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WBA to order Erislandy Lara vs. Brian Castano

Image: WBA to order Erislandy Lara vs. Brian Castano

By Dan Ambrose: The World Boxing Association is in the process of ordering WBA Super World junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs) to face WBA World 154lb. champion Brian Castano (14-0, 10 KOs).

With this fight, the WBA will reduce the number of champions they have at 154.

This isn’t the fight that the boxing public wants to see from the 34-year-old Lara. The fans want to see Lara face WBC 154lb. champion Jermell Charlo or IBF champion Jarrett Hurd. The short, 5’7” Castano from Argentina isn’t much of a step up from the guys that Lara has been milking his WBA title against like Terrell Gausha, Vanes Martirosyan, Yuri Foreman, Jan Zaveck, Ishe Smith and Delvin Rodriguez.

Castano, 28, recently defeated Michel Soro by a 12-round split decision last summer on July 1 in Argentina. That was a big step up in class for Castono, and he barely won the fight. The WBA elevated Castano to their full WBA World junior middleweight champion in October after the previous champion Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade vacated his title.

Castano is not a household name for the casual boxing fans in the U.S. Indeed, even the hardcore fans likely haven’t heard of him. He’s not someone whose name is mentioned a lot when talking about the top dogs at 154, and yet the WBA recently made Castano their WBA ‘regular’ junior middleweight champion this month outside of the ring. It would have been nice if Castano had to fight for the WBA title against the likes of Andrade or Lara.

Lara has a 6-fight winning streak going since his loss to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on July 12, 2014. Lara has taken a lot of criticism from boxing fans for the type of opponents he’s been facing. It’s obviously not Lara’s fault that he’s been matched the way he is. It’s his management that is making the fights for him. They’re not doing Lara any favors by failing to put him in against guys that could increase his popularity. It’s a trade-off though. Who’s to know what would have happened if Lara’s promoters had decided to match him tough for the last 3 years by putting him in with both Charlo brothers, Demetrius Andrade, Jarrett Hurd, Maciej Sulecki, Julian Williams, Jack Culcay, Liam Smith, Liam Williams and Miguel Cotto.

There’s a possibility that Lara would have lost to some of those fighters, and he would be reduced to being just a contender. By Lara being matched the way he’s been by his management, it’s kept him a champion rot the last 3 years. That’s good for Lara, but obviously not a great thing for the boxing fans that have seen him matched against so many poor opponents since 2014. If Lara had taken some risks, he would be a lot more popular if he beat the above mentioned talents. That’s if he won those fights. Lara’s fighting style is so negative. He would have problems against the Charlo brothers and Hurd.

Showtime Boxing has setup fights where the 154lb division will soon be unified. WBC champion Jermell Charlo could be facing IBF belt holder Jarrett Hurd next. Lara has a shot at fighting the winner of the Charlo-Hurd fight if it takes place. Hopefully, Lara accepts that fight.

Castano picked up the interim WBA 154b. title in defeating Emmanuel de Jesus by a 6th round knockout last year on November 26. In Castono’s last fight, he successfully defended the interim WBA title in beating Soro by a 12 round split decision.

The Lara vs. Castano fight allows the WBA to reduce the number of titles at 154. Other than that, it’s not a great fight. You can argue that this match gives Lara an excuse to take another easy fight.

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