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Provodnikov-Herrera rematch in discussions

Mauricio Herrera could go up in weight to face welterweight Frankie Gomez on May 7. John Locher/AP Photo

In 2011, Mauricio Herrera won a close 12-round decision on ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights” against then-undefeated Ruslan Provodnikov in a fight many felt the “Siberian Rocky” deserved the nod in.

Since they met, both have gone on to bigger fights. Provodnikov won and lost a world title and has been in several major fights, including his decision loss to Timothy Bradley Jr. in a welterweight title bout that was the 2013 fight of the year. Herrera went on to lose a war with Mike Alvarado in 2012 and a highly controversial decision to then-champion Danny Garcia in 2014.

Now, Herrera and Provodnikov could be headed to a rematch.

Banner Promotions CEO Artie Pelullo, Provodnikov’s promoter, said he approached Golden Boy recently about doing a rematch between Provodnikov and Lucas Matthysse, who outpointed him in April in a fight-of-the-year candidate. Pelullo said he was rebuffed for that fight so they began talking about a Provodnikov-Herrera rematch.

“I talked to [Golden Boy vice president] Eric Gomez about doing the fight and we’ve agreed to do it, but we are waiting for [HBO Sport executive vice president] Peter Nelson to get back to us about the fight and if we can get a date for it,” Pelullo said.

Pelullo said if HBO agrees to do the fight, they’d like to put it in March or April.

“We’ve been trying to get somebody to fight Ruslan and that is not easy,” Pelullo said. “Golden Boy said Herrera will take the fight and Peter said he liked the fight, but we don’t have a 100 percent commitment yet from HBO. Hopefully, we’ll get it done. Ruslan will fight anybody. I thought Ruslan won the [2011] fight and got a bad decision, but that was his first loss and this would be a chance for him to avenge that.”

Last December, Herrera was the victim of a controversial decision loss to interim titlist Jose Benavidez Jr. on HBO. It was a fight in which virtually everybody at ringside had Herrera winning easily. Herrera (22-5, 7 KOs), 35, of Riverside, California, was limited to only one fight this year, a fifth-round technical decision against Hank Lundy in a fight that ended prematurely because Herrera suffered a bad cut over his eye in the fifth round and was not able to continue.

Provodnikov (25-4,18 KOs), 31, of Russia, rebounded from the loss to Matthysse with a fourth-round knockout victory against then-undefeated but untested Jesus Rodriguez on Nov. 7 in Monte Carlo.