Erislandy Lara gets a pinch of revenge in making easy work out of Ramon Alvarez
It’s like an unspoken code in the neighborhood: If you can’t beat one brother, it’s always good to beat the other.
Erislandy Lara (26-3-3, 15 knockouts) had been boiling for five years over the split-decision loss to Canelo Alvarez in July 2014.
“The American Dream” got a chance to take out a pinch of revenge on Alvarez’s older brother, Ramon, for the vacant “regular” WBA super welterweight title that headlined the PBC on Fox show on Saturday night before 2,896 at the Minneapolis Armory, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Lara, who is 36 and The Ring’s No. 3-rated fighter at 154, made really easy work of older brother Ramon, knocking him down once before stopping the disinterested Alvarez, who came in at 158½ pounds, at 2:03 of the second under a barrage of rights.
“I don’t know about that brother code, but all I know is what I accomplished, and I beat the first brother, too,” Lara said. “I really didn’t think about (Alvarez being overweight). I focused on the game plan and what I had to do.
“I didn’t focus so much on Alvarez. We’ll see what’s in store by the end of the year (as far as fighting again).”
Alvarez was first stunned by a right hook, followed by a straight left that almost sent him out of the ring. Referee Mark Nelson considered it a knockdown.
Lara then sprung on Alvarez, crowding his weakened opponent against the ropes and landing a series of rights and lefts on the defenseless Alvarez (28-8-3, 16 KOs) until Nelson waved it over.
Lara landed 33 of 96 (34%) to Alvarez’s paltry 7 of 59 (12%).
Lara, who lost the WBA title to Jarrett Hurd in the BWAA 2018 Fight of the Year. Earlier this year, he drew with Brian Castano.
Beating Alvarez was a consolation prize, though it broke Lara’s 22-month, two-fight winless draught, the longest spell he’s ever gone in his distinguished amateur or pro career without a victory.
In the first round against Alvarez, Lara established his jab. Alvarez seemed tentative and awkward. He came in overweight, negating any chance of winning the vacant belt at stake, and fighting in the hopes of staying relevant.
He won’t after this poor display.
“Having this belt here on my shoulders feels great,” said Lara, without a drop of sweat on him. “I can’t kid myself. I did feel those four pounds (in which Alvarez came in overweight). Once I had him against the ropes, I knew I had this fight won.
“I’ll fight anybody in the (154-pound) division. They don’t bother me. But I do want to fight the best boxers out there, whether they’re higher divisions or lower divisions and I’m talking about Errol Spence Jr. or Canelo Alvarez.”
For now, Lara is just going to have to be satisfied with taking older brother Alvarez down.
In the co-feature, towering 6-foot-7 super welterweight Sebastián Fundora, who calls himself “The Towering Inferno,” went 10 rounds for the first time in his career and finished with a 10-round split-decision draw against southpaw Jamontay Clark (14-1-1, 7 KOs).
Both fighters, of course, thought they had won.
By total CompuBox figures, it was Clark, who landed 168 of 557 (30%) to Fundora’s 130 of 554 (23%). However, the power punches did favor Fundora (85-254/33%) over Clark (80-260/31%).
“I think I pushed it enough to get the win, but the judges saw it the other way,” Clark said. “I can’t really complain. I’m blessed. I’m not hurt. If they want to run it back again, we can run it back again. I’m not tripping. It is what it is.
“The size was a little bit difficult, but we worked through it. I thought we pulled it off some. I’m going to go right back to the lab.”
Obviously, Fundora (13-0-1, 9 KOs) saw it his way.
“I felt like I was the one putting in all of the work,” he said. “When the fight was going on, I felt like I was hitting him with more jabs and I felt like I got more punches on him. I don’t think I learned anything from the southpaw aspect of the fight.
“I think I learned how to cut the corner of a taller boxer. We trained hard for this; 10 rounds felt like nothing.”
Fundora said he was open for a rematch.
On the undercard, bantamweight Shawn Simpson (11-0, 2 KOs) won an eight-round unanimous decision over Samuel Gutiérrez (16-25-6, 6 KOs). In a scheduled 10-round bantamweight bout, Duke Micah (23-0, 19 KOs) stopped Luis Roy Cruz (12-2, 7 KOs) in two, while Reymart Gaballo (22-0, 19 KOs) finished Yeison Vargas (17-2, 12 KOs) in three in another scheduled 10-round bantam bout.
Heavyweight Frank Sánchez (13-0, 11 KOs) forced Víctor Bisbal (23-4, 17 KOs) to stop after four rounds in a scheduled 10-rounder.
“I was putting pressure on Bisbal just to get him tired, starting to break him down a little,” Sanchez said. “I knew he wasn’t going to go the distance with that kind of pressure. I was moving more side to side, kind of slipping and sliding to get away from that holding that he was doing so I could let my hands go.
“I’m very, very happy. I’ll be ranked top 15 in the world now and that puts me in a position to fight for a world title. I want to thank Warriors Boxing, my managers, and my trainer.
“I’m ready for anyone right now. I want to fight the top guys. It’s what I came from Cuba to do. My goal is to be world champion and I’m going to prove it. I’m a hard-working, dedicated guy. Ever since I joined forces with Castano, I’m sitting on my punches and working on the jab and I’ve got a beautiful team. I can go all the way to the top.”
Bisbal, who’s 39, came to a startling conclusion: “I really trained for this fight, but maybe at 39, I’m nearing the end of my career,” he said. “I was out of gas by the end of the fourth round, so my corner stopped the fight. They said I looked too tired to fight more. I’ll talk to my team and see what’s next in my career. I appreciate the opportunity that PBC gave me tonight.”
Joseph Santoliquito is the President of the Boxing Writers Association of America and has written for The Ring/RingTV.com since 1997. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.
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