Q&A: Mauricio Herrera
Mauricio Herrera looks to put a frustrating 2014 behind him when he faces Hank Lundy on Saturday at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. The scheduled 12-round junior welterweight bout will be televised on HBO Latino (11:00 p.m. ET/PT).
Last year “El Maestro” went 1-2 in three bouts, however, unlike most fighters in that situation his reputation has grown. Herrera refers to himself as “The People’s Champion” because in most viewers’ eyes he did enough to beat Danny Garcia last March in a RING, WBC and WBA junior welterweight scrap.
The 35-year-old contender rebounded to unseat WBA interim titlist Johan Perez on the Canelo Alvarez-Erislandy Lara card last summer only to again lose controversially when he took on Jose Benavidez Jr. (for the WBA’s “regular” title) in December.
Despite the losses, the Riverside, California native remains upbeat, putting a positive spin on those experiences and intends to put himself in the shop window against Lundy.
“I’m more confident now, I gained a lot of experience last year,” Herrera told RingTV.com. “Most of my career I’ve been thrown in there with lions and had to learn the hard way. Nobody was taking care of me at the beginning of my career so I took it the hard way and learned a lot.
“I’m going to be real comfortable and confident when I go in there with Lundy. I don’t care what he comes up with or what he brings I’m gonna come with everything and he better be ready for that.”
Currently Herrera (21-5, 7 knockouts) is ranked by THE RING (No. 8), WBA (No. 6) and WBO (No. 3). Victory over the WBC’s No. 10-rated Lundy for the vacant NABF 140-pound strap would see him improve his standing.
As well as Herrera-Lundy, the Golden Boy Promotions event will also feature Michael Perez vs. late sub Luis Sanchez at lightweight for the vacant NABO belt. A slew of prospects fill out the card including well thought of 2012 U.S Olympian Joseph Diaz Jr., unbeaten Irish super middleweight Jason Quigley and up-and-coming junior lightweight Christian Gonzalez.
RingTV.com – What are your thoughts on facing Hank Lundy?
Mauricio Herrera – You know I’m really excited about that fight. I always want to fight a tough opponent and the most competitive fights out there and when they mentioned Hank Lundy I knew who he was and that he’s been in some great fights. He’s been up the hard way like me and I thought it was a real match. I think we’re both similar in background in our careers and in our styles so I’m real excited about fighting Hank Lundy.
RTV – What does Lundy bring to this fight?
MH – Lundy is fast. He switches stances, he can be tricky at times. He stays with you and he’ll make a fight out of it so he’s a tough guy. He has a lot of heart. He’s a little crafty in the ring as well.
I think Lundy, although he is tough, mentally he breaks down and I can frustrate the guy and get in his head in the fight. My style frustrates most fighters.
RTV – This is a crossroads fight for both of you, neither can afford to lose. Would that be fair to say?
MH – Yes, that’s why this fight means a lot. It’s a very important fight.
RTV – You went 1-2 last year. For most fighters that wouldn’t have been a good year. However, both losses where highly controversial. Many believed you beat Danny Garcia and also Jose Benavidez Jr.
MH – It was an exciting year and it was let down (losing to Garcia) and then I got excited again with the second fight when I won the interim title and then I was going good and then I fought Benavidez, another prospect, undefeated. And they (the judges) let me down again. I picked myself right up. I know what I can do, I know what I bring to the table, I know most of the fighters in my weight class and I know I’m the most dangerous one and I know where I stand. The people, the true boxing fans can see what goes on in those fights. I carry on for them. That motivates me to keep going.
RTV – Having been in those big fights is it possible you may struggle to get up for this fight
MH – Oh no, I’m up for this fight. Like I said, the fans push me to make me believe I’m world champion and should hold those titles, not Danny. Since then I’ve beat Benavidez and feel like I’m world champion, the peoples’ world champion. That’s motivation itself. I’m fighting and going in there like I’m world champion, defending my titles for the third time. That’s on my mind. If you notice I don’t have an easy fight, I’ve never been hurt, never been knocked down. I want to continue giving great fights.
RTV – What are your thoughts on the Garcia fight now looking back?
MH – Going into that fight I didn’t want any excuses. I was going in confident, I knew who Danny was. I almost got to fight him before he was world champion. It was just another guy that I didn’t have chance to fight earlier on [in our careers]. He got the belts against Erik Morales, he was having the right fights. Going into the fight in Puerto Rico, I knew everything was on his side. I didn’t care about any of that, I knew what I had, what I could bring to the table.
I didn’t want him to make any excuses when I beat him like he didn’t train, of course they said he trained well and he’s not taking me lightly, according to his dad. The way everything turned out there was no way I was going to win over there because of politics. I gave it all I had and out-boxed him and out-smarted him on the inside and the outside.
I felt very confident and comfortable with what I did and you know even after the fight Danny never fought at that weight, he kind of fell off and I kind of lifted up and that’s what kept me going to this point. That’s where we go back to Lundy, I’m up for this fight for sure.
RTV – How about the Benavidez fight?
MH – I knew who Benavidez was before I got offered that fight. I knew he was a tough guy, hungry guy. They offered it to me and I was excited, I don’t turn down anyone. As long as it’s a name, good record, I’m taking the fight. I liked his style, his length, his jab he has everything in a young fighter that everybody wants to see. So I knew it was going to be a good challenge. Going in there I wasn’t thinking about them robbing me. I was confident, I made him go back and cover up and that’s what Benavidez did all night. I feel I pulled out the win. It wasn’t until I heard the scorecards I got a weird feeling and felt it was gonna happen again and when I heard his name I was in shock, I couldn’t believe it. But I’m so mentally strong, I don’t let any of that stuff get to me. I stay positive and the fans helped me out.
RTV – How have you spent your time since your last fight?
MH – I took a break, I got a lot of love from the fans. I started thinking about my career. It would have been a whole different life, financially [had I got those decisions]. I don’t like to dwell on that much. I got lifted up by my family. Anyone else who isn’t strong mentally could easily let themselves down. I’ve got to stay positive and not complain. I came back and started training and looking to make a new start.
RTV – How has camp been for this fight?
MH – Exhausting. I’ve been pushing hard and it’s been like a 10-week camp. But we are ready as can be and ‘Ready to Rumble!’
RTV – The junior welterweight division is full of talent. What are your thoughts on the division? MH – Yes it is, more and more competitive. Many have the tools to become world champion. For that reason, this division is the most dangerous.
RTV – Do you have a target? MH – Everybody is a target, no one is safe. At junior welterweight, I have my eye on [Lucas] Matthysse or [Lamont] Peterson, they are well known tough fighters and I would love my chance at them.
RTV – Tell us about your life away from boxing?
MH – I spend my time with family and friends. I love to hang out with my wife and friends. We love barbequing at our house, we do that almost every other weekend. I just bought a jeep, I like that new ride, I’m happy about that. I love to cut hair, maybe I’ll open a barber shop soon. I have a happy life, I have no reason to complain.
RTV – In closing do you have a message for Lundy?
MH – Hank Lundy, he just better be ready. This is no joke, there is no games in that ring. He can say whatever he wants to say, I don’t care what they call him, the ‘hammer,’ whatever. At the end of the day it’s going to get real when that bell rings. My message to him is be ready for some blood.