Hernandez Fighting in Las Vegas Friday Night

Updated: May 21, 2015
angel hernandez

Taking a fight on short notice is never an easy thing to do nor is it often advised. But when you are trying to make your way up in the rankings and make a living in the sport of boxing, taking a fight on short notice is pretty much an obligation when you are not part of the 1% elite fighting population of the sport who is catered and looked out for.

McAllen’s own Angel Hernandez (9-4, 5 KO’s) finds himself in exactly this predicament this week as he will once again be stepping through the ropes and into the squared circle in search of his tenth victory as a professional. Not a stranger to the underdog role, Hernandez will be facing undefeated hometown fighter Jesus Gutierrez (13-0, 4 KO’s) on the undercard of “Knockout Night at the D”, a card being promoted by Roy Jones Jr.’s Square Ring Promotions.

“I feel pretty confident because I’ve been training, I’ve been at the gym. I was actually close to my weight when they called me,” said Hernandez when questioned about his thoughts on the late notice fight. “I was weighing-in at 138, this fight is going to be at 135. So the weight is not going to be an issue. I was in shape. I’ve been sparring. I know I can do the 8, which is what this fight is scheduled for.”

Hernandez has gone 8 and 10-rounds before. Both times the fight went the distance. Both bouts came in losing efforts to undefeated fighters. In fact, in Hernandez’s last four bouts he has a record of 1-3. Yet in all fairness, he has taken some major steps up in opposition during those three losses, having gone the distance with undefeated fighters Ivan Najera (16-0, 8 KO’s), Casey Ramos (19-0, 5 KO’s), and Robert Easter (13-0, 10 KO’s). Not very many fighters would take those three fights in a four-fight span. In fact, Najera is scheduled to rumble with Puerto Rican Felix Verdejo next month for a championship belt.

“It’s nothing new to me. I’ve fought on big cards before. I fought three undefeated fighters already. It’s just another opportunity for me,” said Hernandez about facing the undefeated Gutierrez. “I took a week off after my last fight on March 21st. I got right back to training right after that. I don’t feel like I’m out of shape. I’ve been training and running 6 miles every day. I’m in pretty good shape.

“I’m pretty confident. I had a feeling I would be fighting at the end of May. And sure enough they offered me a fight. I get offered fights all the time. I just wanted to make sure I’d be in shape when they called me,” explained Hernandez when asked if he feels physically prepared for this bout.

Yet losing three out of your last four fights can have a negative effect on the psyche. When asked if this was the case, Hernandez saw each and every one of those losses as learning experiences.

“When I fought Najera I was not in shape. I took that fight on short notice. What I took from that fight was to stay in shape year round which is what I’ve been doing,” explained Hernandez. “With Casey Ramos, I clearly beat him the last two rounds. If I would’ve started earlier… One more round and I would have had a draw against him. From that I learned to start early. With Robert Easter, he beat me. He beat me fair and square. I give him credit. From that fight I learned I can go 10-rounds when I’m in shape. I can hang in there with these tough guys. And if I train a little bit harder I know that I can beat them. Hopefully it can be different this time around.”

Aside from the burden of having to fight an undefeated fighter in his hometown, Hernandez is also at the disadvantage of not knowing very much about his opponent, which in turn leaves him in the dark as to what strategy will go into the fight with.

“I really don’t know much about him. I couldn’t find any videos of him online. From what I have heard this guy likes to come forward. He likes to fight,” said Hernandez about his fight expectations. “It’s pretty much my style and it works better for me. If that’s true and that’s the case then fans can expect an exciting fight on Friday night. Because I come to fight. I come forward. I throw punches. Big punches.”

And if the issues mentioned above are not enough, Hernandez also has to keep in mind the judges and the favoritism that is prevalent in the sport of boxing for hometown fighters. “I know that it’s going to be very difficult to come out with the decision over here in Las Vegas. I know I’m going to have to try and knock this guy out or drop him at least a couple of times. Or dominate the fight, every single round,” voiced Hernandez, “because it’s going to be better than getting a decision in this guy’s hometown. So that’s the plan going into this fight. We’re going to have to stop this guy.”

Hernandez vs. Gutierrez is a lightweight bout scheduled for 8 rounds or less. The card is headlined by Richard Commey vs. “Baja” Mamadjonov going at it for the IBF Intercontinental lightweight title and co-headlined by Mike Lee. CBS Sports Network will televise the main portions of the card with Hernandez vs. Gutierrez possibly being a swing bout.

Javier Cantu may be reached at javier.cantu.1984@gmail.com.

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