Wednesday, November 30, 2022  |


Mauricio Herrera goes from angry to excited over facing Frankie Gomez

Photo: Chris Farina

Photo: Chris Farina

Mauricio Herrera’s initial response to possibly facing Frankie Gomez was one of disappointment and anger.

Herrera, 35, viewed a fight with Gomez, an undefeated prospect, as a step backward after he had faced the likes of Danny Garcia, Ruslan Provodnikov and Hank Lundy. When Gomez was first floated to him as an option for his next fight, Herrera felt slighted. “Hey, do I not deserve a more established name on the big stage?” Herrera wondered aloud on a conference call on Tuesday. “I was kind of angry about that.”

Anger gave way to excitement, however, when he was asked to face Lucas Matthysse instead on the HBO PPV undercard of Canelo Alvarez’s RING and WBC middleweight championship with Amir Khan on May 7. A collision with the immensely popular Matthysse seemed more appetizing.

But that reaction was also short-lived as Matthysse backed out of the fight because of lingering issues with his injured right eye, leaving Herrera (22-5, 7 knockouts) feeling unappreciated once again. For someone who’s been the victim of some questionable decisions in his career — his majority decision loss to Danny Garcia in 2014 being exhibit A — Herrera felt snake-bitten.

“I was disappointed because that’s my luck, the way my career has been going, up and down,” Herrera said. The emotional pendulum swung once more, however, after Gomez was suggested again as an opponent on the Canelo-Khan undercard. Herrera suddenly perked up and had a change of heart. After further reflection, the thought of facing the talented Gomez (20-0, 13 KOs) at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas suddenly didn’t seem so bad.

“When (Golden Boy) mentioned Frankie Gomez, I started to think about that — Frankie Gomez — he’s a tough guy and that lifted me up and I got real excited,” Herrera admits. “The real boxing fans know who he is and it’s not one of those cherry-picking fights. It’s a tough fight so I was back on a big stage so I was real excited and happy.”

Now, Herrera views the matchup with Gomez on the May 7 PPV undercard at an agreed-upon 146 pounds as a way to assert himself in the suddenly hot welterweight division. He referenced a rematch with Garcia, who holds the WBC title and a match with WBO champ Jessie Vargas as fights he would like now that he’s gone up in weight.

“I fought a couple of undefeated guys and they come to fight,” Herrera said. “They don’t want to lose that ‘O.’ So I know Frankie is going to come to fight with all the lights on him he’s going to want to perform his best. That brings the best out of me and I get that thrill when I’m fighting an undefeated guy and that pushes me to be at my very best.”