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Lara vs. Rodriguez and Beterbiev vs. Johnson tonight on PBC

Delvin Rodriguez Erislandy LaraBy Allan Fox: WBA junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara (20-2-2, 12 KOs) will be looking to put on a virtuoso performance tonight on Spike TV against Delvin Rodriguez (28-7-4, 16 KOs) at the UIC Pavilion, in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Rodriguez, who is not young at 35, is going to need to roll back the years to have a chance of winning this fight.

Lara, 32, isn’t invincible, as we saw in his fights against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Vanes Martirosyan, but it takes a better fighter than Rodriguez to make him look mortal.

Rodriguez had some good wins during his career in beating guys like George Tahdooahnippah, Pawel Wolak, Shamone Alvarez, Freddy Hernandez and Oscar Diaz. Those fights were a long time ago, and it’s unclear whether Rodriguez still has the game to fight at that level.

Rodriguez’s problem is that the World Boxing Association thought enough of him to still give him a #12 ranking with their organization despite the fact that he hasn’t fought in over one year, and has lost two out of his last five fights.

With Rodriguez’s recent record and inactivity, he really shouldn’t be ranked in the top 15, and he definitely shouldn’t be fighting for a world title. It reflects badly on both the WBA and Lara himself for making this fight. The WBA arguably shouldn’t have Rodriguez ranked in the top 15 with his recent activity.

Rodriguez lucked out in getting a nice money fight against Miguel Cotto in October 2013. But unfortunately for Rodriguez, he was crushed by Cotto in just three rounds of a one-sided fight. That was a really bad effort by Rodriguez because he looked really bad. In Rodriguez’s last performance, he fought to a 10 round draw against 39-year-old Joachim Alcine last year in May.

“I’m very excited for this fight. We had a great training camp. We’ve been going for about three months, and I really think this is one of the best camps I’ve ever had,” Rodriguez said. “Everything has fallen into place this time around. As a fighter, you always feel like there may have been something missing. For this fight, we had enough time to prepare.”

Rodriguez did look better than Lara at the weigh-in on Thursday. Lara looked like he had been forced to take a lot of water weight off in order to make the 154 pound limit. With Rodriguez, looked like he was at his fighting weight. He looked very solid with no sign of having to struggle to get down to 154. That’s really the only chance Rodriguez has in this fight. If Lara is too weak from having stripped off a lot of weight for the weigh-in, then Rodriguez might get lucky and beat the weakened Lara.

Undefeated light heavyweight contender Artur Beterbiev (8-0, 8 KOs) will be looking to impress in a big way in the co-feature bout against replacement opponent Alexander “The Great” Johnson (16-2, 7 KOs) in a bout scheduled for 10 rounds. The fight might as well be 4 rounds because it’s not likely to go past the third. Beterbiev is the much better fighter of the two, and Johnson is really up against it in this fight.

The card will be on Premier Boxing Champions.

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