ONTARIO, CALIF.-Slippery fighter Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera discovered early that power was not the answer to beating Mexico’s stone-chinned Luis Alfredo Lugo so he reverted to plan B in winning by unanimous decision on Friday.
Though Herrera had never seen Lugo (10-9-1) fight on tape or in person, he knew going into the fight he was the faster and craftier fighter and used all of his skills before a sold out crowd at the Doubletree Hotel to forge ahead in winning the vacant WBC USNBC junior welterweight title.
“My corner wanted me to throw left hooks to the head but I knew that wasn’t going to work,” said Herrera (11-0, 5 KOs), who fought in his first 10 round fight. “I did what I had to do.”
What Herrera did was beat Lugo both inside and outside with a mixture of hooks, uppercuts and strafing right hands that snapped Lugo’s head back but never wobbled the Mexican from Los Mochis who had gone the distance with Phillie’s Danny Garcia and got a draw against Mike Dallas Jr.
Usually, Herrera, who lives and trains in Riverside, sits in the pocket behind a sizzling left jab and slips and counters when the opportunity arises. After two rounds of this most of his previous opponents slowly let their defensive guard unravel. But Lugo’s ability to take a punch and return forced the fighter known as “El Maestro” to nip and tuck his way to a methodic but convincing victory.
One judge tabbed it 99-91 and the other two saw it 100-90 for Herrera.
“I knew I had to take my time against him,” Herrera said.
In the co-main event Tijuana’s Juan Carlos “Mini” Burgos used his longer reach and height to box and move his way to victory over Russia’s Vyacheslav Gusev (16-2) in a 10-round featherweight battle for the vacant WBC Cabofe title.
Usually Burgos uses his height to pressure opponents into making mistakes. Not against Gusev. Instead he jabbed and moved and circled the Russian fighter who boxes out of the Wild Card Gym and is usually trained by Freddie Roach. But Roach is currently in New York with Filipino world title challenger Rodel Mayol who fights WBO junior flyweight titleholder Ivan Calderon tonight.
From the opening minute Gusev ran into trouble when a left jab opened up a cut over his right eyebrow. The blood trickling down his eye troubled him as he continually dabbed at the blood.
For the first half of the fight Burgos didn’t seem to have a problem using his box and move tactic. Then in the fifth round the smaller Russian fighter – who resembles actor Paul Rudd from the comedy Knocked Up – increased the pressure and attacked the body and head. It proved effective.
With Gusev ignoring the blood streaming down the ever widening cut and attacking with more intensity, the fight began to get interesting. Some good combinations to the body and head by the Russian fighter scored.
Burgos signaled to his trainer between rounds that his hands were hurt. Later, after the fight, the Mexican fighter acknowledged that both of his hands were injured around the second and third round.
“My formula all along was to box and move,” said Burgos (22-0, 15 KOs) who had a four-inch height advantage over Gusev. “I couldn’t hit him square. He moved a lot.”
Judge Fritz Werner had it 97-93 for Burgos and judge Ray Corona and Marty Denkin saw it 98-92 for Burgos.
“I’m going to let my hand heal completely before I seek an elimination bout for the world title,” Burgos said.
A phone booth war between Indio’s Aaron Garcia (9-1-1) and Los Angeles fighter Juan “Pollo” Hernandez (8-0-1) ended in a majority draw but gave the fans all they wanted in a six round featherweight bout.
Both fighters never touched the ropes but battered each other with precision and brutality in a back and forth display of boxing warfare with body punches and uppercuts. By the second round Garcia had a small cut around his left eye and Hernandez had two big cuts in the intense trench warfare.
Judge Mary Denkin scored it 58-56 for Garcia but judges Ray Corona and Fritz Werner scored it 57-57 to make the fight a majority draw.
Another Herrera took to the ring as Alberto “The Substitute” Herrera (2-0, 2 KOs) pounded out his second knockout win with a blistering left uppercut followed by a barrage of a dozen punches that stopped East L.A.’s Alfredo Rivera (0-5). After using a lethal left jab for two rounds Herrera slipped a strong left uppercut between Rivera’s guard that wobbled the muscular fighter. From then on Herrera let go and dropped Rivera 45 seconds into the third round. Referee Lou Moret stopped the welterweight fight scheduled for four rounds.
Burbank’s Yakub Shidaev (2-0) pulled out an unpopular unanimous decision over Riverside’s Ignacio Garcia (2-2-1) in a four round junior welterweight contest. All four rounds were fought inside with a lot of clutching and grabbing. Shidaev had the size and reach advantage but Garcia forced him to fight inside where both had their moments. All three judges scored it 39-37 for Shidaev.
Guatemala’s Oscar Chincilla (1-0) battled Indio’s Miguel Oronio (0-1) and pulled out a majority decision win by landing some lefts down the middle on numerous occasions. Both fighters were making their pro debut in the four round junior lightweight bout. Judge Ray Corona scored it 38-38 but judges Marty Denkin and Fritz Werner scored it 39-37 for the southpaw Chinchilla.