By Francisco Salazar
Mauricio Herrera does not have to prove anything to anyone.
Sure he has three losses on his record. But he will tell you that he has never been blown out in those losses.
He is never in bad fights, believing he makes good fights on television and is capable of beating some of the best fighters at 140 and 147 pounds.
That may be up for debate, but Herrera is not letting anyone deter him in his goal of wrapping championship gold around his waist one day.
Herrera will fight Miguel Angel Huerta tonight in a scheduled eight round bout at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario, CA. The bout will headline a scheduled seven-bout “Path to Glory” card, presented by Thompson Boxing Promotions.
In his last bout on May 2nd, Herrera won a one-sided 10 round unanimous decision over hard-hitting Ji-Hoon Kim. Herrera was never in any real trouble, as he boxed his way to a decision.
Herrera will face the southpaw Huerta, who has not fought in almost five years. The one-time fringe contender has pulled off a few upsets throughout his career, but that was when he was active about seven-eight years ago.
Whether Huerta may or may not be dangerous tonight, Herrera is not taking him for granted, but believes he could win through a variety of ways.
“I trained well for this fight and I’m prepared for anything he brings,” Herrera told Boxingscene.com over the phone on Wednesday afternoon. “He hasn’t fought in over four years. I could go in on the attack because he is rusty or I may just box more because he’s well rested and not rusty. I’ll feel him out and read his body language.”
Herrera (19-3, 7 KOs) has beaten formidable and talented opposition in his career. His most impressive victory was a clear 12 round unanimous decision over Ruslan Provodnikov in January of 2011. What was impressive in the victory over the hard-hitting Russian was Herrera fought the second half of the fight with a broken orbital bone under his left eye.
Over five months later, Herrera won a close unanimous decision over Mike Dallas, Jr.
Herrera has stumbled recently in consecutive bouts over the last 18 months. In April of last year, Herrera lost a 10 round unanimous decision to Mike Alvarado in a fight where Herrera had his moments. Six months later, Herrera lost a close 10 round unanimous decision to Karim Mayfield.
In that fight, Herrera tried to slug it out, rather than rely on boxing the more-stationary Mayfield. It was a learning lesson for Herrera, one that he knows would benefit him if they were to fight again.
Surprisingly, Herrera does not want a rematch with Mayfield, even though he knows he could outbox him the second time around.
“I really don’t think people want to see that fight,” said Herrera, who goes by the nickname “El Maestro” (The Teacher). “It was an ugly fight and I don’t see a reason to fight him now. I’d fight him if he had a belt and it’s a fight the people want to see.”
Herrera believes he has the skill set to make one more serious run at a world title.
Should he come out victorious on Friday night, there could be a possibility Herrera could fight again later this year. However, another tune-up bout in 2014 could lead to another significant bout.
Whatever it is, Herrera is up for the challenge.
“All I have to do is keep winning. My goal in 2014 is to land a big fight. One or two more wins after the Huerta fight could get me a big fight on a big stage.”
Herrera is capable of winning bouts, especially now that he has more experience under his belt. Whether he can beat the best fighters at 140 or 147 pounds remains to be seen. He understands that another set of wins will get him back to contender status.
It is a long road, but one he believes he will travel smoother than previous ones he took before.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since last September and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Star newspaper and Knockout Nation. He could be reached by email at [email protected] or on twitter at FSalazarBoxing