By Keith Idec
Mauricio Herrera feels more than ready for his return to the welterweight division.
The 35-year-old Herrera (22-5, 7 KOs) and unbeaten Golden Boy Promotions prospect Frankie Gomez (20-0, 13 KOs) are scheduled to meet in a 10-round welterweight bout May 7 on the Canelo Alvarez-Amir Khan undercard at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Herrera has fought almost exclusively at junior welterweight the past six years, but boxing Gomez on an HBO Pay-Per-View show was an opportunity the Riverside, California native couldn’t pass up.
“I’ve always lost a lot of weight to get down to 140,” Herrera said Tuesday during a conference call. “I could’ve easily gone to 147 a while back in my career. But I worked hard and kept making the weight. There was a lot of good names at 140, so I stuck around for that reason.
“A lot of fighters are moving up. A lot of names are moving up to 147. And it just so happened that the [Lucas] Matthysse fight was gonna be made at 147. So it got me thinking right away [about] that weight class. When that fight fell through, my mind was still on 147. So I said, ‘Let me just go on to that weight.’ I was already thinking about it, been training for it. So when Frankie Gomez was brought to me, I decided to keep it at 147. So that’s the weight we’re going at, and [I’ll] see how I feel.”
The Herrera-Matthysse match would’ve been part of the Canelo-Khan undercard, but Argentina’s Matthysse (37-4, 34 KOs, 1 NC) turned it down because he still is recovering from an eye injury sustained during his 10th-round knockout loss to Ukraine’s Viktor Postol (28-0, 12 KOs) on October 3 in Carson, California. The 24-year-old Gomez, of East Los Angeles, struggled significantly to remain at junior welterweight before moving up to welterweight last year.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.