Hernandez fought four former world champions in a row - DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley, Mike Anchondo, Andre Berto and Luis Collazo -- between February 2010 and October 2011. "El Riel" went 3-1, winning the final fight of the four-bagger with an exciting 10-round unanimous decision over southpaw Luis Collazo on Oct. 15, 2011.
The brother-in-law of current WBC featherweight kingpin Daniel "Ponce" De Leon, Hernandez, 33, lost his most recent outing to WBC No. 1 contender Erislandy Lara on a 10-round decision on June 20, 2012. The scores in a rough fight were 95-94, 98-91 and 99-90.
"I’m not much of a talker outside of the ring, I’d rather just let my fight inside do the talking for me,’’ said Hernandez, a boxer-puncher who may come out ultra-aggressive against the less-experienced Andrade.
Serrano, a 5-foot-8, 25-year-old, will be fighting for the first time since hooking up with trainer Barry Hunter, who also handles Lamont and Anthony Peterson. It is his first start since a devastating fifth-round knockout loss to Karim Mayfield in a pick ’em bout on May 18, 2012, that ended with chaos in Serrano’s corner. World-ranked going in, he’d won all 18 of his fights since going pro in October 2007.
"I’ve been with Barry since about July,’’ said Serrano, an accomplished amateur and ambidextrous boxer-puncher who likes to work the body. "After I fought Mayfield, I took some time off and then I got with Barry. I train at his gym and spar with the Petersons. It’s definitely stepped up my level of training. I’ve worked hard and feel it’s made me a stronger fighter.
"I haven’t seen any of Taylor’s fights, but I remember him from the amateur days. The guys in the gym know him from the amateurs and they’re helping me prepare. I’m looking forward to starting the year off right. I learned from my mistakes. I want to accomplish my goal, and become champion of the world."
Looking back at the Mayfield defeat, Serrano said, "I was surprised how easy it was for me to hit him. He’s strong. He fought a good fight. He caught me with a good shot. I’ll be back."
Taylor hails from a family of fighters. He was a top amateur before turning pro in March 2009. After opening with 14 consecutive victories, the 5-foot-7½-inch, 22-year-old boxer-puncher came up on the wrong end of a split eight-round decision to Prenice Brewer on Nov. 10, 2011. He regained his winning ways 11 months later when, in his lone bout since losing, won a six-round majority decision over George Dosa on Oct. 12, 2012. Taylor triumphed by the scores of 60-54, 58-56 and 57-57.
"I’ve been getting ready for this fight in Baltimore since Dec. 1,’’ he said. "I’ve worked hard in the gym and I’m ready to show what I’ve got. I’ve got a lot of styles. I can box or bang, but basically I usually box. It depends on the other fighter.
"I’m familiar with Serrano. I know him from the amateurs. He was in my region, so we fought in the same tournaments but he was a little older than me. He’s a good fighter, a good boxer. I give him credit. But absolutely, I’m going to win the fight. I’m just going to use my jab and pressure, and that’s what is going to win me the fight."
January 22, 2013