By Jeff Aranow: Spike will be showing Erislandy Lara (23-2-2, 13 KOs) defending his WBA junior middleweight title tonight against Yuri Foreman (34-2, 10 KOs) in what will likely be a mismatch at the Hialeah Park Raching & Casino in Hialeah, Florida. The fight card starts at 9:00 p.m. Lara has gone one step further with usual mismatches by facing the 36-year-old Foreman as his opponent.
Lara is levels above Foreman, who hasn’t been a factor in the sport for a number of years since losing his WBA 154lb title to Miguel Cotto in 2010. Foreman was never a great fighter to begin with, but he’s very likely lost whatever boxing skills that he had due to age and years of very little activity on his part.
Premier Boxing Champions would do well to match Lara against someone that can still fight like Jermall Charlo or at the very least a good prospect/contender like Erickson Lubin. Lara might be able to beat Lubin, but at least the fans would see a real fight for a change. Lubin can bring it, and he’s not someone that has seen his career go belly up seven years ago like Foreman.
The southpaw Lara is actually a good fighter, but his skills are being wasted on him facing really poor opposition. Lara gave Saul Canelo Alvarez a real run for his money in their fight in 2014. It was thought at the time that this was just the beginning for Lara, and that he could continue to face the best and eventually fight guys like the Charlo brothers, Demetrius Andrade, Julian Williams and Gennady Golovkin. Lara has done the opposite in dining on fringe level fighters for the last three years. His fight against Foreman is no exception. It’s just a continuation of the easy fodder opponents.
If the Lara-Foreman fight goes more than six rounds, it would be surprising. Foreman is way out of his class in this fight. He’s not fought anyone in Lara’s league since his loss to Cotto, and that was seven years ago. If Lara doesn’t carry Foreman in this fight, then it’s going to end very early.
It’s kind of surprising that Lara’s management has gone to this level of opponent selection, because they took a lot of criticism in having Lara defend his title against Jan Zaveck, Delvin Rodriguez and Ishe Smith. Those were really bad mismatches. None of those guys had done anything to warrant title shots, which is the case for Foreman. He’s beaten a handful of obscure opponents in the last five years, and made no attempt to raise the level of his opposition.
The co-feature bout isn’t much better between super middleweight Anthony Dirrell and Norbert Nemesapati. Both fights could and should end early. What this means for the boxing fans is they’ll likely wind up seeing undercard fights involving little known fighters in order for Premier Boxing Champions and Spke to fill the air time for the event. Dirrell will be getting a title shot soon after the smoke clears from the Badou Jack vs. James DeGale fight after Callum Smith gets the first crack at the winner.
Dirrell should be fighting better opposition than Nemesapati at this point in his career. He’s getting up there in age, and he needs to step it back up a level to stay sharp for when he eventually gets a title shot in the future.