New Trainer Confident In Mike Jones Return This Saturday

Las Vegas, NV—Former world-title challenger Mike Jones wrapped up his preparations yesterday at the Top Rank Gym here for Saturday’s 10-round comeback fight against Jaime Herrera, of Franklin Park, IL, at Bally’s Atlantic City.

It has been more than two years since Jones last fought. He was stopped in the 11th round of his IBF world welterweight title fight with Randall Bailey, of Miami, FL, at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. That was June 9, 2012.

Since then, Jones, 31, moved from Philadelphia, PA, to Las Vegas, was idle for two years while working out daily in Las Vegas gyms, and now is trained by Ismael Salas and Miguel Diaz.

“Boxing is a mental game just as much as a physical one,” said Salas, pictured above with Jones, Diaz and Richie Sandoval. “When we first worked with Mike for this fight, we talked for a long time and worked on renewing his fighting spirit. He is a great fighter and he needs to think that when he walks into the ring he will be a powerful force.

“Mike is very strong and hits hard. He is in top condition; just look at him. After two years off, you will see what hard work and mental toughness did for Mike. He’s ready to fight.”

Salas has worked with 10 world champions, the most recent being Jessie Vargas, of Las Vegas, the current WBA junior welterweight champion.

Jones, who has won 26 of 27 pro fights, 19 by knockout, makes his fourth appearance at Bally’s, where he has defeated Lenin Arroyo, Raul Pinzon and Henry Bruseles.

Herrera, 25, is 11-2-1, 6 K0s. He comes into Saturday’s fight off the biggest win of his career, a fifth-round knockout over previously unbeaten Michael Finney, of Pahrump, NV, last March 29 in Las Vegas. Herrera’s management has been asking for this fight ever since word got out in May that Jones was fighting again.

The scheduled eight-round middleweight semifinal features Thomas LaManna, of Millville, NJ, against Jamaal Davis, of Philadelphia, in a prospect- vs.-veteran crossroads match. LaManna is 14-0, 7 K0s; Davis 14-11-1, 6 K0s.

Ismael Garcia, of Vineland, NJ, and Gilbert Alex Sanchez, of Camden, NJ, collide over six rounds to determine the best junior middleweight prospect in South Jersey. Garcia is 6-0, 3 K0s; Sanchez 4-4-1, 2 K0s.

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