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Lara should target Golovkin after Foreman fight

By Dan Ambrose: WBA junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara (23-2-2, 13 KOs) has a match scheduled this Friday against a name from the past in Yuri Foreman (34-2, 10 KOs) at Hialeah Park in Hialeah, Florida on Premier Boxing Champions on Spike. Lara has talked a lot in the past about wanting to fight IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.

With Lara being the WBA champion, he can easily make a request to the WBA to have him positioned at No.1 in the WBA’s 160lb rankings. The WBA would likely do this just as the World Boxing Organization recently elevated WBO 154lb champion Saul Canelo Alvarez to the No.1 contender for WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders.

All Canelo did was have his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions to make the request to the WBO, and it was granted to put him at No.1 as the top contender for Saunders. It was a strategic move for Canelo to go after a beatable champion in Liam Smith to take his WBO junior middleweight title off of him. If Lara REALLY wants to fight Golovkin, he can do it easily by using his status as the WBA junior middleweight champion to get the No.1 spot in WBA’s middleweight rankings.

Of course, if Lara doesn’t really want to fight Golovkin, then he can just stay at 154 and continue to defend his WBA title against guys like 40-year-old Jan Zaveck, 36-year-old Delvin Rodriguez, 38-year-old Ishe Smith and fringe contender Vanes Martirosyan. It’s disappointing how bad the opposition has been for Lara since he became the WBA champion. He’s facing 36-year-old Yuri Foreman on Friday. It’s almost as if Lara has been matched purposefully against older fighters rather than the younger ones that could give him a fight.

I don’t think Lara wants any part of fighting Golovkin. I think it helps Lara to bring up GGG’s name every once in a while to get the boxing fans excited about the fight, but the fight never happens because Lara won’t move up in weight to 160. You can’t expect Golovkin to move down in weight to 154 to fight Lara, because there’s no upside in taking that fight. Lara doesn’t have a large fan base, so there’s no money in the fight for Golovkin. If he moved down in weight to fight Lara, he’d be doing it for no real reason other than for bragging rights or to shut him up.

It’s Lara that should realize what he stands to gain by fighting Golovkin. If Lara could out-box Golovkin to win a decision or to knock him out, then he could be the one that is trying to get a fight against Canelo instead of Golovkin. Canelo might actually fight Lara, because he wouldn’t hav to worry about being knocked out by him the way that he would if he took on Golovkin and got nailed by one of his big power shots to the head or to the body.

It would be interesting if Lara did move up in weight to fight Golovkin, because if nothing else, it would give both fighters a good opponent. Lara might even better than Daniel Jacobs, who Golovkin faces on March 18 on HBO PPV at Madison Square Garden in New York.

If Lara had moved up in weight already and beaten Jacobs, it could have been him facing Golovkin instead. It seems to be that Lara is wasting the best years of his career at 154 fighting Foreman, Zaveck, Delvin Rodriguez and Ishe Smith. I think Lara is an underachiever. If Lara believes in himself, then he should move up in weight to start fighting the likes of Golovkin, Jacobs, Canelo, David Lemieux, Hassan N’Dam and Billy Joe Saunders. I think Lara could beat some or even all of them if he showed some offense and didn’t run around the ring for 12 rounds like we saw in his loss to Canelo in 2014.

To say Lara’s match against Foreman is a terrible fight is putting it lightly. The sad part is it’s pretty the norm for the 33-year-old Lara, who has already faced aging and badly over-matched fighters like Jan Zaveck, Delvin Rodriguez and Ishe Smith. Foreman hasn’t shown anything in his game in his last two fights that would say that he’s going to be able to pull off an upset against Lara on Friday night.

Foreman fought only once in 2016 in beating Jason Davis (13-11-2) and once in 2015 in defeating Lenwood Dozier (9-9-1). Foreman didn’t fight at all in 2014. He’s not been nearly busy enough, and he’s not been fighting quality opposition for him to have any chance of beating Lara. To get a title shot with the resume that Foreman has had in the last four years of his career, means that he didn’t have to earn a title shot by beating anyone of note. You can argue that Foreman is getting the title shot for what he did years ago when he was briefly the WBA 154lb champion rather than for what he’s done since then, because his career hasn’t been the same since he was beaten by Cotto and Wolak.

I think Lara is going to make easy work of Foreman. Without any punching power to speak of, Foreman is going to be a sitting duck. He’s not in the same league as Lara. Foreman has a winning streak going since getting stopped in back to back fights by Miguel Cotto and Pawel Wolak. The opposition that Foreman has beaten in the last four years has been journeyman level. Foreman has been in no real hurry to step it up against good fighters despite his advancing age.

It’s amazing that Lara’s fights are being televised on PBC, because you would have thought that they would have pushed him up a level by matching him against better fighters by now in order to increase the ratings. How do you attract interest in Lara’s fights when he’s facing guys like Foreman, Smith, Rodriguez and Zaveck?

Lara needs to do something to take his career to the next level. He can stay at 154 and be content with fighting the little know aging fighters that he’s been facing or he can step up in weight and try and prove himself against Golovkin. The fight is there for Lara if he wants it. He just needs to make a request to the WBA to install him as the No.1 contender for Golovkin at 160, and he should be able to get the fight against him in the near future.

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