Vanes Martirosyan vs. Erislandy Lara: Who We Want Them to Fight Next
After fighting a gritty back-and-fourth bout against each other earlier this month, junior middleweights Vanes Martirosyan and Erislandy Lara's eliminator bout ended in a technical draw due to a huge gash over Martirosyan's eye caused by an accidental headbutt.
Now that the bout that was supposed to set up a mandatory challenger for Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, the WBC junior middleweight champion, has come and gone without a victor, the question is who will Martirosyan and Lara fight next.
Here are the best opponents for either Martirosyan or Lara to fight next as the two continue their campaigns to land a title showdown with "Canelo" sometime in the near future
1. Rematch with Each Other
The first possible fight for both Vanes Martirosyan and Erislandy Lara is a rematch between the two, with the hopes of a winner emerging from a possible second bout after the first-fight draw.
As in the first bout, the same spot as Saul Alvarez's mandatory challenger would be on the line one again, making a rematch the most logical for the two junior middleweight contenders.
Even though both fighters expressed interest in a rematch in their post-fight interviews, the initial bout took two years to make happen, so it's no guarantee that a second bout between Martirosyan (32-01, 20 KOs) and Lara (17-1-2, 11 KOs) will be made right away.
2. Carlos Molina
Carlos Molina is another junior middleweight looking to make some noise in the division and fighting either Vanes Martirosyan or Erislandy Lara would be good for all the fighters involved.
Lara already fought Molina (20-5-2, 6 KOs) back in March of 2011, but the fight ended in a draw, leaving open the door for a possible rematch.
Martirosyan fighting Molina makes sense because it could be used as a measuring stick to see how he does against Molina himself.
Martirosyan and Molina have found it difficult to land big name fights, so fighting each other would be the next best thing for the two.
3. Cornelius 'K9' Bundrage
Cornelius "K9" Bundrage is the current IBF junior middleweight champion and setting a fight with "K9" for either Vanes Martirosyan or Erislandy Lara would be a solid matchup for all involved.
Bundrage (32-4, 19 KOs) recently signed with Golden Boy Promotions after being with Don King for a few fights, hoping that the change would yield bigger fights for him and his career going forward.
After being passed up for a fight with Miguel Cotto this December, it is clear that "K9" still has some impressing to do and a win over Martirosyan or Lara would be great for his career.
The same goes for Martirosyan and Lara, as they would be crowned the new IBF champion with a win over Bundrage. Having a belt of their own would make a fight with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez more attractive, as having another title on the line besides Alvarez's WBC belt would make more sense for "Canelo's camp to take a fight with either Martirosyan or Lara.
4. Austin Trout
With the biggest fight of his career just weeks away, Austin Trout would make for a good fight for either Vanes Martirosyan or Erislandy Lara whether Trout wins, loses or draws against Cotto on December 1.
Trout (25-0, 14 KOs), the current WBA junior middleweight champion, would be wise to take a fight with Martirosyan or Lara no matter the outcome against Cotto.
If Trout beats Cotto he could pad his resume in hopes of a showdown with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. With a loss to Cotto, Trout would be fighting to prove he is a worthy contender in the division by beating either Martirosyan or Lara, as he has no other marquee fights on his resume.
Trout and Martirosyan have a history in the ring, as the two squared off in the 2004 Olympic Box-Offs, to which Martirosyan was victorious and landed the final spot on the US Olympic team in the process.
Trout could get the ultimate revenge for missing out on his Olympic dreams and set up a big pay day in the professional ranks with a win over Martirosyan.