Herrera wants “Swift” Garcia again but first it’s Johan Perez

By Rich Mancuso

Mauricio Herrera has arrived and the boxing world knows. Once unheralded, he is no more after losing an interesting and majority decision to the junior welterweight champion Danny “Swift” Garcia in March, in hostile territory at the Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez in Bayamon Puerto Rico.   He gave Garcia, perhaps the toughest fight in his title reign and during the course of the fight it looked like the title was going to Herrera as one judge had it even at 114-114.

He may not have won the title that night, and there are those who felt Herrera was, deserving enough to be the proud and new champion and hand Garcia his first loss.  But fights like those put you on the map and that was the result. Herrera has been one of the more popular fighters among fans and has been busy since the loss to Garcia.

 “I’m feeling good and had longer time to train,” commented the 34-year old Herrera in a phone Monday before he departed from Riverside California to Las Vegas.  He is prepared and ready to go Saturday night against Johan Perez for the interim WBA light welterweight title.

You give Garcia a fight and opportunity occurs as Herrera has quickly learned. His fight will be televised as a part of the Showtime Pay-Per-View undercard prior to the Canelo Alvarez-Erislandy Lara 12-round junior middleweight fight from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.  

What made the Garcia fight more interesting, was how Herrera handled himself in the ring. And he did not attribute the loss, as close as the fight was, to the brief time he had to train as a quick opponent for Garcia.

He said about the outcome, “I wasn’t even in the gym. We were in the middle of switching promoters. My weight was up. I got the call from Golden Boy Promotions and they gave us a date of six weeks to get ready.”

As Herrera says, “I jumped on it right away.” Of course it was opportunity and it had to be grabbed because a title fight sometimes becomes a once in a lifetime opportunity. This time it has been normal. A tough training camp just concluded and there was no rush. Herrera, as opposed to getting ready for Garcia, has had a normal eight or nine week training period.

Assume that Herrera gets by Perez, which will be a compelling fight. There is the possible inevitable meeting again with Garcia. That also depends on Garcia staying at 140, as he has been contemplating a move up to 147. Garcia also has to do his part on Showtime, August 9 when he opposes 19-3 Rod Salka at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.    

On a rematch with Garcia, it can be determined that is what Herrera is aiming for.

“I wanted a rematch,” he said. “I didn’t think I was going to get one. We told him (Garcia), we we’re going to ask for one…..hearing the interviews, they’re not going to fight me now. May be in the future, I stopped thinking about it. It’s still on my mind. I went along and said, ‘Yeah  I was thinking down the line this is what I wanted.’” 

“But if he’s going to 147, that will tick me off.”

And if it is not Garcia, there is another champion that Herrera would welcome an opportunity to meet Chris Algieri, who last month, with an injured eye, won the WBO light welterweight title with a decision over Rusian Provodnikov in Brooklyn despite going down twice in the first round.

“I’d love to fight him, he has a belt,” commented Herrera. “I’ve seen his style. We’re both boxers. I would love that fight. If I had to choose, I’d fight him. I think Danny doesn’t want another fight.  I saw Algieri. He’ a dangerous fighter…he would be less threatening.”

As for Perez, Herrera knows his opponent is taller. “He doesn’t always fight using his reach. He fought some tough guys.  I’ve seen those fights.  I know he’s a durable guy and tough and dangerous.  He will be a little awkward.   I’m in great shape and will be ready for it. 

Herrera intends to pursue some openings and will be aggressive, so much that he learned from the Garcia fight. And with that fame from the Garcia fight, there is that added exposure. Herrera has adjusted to the lifestyle of being a popular fighter and has gained endorsements with boxersponsors.com and "Arrowok Authentic's WARRIOR Shoe"

“I want to be impressive and keep the buzz going and not taking him (Perez) lightly. It’s an important fight to keep me at the next level. Some people know me, still a lot that don’t  I want to get some more fans after this fight, so I want to look impressive    I do feel I got a little credit fighting Danny .”

The Garcia fight also taught Herrera how to react before a hostile and big crowd. “It gave me confidence in any arena to be brave and don’t let the crowd mess with you. Being nervous and stuff, I fought through all that.  That’s a big part of being in a big fight and if anything I learned, If, I can fight Danny I can fight anybody now.”

And now that Golden Boy, and Top Rank are working together, that could mean more big fights for the fans and, Herrera intends to be a part of that.     

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