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Riverside's Mauricio Herrera has title shot at Danny Garcia

Riverside's Mauricio Herrera has title shot at Danny Garcia
Danny Garcia spars during a workout on Feb. 26in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

For unbeaten World Boxing Council junior-welterweight champion Danny Garcia, Saturday night is a showcase for the unbeaten rising star from Philadelphia, a homecoming to his family's roots in Puerto Rico.

And Riverside's Mauricio Herrera is the opponent.

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But the 33-year-old Herrera has the shot of a lifetime, and given his competitiveness in building a 20-3 record that includes a 2011 victory by decision over Ruslan Provodnikov and a 2012 toe-to-toe loss by decision to then-unbeaten Mike Alvarado, there's precedent to expect a heartfelt performance.

Garcia (27-0, 16 KOs) fights Herrera at the Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, as part of a Showtime tripleheader card that begins at 7 p.m. Pacific and includes a junior-lightweight bout between former featherweight champions Daniel Ponce de Leon and Juan Manuel Lopez and unbeaten heavyweight Deontay Wilder fighting Malik Scott.

Herrera said the "biggest, most important fight of my career" comes with the knowledge that it appears to be staged as Garcia's night on the heels of his impressive victory over Lucas Matthysse in September.

"I've never been in a boring fight, and I don't think this is all one-sided," Herrera said. "I'm going in to win."

Garcia's rich amateur experience has impressed, the way he responded to the better speed of Amir Khan by finding his soft chin, and the way he out-toughed thunder-punching Matthysse.

"Danny just keeps on coming. He's not the fastest guy, but he's good in all the areas and keeps on working," Herrera said. "He keeps doing his thing, keeps coming.

"I can give him a different look. He's never fought anyone as awkward as me, someone who jabs as much as me. I can frustrate Danny, tie him up, roughhouse. I'm going to change things up on him."

Herrera trains in Riverside, and fought at the Doubletree Hotel in Ontario and promoter Ken Thompson's Corona lumber yard to earn this shot.

This week he was subjected to some criticism by Garcia's loudmouth father/trainer, Angel.

"He got brave with me, saying Danny was going to hurt me bad, beat me down," Herrera said. "I was waiting for it, so I told him he made a big mistake and he didn't know who he was messing with. He went out of the comfort zone by talking to me. Usually, I'm a humble guy. In the ring, if Danny makes a mistake … he's never been to Riverside.

"I'm going to show him what it's all about.

"Championship fight, you give it all you got, take more risks. This is something I've been working all my life for."

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Twitter: @latimespugmire

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