Fighter of the Week: Erislandy Lara

39-year-old Erislandy Lara must have missed a memo, either no one told him that he is 39-years-old, or perhaps he just doesn’t care. The two-division world champion from Cuba is aging like fine wine, he is getting better with age, but at least there is no slide, there is no regression. Lara looks as sharp, and on point as ever. His dominant one-sided beatdown of Gary “Spike” O Sullivan was classic Erislandy Lara that ended in a sensational 8th round TKO for that Cuban that moved his record to 29-3-3 (17), is the first defense of his version of the WBA middleweight title and captured him the Fighter of the Week award. It also showed that the 39-year-old Guantanamo Bay, Cuban, native is still relevant and capable of beating premier 160-pounders.

A victorious Lara exclaimed “I saw the opening. He was leaving himself open and that’s when the left came in and knocked him down.” Vintage Lara, taking advantage of his opponent’s errors. Lara outclassed and took the Irishman to school. Showing no signs of ring rust after being out of the ring for 13-months Lara scored a brutal knockdown. Lara scored a brutal knockdown late in the fourth courtesy of a pair of left hands that may have ended the fight if there were a few moments left in the round. However, O’Sullivan battled on. However, the writing was on the wall and Lara kept on stunning O’Sullivan again in the fifth with a left hand/ After the Cuban landed yet another slush straight left in the opening moment of the eighth round that backed a staggered and defeated O’Sullivan into the ropes, referee Benjy Esteves came in and did his duty, waving it off at 23 seconds into the eighth. Giving Lara his 23rd win and his second consecutive knockout.

Lara, should be on his way to the hall of fame, however, in recent years PBC and Al Haymon have not been able to deliver him the mega fights he deserves. Lara has three losses, Canelo, and Hurd, fights most think he won, but were very close, the 2011 loss to Paul Williams is 11 years ago but still is perhaps the worst decision ever seen in major televised boxing. An inexplicable loss that led to the judges being suspended by the New Jersey Athletic commission. How much different would Lara be viewed if he had gotten those three decisions he deserved against Canelo, Hurd, and Williams? He’d be an all-time great, no doubt the greatest 154-pounder ever, not a borderline hall of famer. He can remove all doubt, and given his last few performances, still has the ability to remove all doubt. With GGG holding the WBA Super middleweight title and likely vacating to go up to 168 and square off with Canelo, Lara will either be elevated to super champ or fight number one WBA challenger Chris Eubank. A fight Lara should easily control. The other names that could easily be made and would be intriguing are Jeison Rosario, Carlos Adames and Zhanibek Alimkhanuly all are good, high-caliber opponents that would continue to test the aging legend


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