LAS VEGAS-Despite a horrific swollen eye Riverside’s Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera handed Russia’s strong Rusland Provodnikov his first loss in winning the vacant IBF North American junior welterweight title.
A very vocal crowd saw Herrera surprise Provodnikov with some clever boxing that nullified the Russian fighter’s strength to win by unanimous decision at Cox Pavilion and enter his name among the junior welterweight contenders.
Herrera’s movement and clever combinations kept the Russian fighter bewildered in the first two rounds. The jab was especially important in stopping Provodnikov’s momentum in the early going.
At the end of the third a clash of heads left Herrera with a badly swollen left eye that nearly shut. He had sustained a left hand from Provodnikov and rallied to land a few of his own, but the eye looked bad.
After the ringside doctor looked at Herrera’s eye in the sixth, the Riverside boxer stunned the Russian with some pretty combos up and down. It was his best round since the second round.
Provodnikov stormed back in the eighth round with several strong right hands that connected flush. Herrera took the blows but couldn’t sustain a rally to win the round. From there on the two tried to impose their styles on each other with Herrera slipping and countering and Provodnikov looking for the big blow. Both fighter’s faces looked like they had beaten each other with bats.
After 12 rounds all three judges ruled it for Herrera 115-113, 116-112 twice.
Little Herrera Demetrius Andrade (12-0, 8 KOs) used his speed and reach to outscore Riverside’s Alberto Herrera (7-2-1, 5 KOs) in an eight round junior middleweight fight.
Those long arms of Andrade set the tone in the first round and he attempted to open up on the Riverside fighter and was rebuffed. But the former Olympian won the round easily.
Herrera had a decent round in the third. During an exchange of punches a left hook stunned Andrade who walked into the blow. But Andrade maintained control of the round with his jabs.
Herrera did his best work in the sixth as he worked his way inside the long arms of Andrade and landed some combinations to the head and body. During several clinches Herrera refused to allow himself to be held and won the round.
Andrade won by unanimous decision 79-73 and 80-72 twice.
Other bouts Riverside’s Richard Contreras (4-0) blew out Las Vegas junior featherweight Juan Tepoz (4-5-1) with his strength and accuracy. A right hand finished Tepoz’s night and he was counted out.
Oscar Andrade (4-0) of East Los Angeles won a battle of undefeated junior welterweight prospects by out-mauling Las Vegas’s Deth’Marcus Hall (2-1). The first round was close but then Andrade bullied the bully and for the rest of the fight he simply punched his way to victory. All three judges scored it 40-36 for Andrade.
Jesus Gutierrez (2-0) won by unanimous decision over fellow Las Vegan Frankie Martinez (0-1) after four rounds of a junior lightweight bout. Gutierrez caught Martinez repeatedly walking into punches and won 40-36, 40-35 twice according to the judges.
Las Vegas’s Lonnie Smith (12-2-2, 9 KOs) didn’t need much time to unravel Washington’s Jose Gomez in a junior lightweight match. A left to the liver stopped Gomez at 2:40 of the first round. Smith had dropped Gomez earlier with a right hand.
Who Should Floyd Mayweather fight next: