Can Erislandy Lara land Golovkin or Canelo fight after latest victory?
By Daniel Zaldivar
May 22, 2016
When Erislandy Lara and Vanes Martirosyan squared off for the first time in 2012, the bout ended in a technical draw that ultimately gueranteed a second meeting between the two. This past Saturday night May 21, that rematch happened, however, this time Lara was able to gain the unanimous decision from the Chelsea Ballroom at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.
Lara's [WBA] super welterweight world title was on the line, which he has held since December of 2012. The Cuban defector [Lara] was able to be the more effective fighter as he connected on 162 of 424, while Martirosyan, 30, landed 94 of his 474 total punches. Lara (23-2, 13 KOs) was behind his left hand all night long and penetrated the guard of Martirosyan (36-3, 21 KOs) every chance he could.
A ninth round accidental head-butt caused the technical decision in the initial matchup, as Martirosyan suffered a cut above his left eye that caused the ringside physician to call for a stoppage. The second round of this second fight saw another head-butt, which isn't completely out of the ordinary since a southpaw [Lara] was fighting an orthodox [Martirosyan].
Martirosyan, who resides in Glendale, California, was more consistent in his body punches and even engaged in controversy in the 11th round. Referee Vic Drakulich deducted a point from Martirosyan from an apparent low blow. However, the replay indicated the shot was at Lara's belt line. He [Martirosyan] maintained his attitude to step into the ring with anybody and is eager to turn this into a trilogy.
Lara is now looking to be a spoiler in the Canelo Alvarez-GennadyGolovkin situation. Aside from Floyd Mayweather Jr., who defeated Alvarez in 2013, Lara has arguably given him his most competitive fight in his professional career. Alvarez, who recently defeated Amir Khan in a potential knockout of the year, took the split-decision against Lara in July of 2014. Both the fans and boxing media we're split in believing who the ultimate victor was. Alvarez has shown his vulnerability against slick boxers in Mayweather and Lara. Khan, who is known to have some of the fastest hands in the sport, was also able to tag Alvarez in the first few rounds before tasting the canvas in the sixth.
Lara could not secure the Alvarez (47-1, 33 KOs) rematch and has instead been on a four fight winning streak, which includes last Saturday's performance. In a surprising turn of events, Lara has even stated his desire to fight the middleweight monster Gennady Golovkin -- who practically holds every major world title at 160 pounds. Lara is more of a natural super welterweight, but his openness to fight Golovkin can either be construed as admirable or insane. Golovkin is undefeated and is currently on a 22-win knockout streak. Golovkin is stepping on the heels on of Alvarez and is hoping to make the fight as soon as possible. Lara is looking for another big name fight, as he hasn't necessarily had one since being in the ring with Alvarez.
If Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs) cannot land the Alvarez fight he's been clamoring for, Lara could be a solid option in terms of viewership and monetary gain. Lara would be a heavy underdog -- especially since he would be going up in weight. However, Lara is more of a technical fighter in using his speed and boxing ability to gain the edge in fights and would have to increasingly rely on these skills to avoid the monster punches of Golovkin. It's highly unlikely that Alvarez will grant a rematch with Lara and Golovkin, even though the possibility is there, is also likely to go another route. An intriguing choice for Lara would be Jermall Charlo, who fought and won against Austin Trout on the undercard of Saturday night's main event. Charlo (24-0, 18 KOs) is the current IBF super welterweight world champion and fighting Lara would be a logical next step after defeating Trout. Lara might have to go this direction if his plan to lure Alvarez or Golovkin doesn't pan out.
Daniel Zaldivar is a boxing contributor for Frontproof Media & Page2sports.com. He is the founder and CEO of Z-BoxingNews (a partner with Frontproof Media), a YouTube channel that delivers the latest news, interviews, fighter workouts, & analysis within the sport. Check out the Z-BoxingNews YouTube channel HERE. Also follow on Twitter @Z_BoxingNews
(Feature photo: Stephanie Trapp/Mayweather Promotions)