Mauricio Herrera impressed the heck out of everyone who watched him be slick, smart and pesky as all hell against Danny Garcia in the main event in Puerto Rico on Saturday night, and on Showtime. Everyone, except the most important people, the judges, who gave Garcia the nod.
One card read 114-114 (Gustave Padilla), while the others said 116-112, 116-112 (Carlos Colon, Al Rochin).
I though Herrera outboxed the champ, and so did the Showtime crew. Al Bernstein saw it 116-113, 116-112 for Steve Farhood and 116-113 from Paul Malignaggi, all for Herrera. I most agreed with the Farhood card, giving extra love to the ring generalship of Herrera, which impressed me more than the alleged power shot edge.
Garcia went 204-675 to 221-695 for Herrera, whose defensive skills helped him measurable, as Garcia never once buzzed him, which he does at least once in every bout. Garcia won 150-82 in power punches, according to CompuBox.
After, Garcia told Jim Gray he adapted, and then pressured Herrera. He said everyone gets up for the champ, "everyone's gonna come after you." He said he thought he won the fight, agreeing with the two judges who saw it his way.
He said making 140 might have affected his performance, and he will discuss moving up. Being off 182 days, he said, didn't make him rusty. "Big ups to Mauricio Herrera," he said.
Herrera afterwards said he was perfectly prepared. He wanted to make the fight when Garcia didn't pressure him, he stated. He felt he won the fight, he said, and finished strongly. "It was close but I thought I won the fight," the classy hitter said.
Herrera (age 33; lives in Riverside, CA; 20-3 with 7 KOs entering) was 139 1/4 (152 on fightnight) on Friday, while the WBC/WBA 140 pound champ Garcia (turns 26 on March 25; living in Philly; 27-0 entering, with 16 KOs) was 139 3/4 (155 fightnight).Golden Boy put the show together, in an attempt to build out the fanbase for Garcia, whose parents were both born in PR, who was attempting his sixth title defense. In the first, Garcia came forward while Herrera backed up, to his left. He jabbed to the gut, while Garcia wanted to land power rights. A sneaky left hook inside surprised Garcia. In the second, Herrera landed a quick right lead. He moved more, looking to slide laterally to avoid the Garcia power. He looked to clinch to get a break, and also threw little shots in the clinch. He showed up, it was clear with skills and a game plan.
In the third, Herrera complained about a low blow, as he'd complained about rabbit punches before that. He clinched after landing repeatedly. In the fourth, Garcia did better landing his jab. His left hook wasn't finding purchase much though. Herrera moved less, stood his ground, perhaps more comfortable with his ability to withstand a heavy bomb. "C'mon man, what the eff is wrong with you?" trainer Angel Garcia yelled at Danny after the round. Garcia was up 40-36, 39-37 on two cards and one was even after four.
In the fifth, a right from Herrera landed clean. Danny looked to land combos but Herrera's smothering worked well. In the sixth, Herrera comboed and then ate a blast to the body. Garcia was backing up late. In the seventh, Herrea was often first to the party. His hands looked faster and his gameplan looked to be more on message. It was another carbon copy round, even as heck.
In the eighth, Garcia was being stalked. Herrera had a cut under his left eye but he didn't seem put off. In the ninth, Herrera had Garcia on the ropes. The crowd came on for Danny late. In the tenth, they brawled some. Garcia's combos were sharper now. But Herrera still avoided the nasty left hook and landed one of his own.
In the 11th, Garcia's jab pumped hard. He backed Herrera into the ropes, while the crowd was all in. Herrera landed a long right at the bell. In the 12th, a right by Herrera landed clean, while he jabbed to the body to disrupt the Garcia left hook. He landed two left hooks on Garcia who was a step behind. We went to the cards, prepared for the worst.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV