchup serves as part of a split-site HBO pay per view event and Herrera will likely have his hands full with the all-out style of Alvarado, who hails from Denver, Colorado.
The interest in Herrera’s career has been building and he showed serious grit in upsetting previously-unbeaten Ruslan Provodnikov in January of last year in a fight that saw him fighting with swelling around his left eye late in the contest.
Asked for his take on Alvarado and what to expect come Saturday night, Herrera recognizes that a unique test awaits him.
“I think he’s going to be different,” Herrera said recently after a workout at the Top Rank Gym. “I did face some power punchers and guys who tried to outbox me, but I think Mike Alvarado’s a little bit different with his style. It’s going to be just a little bit different but I feel that my jab is the key to all my fights and for that I think it’s going to be the key to this one also.”
Herrera went on to mention that he sees similarities between Provodnikov and Alvarado, expect that the ‘Russian is a little bit shorter’. Herrera was also asked what he remembered most during his thirty-six minutes in the ring competing against Provodnikov.
“I remember he was very fast,” Herrera continued. “Not only a strong hitter but fast. And that’s all I can remember about [him] and I could remember with one eye too. Like I showed in that fight, I’m going to show in this fight that I have a lot of heart.”
A few days ago our friends at BoxingScene.com reported that Provodnikov will soon be flying to the Philippines to join Manny Pacquiao in camp as he prepares for his June 9th fight against Timothy Bradley. Pacquiao defends his WBO welterweight crown against Bradley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada but Herrera doesn’t see how Provodnikov will be of any real use in camp.
Having been in the ring under different circumstances with Bradley and Provodnikov, Herrera explained his reasoning.
“I don’t think it will be that good. Because Bradley’s a mover and I’ve sparred with Bradley before and he has good legs and he’s going to be moving around the ring and he’s hard to hit. I think Provodnikov is there to be hit and it’s not going to be the same as when he fights Bradley. [Bradley] moves around and uses his legs. Provodnikov is just a different fighter than Bradley,” said Herrera, who helped Bradley get ready for his fights with Lamont Peterson and Nate Campbell in 2009.
And it’s the mobility of Bradley that makes Herrera believe he has a real chance to pull off the upset in two months’ time.
“I think Bradley has a good shot,” Herrera continued. “As you’ve seen with Shane Mosley, who was moving around with Pacquiao, and it kind of gave Pacquiao problems. I think that’s something that Bradley’s going to use in that fight.”
Bonus HBO April 14th PPV Slideshow Coverage from photojournalist Chris Robinson