After years of waffling and speculation about this fight possibly happening, Vanes Martirosyan and Erislandy Lara step into the ring for the right to challenge Saul "Canelo" Alvarez for the WBC light middleweight title at some point in the future.
Martirosyan enters the ring with a spotless 32-0-0 record that includes 20 knockouts. He has been slowly building to this moment for a long time. Martirosyan's last fight was an impressive third-round knockout of Troy Lowry that earned him the WBC silver light middleweight title.
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Lara has come back strong in his last two fights after suffering his first and only career loss against Paul Williams in 2011. He got back on track with a first-round knockout against Ronald Hearns, then earned an impressive unanimous decision win over Freddy Hernandez in June to get to this spot.
Where: Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, NV
When: Saturday, November 10 at 9:45 p.m. ET
Live Stream: HBO GO
Martirosyan's Keys to Victory
Cut Lara's speed off before he gets in rhythm; Go for the finish
Martirosyan has a little more pop in his punches, but Lara can get the better of him with a huge advantage in speed and quickness.
The best way for Martirosyan to get the upper hand in this contest is to come out with his power and smack Lara in the chin. We have seen it before, where an opponent gets stunned and never regains his footing.
One of the worst things that Martirosyan can do is try to match Lara punch-for-punch. Martirosyan needs to make his strikes count in order to walk out of Las Vegas with a victory and a future title shot.
Lara's Keys to Victory
Movement and speed are your best friends; Make the fight go long
There are few fighters at 154 pounds who can match Lara in speed, quickness and sheer volume of punches he can throw over the course of a 12-round fight. Even if he doesn't score knockouts—for the record, he has 11 in his 17 wins—he is going to make it so you can't keep swinging.
As long as Lara can use that speed and quickness to wear down Martirosyan and get this fight into the later rounds, it is not going to be close. He has the power to knock Martirosyan out, though his best chance for victory is to be much more methodical and let Martirosyan beat himself.
What They Are Saying
Lara's trainer Ronnie Shields has been making the rounds for his fighter leading up to this fight, including taking some shots at Martirosyan's competition and a little hint of what is going to happen.
We’ve all heard Vanes talk and he sounds very confident. But the time for talking is over. We’re here. My fighter knows what it’s like to be in a big fight, Vanes doesn’t. When Martirosyan walks down the aisle and he gets into that ring, he’ll know that it’s for real…he’ll know that it’s time to fight.
Lara is widely regarded as the No. 3 light middleweight fighter in the world. This is supposed to be his moment.
Martirosyan is far from a pushover, but he has to step his game up in order to keep Lara from doing what he has done 17 times already.
This just seems like the unofficial coronation for Lara as a title contender. He is ready to become a true main-event star in the sport. He just needs that one more push to get there.
Lara wins via 10th-round TKO