The rematch between unified WBA/IBO Jr. Middleweight world champion Erislandy Lara and top contender Vanes Martirosyan on May 21st was one that was quite frankly deserving of a sequel. The first encounter between the two after all back in November 2012 ended in “Inconclusive” fashion as the close and competitive contest was halted when Martirosyan suffered a cut over his left eye as a result of an accidental clash of heads, which caused the fight to be stopped resulting in a nine round technical draw.
Lara, now a unified Jr. Middleweight world champion after his interim/regular championship status in the WBA’s Jr. Middleweight ratings was upgraded to world champion following the retirement last year of Floyd Mayweather has openly sought a lucrative fight against Saul Alvarez, a man who earned an extremely close twelve round split decision against him in July 2014. Martirosyan meanwhile had suffered two losses to Demetrius Andrade and Jermell Charlo in the years since his first encounter with Lara and was eager to settle the score from the somewhat controversial outcome in their first fight.
Much as was the case in the first encounter, the rematch featured many “Swing Rounds” where both fighters had periods of effectiveness in a fight that was not easy to score. Lara was the considerably more active of the two fighters landing 162 of 424 total punches to Martirosyan’s 94 of 474. Despite statistics that would appear to give the impression of a one-sided fight, this fight appeared to be much closer as Martirosyan was able to do some effective work to the champion’s body throughout and I felt that it gave him a slight edge in some extremely close rounds even though Lara was extremely solid defensively.
Although there was not much action in what can ultimately be described as a tactical Boxing match, it was still a competitive fight and was one that some might argue impacted by a point deduction against Martirosyan in the eleventh round as a result of what was ruled a low blow. This resulted in the fight being won by a unanimous decision by Lara with scores of 116-111 on two scorecards, and 115-112 on the third. One may feel that the point deduction against Martirosyan may have ultimately cost him the fight in the eyes of some.
In the eyes of this observer, I felt despite the appearance of the final statistics, Martirosyan did enough to win by a single point 114-113. As tends to be the case in fights where there are many “Swing Rounds” where both fighters are able to be effective in spurts, this was not an easy fight to score. Although Lara was clearly the more active of the two, I felt Martirosyan’s attack to Lara’s body was effective and gave him the benefit of the doubt on my scorecard even though I can certainly see the argument of those who felt that Lara won this fight convincingly. It was simply one of those fights that round by round was competitive and at times ugly due to fouls over the course of the fight.
This was simply a case of a champion doing what he had to do in order to get the victory and retain his unified world championship. The question coming out of this fight is what’s next for Erislandy Lara?
Although this fight was competitive and close round by round in the eyes of this observer, I do not believe that there will be a third encounter between Lara and Martirosyan in the near future. It seems more likely in my eyes that Lara, who is a difficult opponent for anyone due to his solid defense, combination punching, and elusiveness will try to secure a lucrative fight perhaps against the winner of a potential fight between unified Middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin and former two-division world champion Saul Alvarez.
As most Boxing fans know Alvarez, the recent holder of the WBC world championship in the Middleweight division recently chose to vacate his world title to Golovkin, the unified WBA/IBO champion, who also held interim championship status in the WBC’s Middleweight ratings saying that he would not be forced into a fight by ” artificial deadlines” after the WBC stated that they would mandate Alvarez to fight Golovkin, who gained interim championship status in their ratings per his victory over previous WBC number one contender Marco Antonio Rubio in October 2014. Alvarez however, stated that he would still negotiate with Golovkin for a potential fight.
Although the situation regarding Alvarez and his decision to relinquish the WBC world championship in the Middleweight division is a subject that has been one of much criticism and even ridicule by some Boxing fans and experts alike, if the ongoing negotiation between Alvarez and Golovkin does not result in a fight being signed, it could well have a benefit for a fighter in Erislandy Lara’s position of seeking a lucrative fight and potentially being willing to step in to fight either Alvarez or Golovkin should a fight between the two not materialize.
Frankly, Erislandy Lara is as skilled a fighter as they come and deserves an opportunity against a star of the sport, in a similar fashion as Gennady Golovkin has also been seeking an opportunity against a fighter considered to be a star. Whether or not that could and will result in a potential Golovkin-Lara encounter remains to be seen. The inability of a would be “Super Fight” between Golovkin and Alvarez being signed however, may very well be the perfect opportunity for Lara to use that inability to his advantage if Golovkin and Alvarez cannot come to terms. We will have to wait and see.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
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