Leigh Wood to force immediate rematch if Mauricio Lara beats him
By Jake Tiernan: Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn says WBA featherweight champion Leigh Wood will likely choose to force a rematch with Mauricio Lara if he loses to him on Saturday night.
The fight will be shown on DAZN and will take place in Wood’s backyard at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, England.
Fighting at home could work against Wood because the crowd will energize him and make him more likely to slug with Lara, which isn’t a good idea.
Hearn states that since this is a voluntary defense for Wood (26-2, 16 KOs), he has the right to force an immediate rematch against Lara (25-2-1, 18 KOs).
Wood doesn’t have to do that, of course, as could potentially stand by and let Lara move on and face Josh Warrington in a trilogy match. He would then face the winner of the Lara-Warrington clash.
Depending on how badly Wood is beaten by Lara on Saturday, it might be an excellent idea to let him face Warrington next while he licks his wounds from the fight, and then when feeling solid and rejuvenated, he can face the winner.
The oddsmakers have installed Lara as the favorite, and it’s easy to see why. He punches like a mule kicks, and Wood isn’t exactly hard to hit.
Although Hearn maintains his belief that he views the Wood vs. Lara fight as a 50-50 affair, he doesn’t look altogether confident when discussing his thoughts.
Wood looked pretty beaten down in his last fight, and he’s never done much as a pro other than his victory over the weak volume puncher Can Xu and Michael Conlan. All the rest of Wood’s wins during his career have been against domestic-level fighters
Lara confident of victory
“He thinks he’s the uncrowned champion because he beat Josh Warrington, and Josh Warrington vacated his title. So in his mind, he should be world champion already,” said Eddie Hearn to Boxing Social about Mauricio Lara feeling confident ahead of his fight against WBA featherweight champion Leigh Wood this Saturday night.
“It’s taken him a long time to get an opportunity after that,” Hearn continued about Lara. “Obviously, the rematch against Josh Warrington [which was ruled a second round technical draw after Lara was badly cut by head-butts] in Headingley.
“He then fought in San Diego [against Emilio Sanchez], and then fought in Mexico City, and now the opportunity has presented itself. He can’t believe the opportunities come because it was going to take someone to give him a voluntary defense, which was madness, but Leigh Wood is the guy who’s done it.
“It’s beating Can Xu as an underdog, beating Conlan as an underdog, and beating Lara as an underdog,” said Hearn getting a little carried away with his praise of Wood by including Lara prematurely as his next win,” Hearn said.
Is Wood vs. Lara a 50-50 fight?
“I really feel this is a 50-50 fight. There are still some unknowns about Lara, but he’s got that confidence and that swagger,” said Hearn. “When he bowled into that bubble when he beat Josh Warrington, I don’t think he even knew what he was doing. Now, he believes in himself as a fighter, and that makes him dangerous.
“Josh will be there on Saturday, and he’ll be calling out the winner. Lara wants a third fight with Warrington, but we’ll see what happens.
“Leight would have the option of the rematch right away or he could fight the winner of Lara against Warrington. That’s not really in his mind. That’s something as a world champion giving someone a shot at the world title. It comes with it.
“Some people moan at rematch clauses. He deserves his shot, there’s no doubt about it, but Leigh is still giving him the chance,” Hearn said about Lara. “So what he’s saying is, ‘I’ll give you the chance, and if you beat me, you’ve got to give me the chance.’ That’s really what a rematch clause is.
“Some people moan about it, but let’s think logically about it for a second. It’s pretty fair. By the way, if Mauricio Lara knocks out Leigh Wood, he’ll be more than happy to do the rematch because he’ll think he’ll win again. If it’s an unbelievable fight, which it will be, the rematch is massive as well.
“Sometimes you get a rematch after the effect where you go, ‘Do we need to see it?’ Liam Smith against Chris Eubank, a great thing. If Lara wins by a first round knockdown, do you need to see the rematch? Who knows? But it comes with being a champion and providing someone with an opportunity,” said Hearn.
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