Mauricio Herrera Steals The
On ESPN2 Friday Night Fight Opener
By Robert Jones
Photos: William Trillo
Well, that didn’t take
long. On the 13th season opener of ESPN 2’s “Friday
Night Fights,” the first major boxing broadcast of the
year, we have a questionable decision. In the main event
of the evening, Mauricio Herrera won a unanimous
decision over highly regarded prospect Ruslan
Provodnikov, in addition to picking up the WBC
Continental Americas and IBF North American Junior
Welterweight title bouts.
From the opening bell it appeared that Provodnikov may
make an easy night of it, as he came out highly
aggressive and effective. Herrera threw the occasional
combination, but Provodnikov, fighting in the
conventional stance, won the round with a series of
looping right hands and left hooks.
By the end of the second round Herrera already had
serious swelling under his right eye caused by the
accurate left hooks of Provodnikov. However, as
Herrera’s eye was swelling, Provodnikov seemed to
already be gasping for breath, as he fought with his
mouth open the remainder of the fight. It appeared to
ring side observers that his mouth guard may have been
too big, but for the most part it didn’t seem to slow
him down too much.
Provodnikov landed the first big punch of the night, a
big left hook with Herrera along the ropes. From there
the fighters made a complete circle of the ring, and
when they returned to the same spot Provodnikov had just
landed his hook, he landed another one, but this one was
more of a grazing shot. Through three rounds it seemed
Provodnikov was comfortably in control.
In round four Herrera
had by far his most successful round. He met Provodnikov
in the center of the ring, and landed a combination to
the Russian’s head, much to the delight of the
pro-Herrera crowd. It looked like Provodnikov may have
been looking for an opening that never came, or taking a
If Provodnikov was having an issue with his mouthpiece
in earlier rounds, he didn’t in round five, as he didn’t
wear it the entire round. Herrera didn’t mind, as most
of his punches were aimed at his opponent’s unprotected
teeth. Provodnikov also didn’t seem to notice, focusing
on the task at hand. The round was close, but once again
it was in Herrera’s favor, as he was a little bit more
active than his opponent.
Herrera continued to look good in rounds six and seven,
throwing combinations. Provodnikov was also throwing
punches, making the swelling around Herrera’s eye even
worse, but the more accurate fighter was Herrera.
From here the fight changed back in favor of Herrera,
and on my scorecard, he won the final five rounds.
Provodnikov continued to stalk his opponent, as he did
the majority of the fight, but throughout the remainder
of the fight he was much more effective. Herrera had his
moments, making a few of the rounds close, but it
appeared he was having an issue throughout the last few
rounds of the fight, as his eye was now completely shut
from the damage.
Half-blind, and now
bleeding from the bruise, Herrera continued to fight
valiantly the last two rounds of the fight. However, his
combinations were too few and far between for the
effective aggression of Provodnikov. The fighters fought
to the final bell, much to the delight of the crowd.
Following the end of the fight, both fighters were sent
to the hospital.
Pound4Pound.com scored the fight 116-112 for Provodnikov.
Two of the three judges agreed with our score, and the
final score was 115-113, in favor of Herrera, earning
him a surprise victory in the eyes of many ringside
observers. A quick survey of a handful of media members
showed they agreed with our score, giving Herrera four
rounds at most. Still, others thought Provodnikov was
aggressive but not effective, and gave rounds to
Herrera. Regardless, most of this Las Vegas crowd would
agree they would love to see a rematch.
With the victory Herrera improves his record to 16-1 (7
KO’s) while Provodnikov suffers his first professional
defeat, dropping to 17-0 (11 KO’s).
Andadre Stays On Track
In the co-feature of the
evening, 2008 Olympian Demetrius Andrade won a wide
unanimous decision over Mauricio Herrera’s brother,
Alberto. Alberto was game, fighting every second of
every round, but Andrade was too big and fast for his
smaller opponent. This bout took place at 152 pounds,
and Herrera normally fights at 140. Andrade couldn’t
close the show with a knockout, but did the next best
thing by nearly earning a shutout on the judges’
scorecards, winning 80-72, 80-72, and 79-73.
Cruiserweight Henry Namauu decisions Manuel Otero 0ver 6
59-55 | 58-56 | 58-56
Super featherweight Lonnie Smith TKO’s Jose Gomez in 1
Time: 2:40 | referee: Kenny Bayless
Count waived, Gomez down twice
Light welterweight Oscar Andrade decisions Deth'Marcus
Hall over 4
40-36 | 40-36 | 40-36
Super bantamweight Richard Contreras TKO's Juan Tepoz in
Time: 0:43 | referee: Joe Cortez
Super featherweight Jesus Gutierez decisions Frankie
Martinez over 4
40-35 | 40-35 | 40-36