By Barry Holbrook: Mauricio Lara (22-2, 15 KOs) says he’s now the number one featherweight in the division after beating the previous #1 Josh Warrington (30-1, 7 KOs) last Saturday night at the Wembley Arena in London, UK.
Lara might feel like he inherited the #1 spot at 126 after beating Warrington, but the fact of the matter is, he’s not proven himself to be the top guy yet.
The win for Lara over Warrington is going to be perceived as a fluke thing by boxing fans because of Josh being out of the ring for a year and a half before the match.
Also, Lara was intended as a tune-up opponent for Warrington, and not as a serious fight. The way that Warrington fought showed that he didn’t have the full respect for Lara the way he would have if he were facing one of the top featherweights.
Promoter Eddie Hearn brought Lara in as stay busy opponent for Warrington to get some ring rust out before taking on WBA ‘regular’ featherweight champion Can Xu in the spring.
Lara rates himself #1 after beating Warrington
“We executed our plan,” said Lara to iFL TV. “It’s great to have a good friend like [Emanuel] Navarrete, my gym mate.
“It really motivates me. We were able to execute our plan and hit him with good shots that he felt.
“I think we put up a good fight and it took a while to get going, and there were moments where he wanted to set the rhythm and wanted to have a lot of energy and sometimes move around the ring.
“I knew I had to hit him with hard shots. I definitely hit him with some decent headshots that he definitely felt.
“I think it was a combination of my power and my youth that enabled me to knock him out, but obviously, that’s not discounting anything from him.
“He’s the #1 at featherweight, but obviously, I was able to complete my plan at the end. Yeah, I think I am,” said Lara when asked if he believes he’s the #1 featherweight in the world.
“Now it’s about showing the power that I’ve got and what I’m able to do,” said Lara.
There’s still a long way to go before Lara can prove that he’s legitimately the #1 guy at 126. He still needs to beat these fighters:
- Emanuel Navarrete
- Gary Russell Jr
- Kid Galahad
- Can Xu
Before Lara can get to any of those fighters, he’ll likely need to face Warrington in an immediate rematch. Warrington and his promoter Eddie Hearn aren’t going to want Lara to test himself against one of the other top 126-pounders in the division and suffer a potential loss.
If Lara gets beaten before his rematch with Warrington, it’ll take away a lot of the shine from a second fight.
Rematch with Warrington interests Lara
“Yes, that would be great to do it,” said Lara when asked about his thoughts on a rematch with Warrington.
“It would be great to work with Eddie [Hearn], and his promotional team. If that’s what it needs to be a rematch, then so be it. I would love to do that.
“Eddie and Matchroom, they have some great fighters there and some possible rivals.
“Then we can go on and possibly recreate what we’ve done today, but if that’s not the next step, let’s see who is next.
“It feels me with pride, first to be a Mexican, and to be associated with a promoter that is such a powerful person as Eddie Hearn.
“But now it’s about not dropping your guard. I want to get back in the gym and get back to Mexico because obviously, I’m missing Mexico,” said Lara.
Given how much of a wipeout this fight was last Saturday night, you can’t dismiss the possibility that Warrington will walk away from the rematch without attempting to exact revenge.
It’s not just Warrington that will be in on the decision-making when it comes to executing the rematch clause. It’s going to be Hear and Warrington’s trainer and father.
They’re all going to come together and make a decision on whether to go ahead with the rematch.
Logically, it doesn’t make sense for Warrington to take the immediate rematch because it’ll be too easy for him to fall back into the same pattern as the first fight, and lose again.
Lara knows how to beat Warrington, and he’ll be ready to go back to the same tactics that he used to beat him last night.
With all the training that Lara will be doing with WBO featherweight champion Emanuel Navarrete, he’ll be ready for whatever Warrington brings to the table.
Could a world title be next for Mauricio?
“Yes, I’m really satisfied,” Lara said. “There was no world title to take home to Mexico, but I’ve got a great flavor in my mouth now and thinking that the people in Mexico know that I’m not down.
“I knocked out the world #1. The next maybe the world title, but I’m happy and I’ve been very well received by the people in the UK.
“This was a fantastic victory, and yeah, it’s great. I’m really proud to be Mexican and to fly the Mexican flag here. It’s really excellent,” said Lara.
Well, it makes sense for Lara to fight for the vacant IBF featherweight title if Warrington isn’t able to return to the ring within the next six months.
Warrington needs to recover from his knockout, and he also has injuries that will need to heal before he can face Lara again.
Josh, 30, suffered a perforated eardrum shoulder problem and a fractured jaw, according to the Daily Star. Those are injuries that will need time to heal before Warrington is able to fight again.
If Lara is able to fight for the vacant IBF title, he’d be facing #1 Kid Galahad for the belt.
But it’ll be up to the International Boxing Federation, Warrington, and Hearn whether Lara will be able to take an interim fight for the vacant IBF 126-lb title or not.
In some respects, it would be better if Lara did fight Galahad for the IBF title because if he wins that strap, it’ll be on the line for his rematch with Warrington if there is one.
Will Galahad (27-1, 16 KOs) do a better job of holding up to the power of Lara than Warrington or will he fall apart just the same?
In terms of experience against punchers, Galahad is in the same boat as Warrington was in has no prior experience.
“I bet Josh Warrington cannot remember anything past the first knockdown. That’s madness.”