Monday, April 23, 2018  |


Trainer Ronnie Shields believes Erislandy Lara should be unified champion

Ronnie Shields (left) in camp with Erislandy Lara. Photo courtesy of Premier Boxing Champions

As the scores for Jarrett Hurd’s junior middleweight unification victory over Erislandy Lara were read out last weekend in Las Vegas, all I could think of was Larry Holmes dethroning then-WBC heavyweight titleholder Ken Norton in June 1978.

Like Holmes-Norton, this was a split decision where one point separated the fighters on all three scorecards. Hurd added Lara’s WBA 154-pound title to his IBF version with two scores of 114-113, while Lara was given an identical tally on the third card.

It was a much better fight than many had anticipated and, ultimately, the argument was settled by a knockdown in the final round. Hurd managed to nail Lara with a solid left hook in the closing seconds, and that two-point round was decisive in terms of the numbers. Team Lara, however, do not believe it was enough.

“It was a good fight, but I really thought we won,” said Lara’s trainer Ronnie Shields, who also coaches unbeaten middleweight star Jermall Charlo.

“One judge gave Hurd four of the first six rounds – crazy. There’s no way in the world that Lara lost four of the first six. I thought he won eight rounds in the fight and was comfortable going into the last rounds. The judges didn’t see it that way but (the powers at be) need to fix (this kind of scoring).”

This isn’t the first time that Lara has been on the wrong end of a tight verdict. In July 2014, the Cuban southpaw boxed brilliantly at times against Canelo Alvarez but, again, a 12-round split decision went against him.

“Every time we fight in Las Vegas, it’s the same thing,” said Shields, his frustration evident. “When (Lara) fought Canelo, they said he didn’t engage enough. This time I set him down, had him engage a whole lot more, and still they stole it.

“Lara is a much smaller guy than Hurd. In this fight, Hurd had height, reach, weight, everything over us. I couldn’t put Lara on the outside because it wouldn’t have been good for him. He had to be close and punch inside with Hurd.”

Shield was a top-class amateur and he also challenged twice for world titles as a professional. The affable Texas native has coached the likes of Evander Holyfield, Pernell Whitaker, Mike Tyson and the late Vernon Forrest. Put simply, he’s forgotten more about boxing than most people know.

Given how close Lara came to securing victory, would it be wise to pursue an immediate rematch with Hurd?

“Lara is 35 years old and I hate putting him in hard back-to-back fights like that,” said Shields. “I care so much about all the guys that I work with, so I don’t want a rematch right away. We’ll go after someone in the top five in the world, but I don’t know who that’s gonna be.”


Tom Gray is Associate Editor for THE RING. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing


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  • wrecksracer

    In a close fight, I go with the guy who didn’t get knocked down.

    • Mike M.

      Technically shouldn’t have been a close fight..what with all of Hurds advantages..height, reach, strength, power(maybe), weight, smallish ring, just goes to show just how good Lara really is. Shields has a legit reason to gripe, its happened to them 3 times..for the same reasons.

    • David T

      You do realise boxing is scored on a round by round basis?

      • wrecksracer

        “in a close fight” (in other words, it looks like they won the same amount of rounds).

  • BGCH

    Hahahahahahaha poor AmeriPops Cream, always getting robbed, this guys need to do less crying and more fighting, i remember how Marquez thought that he was getting robbed against Pacquiao, specially the third time and he wet out there and khtfo in the 4th fight, this rafters always act like the worlds owes them something.

    • ceylon mooney

      marquez got fucked by the judges that 3rd fight.

      • BGCH

        I believe so, anybody can make an argument about Pacquiao winning the first two fights but the third one no way in the morning, judges did a job on Marquez in that one, that’s for sure.

  • badhombrebigdo

    that knockdown late cost him the fight. Sure, there’s scorecard trickery that could see Lara win on said cards, but in the eyes of most, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back…

    Shields should be petitioning hard for that rematch so as to make sure that Hurd isn’t drawn away to what could be a more alluring fight stylistically and financially with Charlo.

  • Teddy Reynoso

    Lara should take heart that this also happened to his illustrious fellow Cuban Kid Gavilan who nevertheless went down in history as an all time great. Losing by very close decision in major fights is nothing to be ashamed of especially against worthy, more touted opponents.

  • ceylon mooney

    he may be right.

    in real time it looked like hurd landed on those combinations. i sure as shit saw that, and so did the rinside announcers, but when theyd slo mo on the replay between rounds hurd wasnt landing. the broadcast team even stopped mid sentence over the replays.

    most likely lara totally outlanded hurd, and youd have to score defense in his favor too in most rounds. i bet that the judges, like i was, were scoring missed and blocked punches.

  • David T

    Agree with Shields 100%. I had Lara winning a close fight.

    Vegas is beyond corrupt.

  • PrinceGian

    Hurd definately looked a lot bigger and heavier than Lara. Sort of reminded me of Jacobs and Golovkin. I think a rule should be introduced that if a fighter believes their opponent looks heavier on fight night they can demand a weight check. This is all becoming very commonplace now and needs to be addressed.

  • Cashtime

    I have to admit after watching this great fight at least three times that Ronnie has an “little argument”. This was a fight where you look at Hurd and your on the edge of your seat almost mimicking his all out pressure on Lara. But Lara landed clean and hard far more than Hurd, but it’s that pressure whether it lands or not (and it did land) that made the fight exciting because I was expecting Lara to move, move move. Not to mention Hurd is the type of fighter that even when he gets hit clean, you don’t notice it as much because he walks right through it.

    I’ll go on to say that even though Ronnie may be right it wasn’t a robbery by any stretch and Hurd in my opinion is the man at 154. Within a year he’s already fought far better competition than both the Charlo’s put together. Take that and “keep on running your mouth” Maryland is in the House!!!

    • D. Gambino

      Hurd/Lara definitely not a robbery. I would not have complained if Lara had got the nod instead of Hurd. It was a close fight and I feel the right man won.

      I’m with Shields though, I’m not sure I’d put Lara right back in there with Hurd for an immediate rematch but then again, what else does Lara do after this one? I would probably like to get Lara in with Brook and ultimately get whomever becomes unified 154 champ.

      • Cashtime

        That says a lot knowing Shields doesn’t want Lara back in there again right away with Hurd Tells me that his man took more damage than they planned and that a rematch could be worse for him.
        Most dethroned champs want the rematch before they leave the ring but this again reveals that Shields knows Lara took some lasting damage in this bout and may clearly lose the rematch

  • Ten Count Toronto

    Eight rounds is pretty ridiculous IMO. Shields is doing his job trying to boost his fighter’s stock and maybe get one more big fight for him, that’s fair enough. However the reluctance to consider a rematch speaks for itself.