Erislandy Lara successfully defended his WBA and IBO super welterweight titles with a unanimous-decision win over Vanes Martirosyan in a rematch of their 2012 meeting that ended in a draw.
ESPN.com's Dan Rafael shared the official scores:
Dan Rafael @danrafaelespn
We go to the cards: 115-112, 116-111x2, all for the winner and still... Lara. #LaraMartirosyan #boxing2016-5-22 04:09:29
The 33-year-old Cuban used his speed to gain the advantageous angles throughout most of the fight. The southpaw used his sneaky left hand to snap Martirosyan's head back on several occasions. Per the Showtime broadcast, Lara had a clear advantage in punches landed: 162-94.
Martirosyan did have his moments, though.
He did excellent work to the body—particularly with the left hook. In hopes of slowing down the fleet-footed champion, Martirosyan continued his focus on Lara's midsection through 11 rounds, but the shots had little to no effect on the champion.
For most of the rounds, Lara stayed on his horse, only stopping long enough to launch the one-two combination that left Martirosyan's face swollen and with cuts under both eyes.
Lara suffered a large hematoma on the left side of his forehead, but the swelling was the product of a head-butt in the fifth round. It was one of at least three clashes of heads in the bout.
Every time the fighters' heads clashed, the abrupt and inconclusive manner in which their first bout ended came to mind. In 2012, a nasty cut opened over Martirosyan's left eye from a clash of heads in the ninth round. He couldn't continue, and the fight went to the scorecards.
It was scored a draw, but Lara should've been awarded the decision in that bout as well. He outlanded Martirosyan in every round, per BoxRec.
Saturday night's fight had its own controversy.
Referee Vic Drakulich erroneously penalized Martirosyan a point after two low blows. The first supposed low blow was caused by Lara inadvertently knocking Martirosyan's hand below the belt. The second—which is the one that drew the penalty—was on the belt line.
Rafael criticized Drakulich's decision:
Dan Rafael @danrafaelespn
That "low blow" was on the belt line. Terrible call. #LaraMartirosyan #boxing2016-5-22 04:03:13
While the point deduction might have bothered Martirosyan mentally, the final margin of the fight was large enough to make the punishment irrelevant.
Per the Showtime broadcast, Lara—who has now won four fights in a row since losing a split decision to Canelo Alvarez in July 2014—would like a rematch with the Mexican superstar.
Alvarez should be negotiating terms to face Gennady Golovkin, but there are doubts over whether the fight will happen. If Canelo chooses to stay away from the Kazakh wrecking machine, perhaps a second scrap with Lara could take place.
If Lara can't secure a fight with Canelo, perhaps he'll choose to move up to middleweight to face Golovkin. He would represent the toughest test GGG has faced in his career, but most would expect Lara to be stopped.
This is boxing, so who knows what will happen? Hopefully, fight fans will be treated to the bouts that will determine who the best fighters in the world are.
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