Herrera and Mayfield could well steal the spotlight from HBO headliners Abregu (left) and Dulorme.
Whenever Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera and Karim “Big Hitta” Mayfield enter the boxing ring, expect fireworks of major proportion.
Both guys can deal.
Riverside’s Herrera (18-2, 7 KOs) and San Francisco’s Mayfield (16-0-1, 10 KOs) are known for their eagerness to exchange and both bring their action-packed styles on Saturday, Oct. 27. The NABO junior welterweight title match takes place at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in New York. HBO will televise.
Mayfield has been on a tear and despite turning professional at age 25, he’s quickly climbed up the ladder and now faces another late bloomer in Herrera.
The San Francisco Bay area has produced a number of elite prizefighters recently such as Andre Ward, Nonito Donaire, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, Ava Knight and a few others. Mayfield is another one of those crack fighters and seeks a win against Herrera to establish his credentials.
The Riverside boxer has taken note of Mayfield and does not expect an easy fight.
“I've seen him fight on ESPN,” said Herrera who considers himself a student of the boxing game. “He's a pretty heavy handed guy. Pretty strong. He uses his body and size and kind of bulldozes people. He has a good right hand. I think its going to be one of his toughest fights.”
It's ironic that two pro boxers who each started in their late 20s are fighting each other. Both fought as amateurs but didn't enter the professional ranks at an early age as most do. Even during Herrera's first year he wasn't sure of his own talent.
“When I was sparring (Timothy) Bradley he said 'I think you can be the next world champ,” Herrera said recounting a conversation with the WBO welterweight titleholder Bradley after a spirited sparring session. “One of the last times we sparred he said we may have to fight each other one day.”
Though they do not spar each other any more Herrera says his sessions against Bradley and Julio Diaz were comparable to taking a physics class with Albert Einstein and Enrico Fermi. Each taught him immeasurable lessons on boxing.
One more thing Herrera learned: he can fight professionally.
“Now it’s starting to hit me. It's still like a dream. I'm so glad I didn't let it go,” says Herrera thinking back on his days of not boxing. “I probably would have been a plumber, not that it's bad. But the dream to be a professional fighter and do what I really love has been great.”
Herrera’s last fight against Mike Alvarado was one of the best of this year. Few outside of Riverside expected the 10 rounds of back and forth explosions provided in Las Vegas that went to a decision. He was scheduled to fight Brandon Rios but an injury to the Oxnard fighter scuttled that fight. Then, a fight against Mayfield was set but an injury to Herrera put the fight on hold. Now, the fight is back on and the winner is guaranteed a shot at one of the junior welterweight world titles.
When you enter the professional ranks at age 27 a boxer has a lot of catching up to do. There are no easy fights and time won't allow a methodical pace.
“I took any fight they put in front of me,” says Herrera.
The same can be said of Mayfield.
“It got me this far that I took those fights. It was better than taking guys with losing records. I kind of took those risks so it worked out fine,” Herrera says.
Mauricio Herrera's younger brother Alberto Herrera (8-7-1, 5 KOs) fights undefeated Puerto Rican welterweight Javier Flores (7-0, 7 KOs) on the same fight card at Turning Stone Resort and Casino. Others fighting on the card are IBF lightweight titleholder Miguel Vazquez (31-3, 13 KOs) defending against Marvin Quintero (25-3, 21 KOs), and Thomas Dulorme (16-0, 12 KOs) versus Luis Abregu (33-1, 27 KOs) in a welterweight clash. Check out video of the fighters taking part in the HBO tripleheader.
Fights on television
Sat. Telefutura, 8 p.m., Antonio Escalante (28-4) vs. Rocky Juarez (28-10-1).
Sat. Azteca, 8 p.m., Takalani Ndlovu (33-7) vs. Alejandro Lopez (23-2).
Sat. HBO, 10:15 p.m., Miguel Vazquez (31-3) vs. Marvin Quintero (25-3); Mauricio Herrera (18-2) vs. Karim Mayfield (16-0-1).
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?