The Last Chance Saloon at Fantasy Springs Casino
The latest edition of “Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN” (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) takes place tonight from the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, and it features a pair of well-traveled and well-worn veterans in Mauricio Herrera and Jesus Soto Karass, two honest veterans of the sport near the ends of their careers, who are both badly in need of a victory.
Soto Karass, 28-11-4 (18), is 0-3-1 in his last four fights and, in 2016, he had a draw and was stopped in eight in a pair of fights versus Yoshihiro Kamegai. After the rematch against Kamegai, last September, the Mexican brawler announced his retirement from the sport. Herrera, 23-7 (7), suffered defeats at the hands of Frankie Gomez and Pablo Cesar Cano last year before bouncing back last March by outpointing Hector Velazquez in eight.
Both boxers showed noticeable wear-and-tear in recent fights. In many respects, it made sense to match the two to see who will move on with his career. It has the feel of an elimination bout.
“Absolutely, I think it is. Both of them know it; the fans know it. But, at the same time, it’s a fight that both got very much up for,” said Golden Boy Promotions’ matchmaker Robert Diaz. “I’ve seen both of them in camp doing things they’ve never done and both of them are saying they feel better than ever. I’m actually very, very excited for the fight. It’s one of the those fights – and I read it somewhere – where I can’t wait till it happens and yet, at the same time, I can because it’s going to be a sweet-and-sour moment for me, personally, because it’s going to be a helluva fight.
“I’m going to enjoy it as a fan, be happy for the winner but also be sad for the loser because they’re both genuinely similar guys: They’ll fight whoever. They give 100 percent to the fans and they don’t dodge nobody.”
Both boxers are under the Golden Boy banner and of advanced age (37 for Herrera and 34 for Soto Karass) with plenty of miles on the odometer. This fight has the feel of a demolition derby, featuring two trusty old Honda Accords, each having 250,000 miles on them.
In many ways, this fight made perfect sense and was relatively easy to consummate.
Diaz explained, “When Soto Karass said, ‘I want to come back; I want to do one more fight. I want to do one more year. I want to give it my all before I retire,’ I said, ‘OK.’ I was actually fine when he made the decision to retire but he said he wanted to give it another run.”
It was at that stage when Soto Karass’ manager, Sergio Diaz, reached out to the matchmaker and they went over a few options at 154 but the timing never quite worked out for Soto Karass to face Patrick Teixeira or Pablo Cesar Cano (at 147) before the idea was hatched to face Herrera, who was coming off his win over Velazquez. “This fight was very easy to make and that’s why, as a matchmaker, you’ve got to love guys like this. There’s no ‘Oh no; he’s too tall. Oh no; he’s too big’ – and we get it all the time. But, with these guys, it’s nothing like that,” Diaz stated.
You could say the loser leaves town but Diaz believes the winner may also have to walk off into the sunset.
“The guy who doesn’t win should retire or absolutely consider it,” opined Diaz, who adds, “And the guy who wins, if I see something I don’t like, yes, I would try to get him the most money on the next fight but I would recommend considering if there should be a next fight. It depends on how the fight pans out.”
Robert Garcia, the brother and co-trainer of Mikey Garcia, hasn’t been shy about stating his displeasure over certain aspects of how last weekend’s promotion at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, was run. Mikey was the headliner against Adrien Broner on Showtime.
“Not that it really affected us at all. It doesn’t affect Mikey; he’s very patient, very calm. but it’s little things that a champion – that at least myself and my dad – we’re not pleased with, little things like credentials, the time we were supposed to be picked up at the arena, stuff like that,” he told UCNLive.com earlier this week. “It’s not big deals; it’s just little things that I just don’t think are right. Like walking out first and being introduced first.
“Those kind of things, like I said, it doesn’t bother Mikey at all. Mikey doesn’t get bothered by those things but we do see them and those things need to be corrected.”
Garcia, like Broner, is under the Premier Boxing Champions/Al Haymon umbrella but it was clear that, despite being the undefeated fighter, Garcia was the decided B-side on the event promoted by DiBella Entertainment.
Was the deck stacked versus Garcia?
“I don’t think it was set up for Broner to win, no,” stated Garcia. “I really don’t think so. I think they know Mikey could be the next big American-Mexican star. That’s what everybody thinks. I think it’s more about everybody involved having 10 years working with Broner. That’s their boy. So they want to please him more than doing the right thing They wanted to please Broner and keep him happy. That’s what I think it is. I don’t think it’s because they wanted Broner to win.
“They know the business. (Broner)’s lost twice. He gets in trouble. He’s always causing problems. He’s not the perfect role model. So it’s not that they wanted Broner to win; it was more about the relationship that they’ve had with Broner for many years and just wanted to keep him happy.”
Diaz notes that prospects Joet Gonzalez and Emilio Sanchez will be on the Miguel Cotto-Yoshihiro Kamegai undercard at the StubHub Center on August 26…And on September 23 on the Jorge Linares-Luke Campbell show, Azat Hovhannisyan and Romero Duno have been slotted for the undercard…Top Rank CEO Bob Arum says Manny Pacquiao has decided to enforce the rematch clause against Jeff Horn and he expects the bout to happen in November…Geez, everyone is piling on LeBron James this summer…So when will N’kosi Perry be named the starting QB by Mark Richt?…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.