Erislandy Lara vs. Greg Vendetti on August 29 on Fox

By Boxing News - 08/09/2020 - Comments

By Jeff Aronow: Erislandy Lara will be making a voluntary defense of his WBA World junior middleweight title against #11 WBA fringe contender Greg Vendetti this month on August 29 on Fox on PBC. The card kicks off at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.

The 37-year-old Lara (22-3-1, 12 KOs) will be making his first defense of his WBA title that he won last August in obliterating Canelo Alvarez’s brother Ramon Alvarez in two rounds.

Lara getting another soft opponent

For the 37-year-old Lara, this is his second consecutive soft opponent after two grueling fights against Brian Carlos Castano and Jarrett Hurd. Lara lost to Hurd by a 12 round split decision in April 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It was a close fight with a lot of two-way action, and one of the best of Lara’s 12-year career despite losing. Eleven months later, Lara fought to a 12 round draw against Brian Carlos Castano (16-0-1, 12 KOs) in March 2019 in a fight that could have gone either way.

After those two hard fights, Lara’s management backed him off from facing fierce opposition by putting him in with Canelo’s brother Ramon, who was no match for him.

Six years ago, Lara lost a highly controversial 12 round split decision to Canelo Alvarez in July 2014. Fans everywhere thought Lara had been given a raw deal in that fight, but there wasn’t anything he could do about it.

Image: Erislandy Lara vs. Greg Vendetti on August 29 on Fox

The judges gave it to the more popular guy Canelo by a narrow decision, and he and his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions decided not to give him a rematch. You can’t blame them. Lara had out-boxed Canelo the same way Floyd Mayweather Jr did, but the only difference was he didn’t get the decision.

It made Canelo look bad that he was willing to walk away from his controversial fight with Lara without trying to show fans that he rightly deserved the victory.

Going into the Lara fight, Canelo was viewed as a fearless fighter willing to take on anyone at 154. Afterward, boxing fans had a different perception of him, and he’s done nothing to change their minds.

Erislandy impressed fans in Hurd fight

Lara has been seen as a finesse-level fighter, who doesn’t like to get his feet wet in winning his fights. A lot of fans criticized Lara as having a boring fighting style similar to Guillermo Rigondeaux, but that view changed after he fought Jarrett Hurd in 2018.

Lara got in the trenches with the bigger and stronger Hurd and went toe-to-toe for 12 rounds. Hurd’s knockdown of Lara decided the fight in the 12th round. Hurd needed that knockdown to get the win, as he was on the verge of getting beaten. That contest showed boxing fans that Lara can slug, and he’s quite good at it.

Image: Erislandy Lara vs. Greg Vendetti on August 29 on Fox

In Lara’s recent 12 round draw against Brian Carlos Castano, he once again went to war with his opponent in slugging it out from start to finish. This time the fight was scored as a draw, but a lot of people felt that Lara did just enough to earn the victory.

Greg Vendetti hasn’t earned a title shot

Vendetti, 30, hasn’t done anything special to earn a title shot against Lara. He’s ranked #11 by the WBA, and he hasn’t beaten anyone of note during his career.

In 2018, Vendetti was knocked out in two rounds by Michel Soro. Vendetti also has losses to Pedro Gonzalez (2-2) and Antonio Chaves Fernandez (9-40-3, 4 KOs). He also has a draw against Fernandez. You get the idea.

Vendetti is a tune-up for Lara, and he’s not meant to be viewed as a dangerous opponent that boxing fans will get excited about.

Lara is keeping busy during the pandemic, and Vendetti is someone being brought in to give Lara some rounds to help him prepare for his fights in 2021.

The best wins on Vendetti ‘s seven-year career resume are against these fighters:

  • Ryan Davis
  • Khiary Gray
  • Casey James Streeter
  • Yoshihiro Kamegai
  • Michael Anderson

It appears that Vendetti’s name has been picked out of a hat to fight Lara for his WBA world title, and this is a once in a lifetime type of shot. Vendetti is going to need to try and make the most of it, as this will likely be the only chance he gets during his career to fight for a world title.

For the boxing fans at home hoping to see a great fight between Lara and Vendetti, they’ll likely be disappointed at what they see. Lara-Vendetti has early knockout written all over it, and this match could end in the same way that Vendetti’s contest against Michel Soro ended.

Image: Erislandy Lara vs. Greg Vendetti on August 29 on Fox

Lara has excellent punching; his punch-placement is second to none. He’s easily the most technical fighter in the 154-pound division today. Unfortunately, things haven’t done Lara’s way in his fights against Canelo, Hurd, and Castano. If Lara had won those fights, he might be a big star today.

In the past, Lara has tried to lure fighters like Gennadiy Golovkin to face him, but he never showed interest in fighting him. Floyd Mayweather Jr never looked Lara’s way, and that would have been a great fight between them. One can only imagine the entertainment value Mayweather and Lara would bring to fans with their technical ability.

Alfredo Angulo vs. Caleb Truax in co-feature

In the chief support bout, #11 IBF Alfredo Angulo (26-7, 21 KOs) is facing #3 IBF Caleb Truax (31-4-2, 19 KOs) in a super middleweight eliminator fight. The Truax vs. Angulo winner will be the mandatory challenger to IBF 168lb champion Caleb Plant.

Angulo, 37, has a two-fight winning streak going for him since losing consecutive fights to Freddy Hernandez and Sergio Mora. A lot of boxing fans thought Angulo deserved the win over Mora in their match in April 2018.

Image: Erislandy Lara vs. Greg Vendetti on August 29 on Fox

The A-side fighter Mora won a highly questionable eight-round split decision in what turned out to be the final fight of his career.

In Angulo’s last two fights, he surprised boxing fans by beating former WBO middleweight champion Peter ‘Kid Chocolate’ Quillin (34-2-1, 23 KOs) by a 10 round split decision last September in Bakersfield, California.

Before that, the 2004 Olympian Angulo, destroyed journeyman Evert Bravo by a second-round knockout in April 2019.

The heavy-handed Angulo is known for his many fights earlier in his career against the following notable opposition:

  • James Kirkland
  • Kermit Cintron
  • Canelo Alvarez
  • Gabriel Rosado
  • Joel Julio
  • Harry Joe Yorgey
  • Joachim Alcine
  • Erislandy Lara

Angulo can still punch

The one thing that’s held Angulo back from becoming a world champion is his hand speed. He had the power, chin, and the toughness to be a top fighter, but his lack of hand speed has been his undoing.

Two years ago, Truax lost a controversial 12 round unanimous decision to James ‘Chunky’ DeGale in April 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. DeGale looked wholly shot, and mostly just held for 12 rounds. Unbelievably, the judges gave him the decision, which was roundly booed by the boxing fans at ringside.

In his previous fight with DeGale in December 2017, Traux pulled off a shocking upset in beating him by a 12 round majority decision in December 2017.

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DeGale’s promoter picked Truax out from near the bottom of the rankings with the IBF, and it was thought this would be an easy win for him. But the heavy-handed Truax took advantage of DeGale’s recent shoulder surgery to outwork and outslug him to win an easy decision.

Since the loss to DeGale, Truax has come back to beat lower-level fighters Fabiano Soares and David Basajjamivule. Truax also fought to a second-round no decision to Peter Quillin in April of last year. The fight was stopped after two rounds due to Truax suffering a cut from a clash of heads.