ONTARIO, CALIF-Junior welterweight contender Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera defused the always dangerous Miguel Angel Huerta, who was returning to the ring after a nearly five-year absence on Friday.
Herrera used his skill to keep on top.
A crowd of 1,000 at the Doubletree Hotel saw Riverside’s Herrera (20-3, 7 Kos) deftly avoid the punishing left hand of Huerta (27-11-1, 18 Kos), who was last seen fighting Mike Alvarado in 2008. Time eroded some of Huerta’s speed but his chin stood up to Herrera’s attack.
Herrera had the speed advantage from the opening bell but entered the fight on the safe side. He wasn’t sure if Huerta would fight southpaw or if he would come at him more quickly than the last time he was in a boxing ring.
The Riverside boxer didn’t run around the ring, nor did he wait too long for Huerta to attack. Herrera calmly poured his precise and short combinations to the head and body. And when there was a lull, that stiff jab to the body and head kept the points coming. Huerta was always moving in, but couldn’t match Herrera’s speed.
Though Huerta couldn’t find Herrera’s head he slipped some body shots in, but nothing was heavy enough to cause damage. In the third round a crisp one-two counter by Herrera snapped Huerta’s head back and seemed to stall his forward motion. Herrera poured on combinations but the veteran Huerta was able to survive any damage.
It was carbon copy Friday as Herrera kept the combos coming and expertly controlled Huerta’s movements while hitting and moving out of harm’s way. After eight rounds all three judges scored it for Herrera 80-72, 79-73 and 78-74.
Southpaw Giovanni Santillan (10-0, 6 Kos) looked solid in beating Mexico’s Angel Martinez (13-5, 9 Kos) by knockout in a their junior welterweight encounter. Santillan wasted no time in knocking down Martinez with a right hook in the first round. Martinez tried to find answers but Santillan was too strong, too quick and too smart for any tricks. Two knockdowns in round four began the end for Martinez. Referee David Denkin stopped the one-sided round at 1:16 of round four to give Santillan another knockout win.
Joaquin Chavez (6-9-2, 2 Kos) continues to improve and out-fought Chula Vista’s Anthjony Arellano (6-2-1, 2 Kos) after six rounds in a lightweight contest. Chavez, who fights out of the famous Commerce Boxing club, showed again that he has the tools to make people forget his record with a solid victory over a good fighter. Chavez’s punches were crisper and harder in convincing the judges he was the winner by majority decision.
Smiling Neeco Macias (1-0) won his pro debut by unanimous decision over Riverside’s Francisco Ramirez (0-1) after four rounds of a welterweight bout. Tehachipi’s Macias was non-stop in his attack and Ramirez tried to match him, but couldn’t. It was pure guts that kept Ramirez on his feet. His legs were gone midway through the first round. Macias never stopped smiling from the climb into the ring until he departed.
Colombia’s Cesar Villarraga (1-0) won his pro debut by knockout against fellow rookie Sopaun Rin (0-1) of Chino at nine seconds of round four in a junior lightweight match. Villarraga is a Colombian Olympian recently signed by Thompson Promotions. The lanky fighter was sent to the canvas in the opening round but rallied to dominate the fight before the knockout.
Watsonville’s Jonathan Garcia (12-0, 10 Kos) blasted Puerto Rico’s Chris Rivera (5-14-1, 4 Kos) with a counter right in 37 seconds of round two. From the opening bell it was evident that the taller Garcia could also hammer with that right.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV