Mauricio Lara has no problem returning to UK for Leigh Wood rematch

By Boxing News - 02/19/2023 - Comments

By Sam Volz: Newly crowned WBA featherweight champion Mauricio Lara says he has no problems returning to the UK for a second fight with the conquered champ Leigh Wood if he chooses to execute the rematch clause in their contract.

Wood, 34, needs to sit down with his team and decide whether to take the immediate rematch with Lara or let him fight Josh Warrington first in a trilogy and then face the winner.

Considering that this is the second consecutive fight in which Wood has been dropped hard, landing on his back, it would be wise for him to let Lara fight Warrington next. In Wood’s previous fight against Michael Conlan in March of last year, he was knocked down hard in the first round.

Does Wood need a long break?

That knockdown was a mirror image of the one that Wood suffered against Lara. The only difference is Wood was in worse shape when he got back up against Lara, and his chances of making it out of the round were small, given what he was up against.

If this was the light-hitting Conlan that Wood was fighting last Saturday night, there’s a strong possibility that his trainer Ben Davison wouldn’t have thrown in the towel because that guy isn’t known for his power, and his chances of finishing Leigh wouldn’t have been near as certain.

Is Wood’s knockdowns just a coincidence? 

Suffering identical knockdowns in back-to-back fights would seem to suggest that Wood’s punch resistance has been impaired, and for that reason, it would be smart for him not to execute the rematch clause with Lara.

In other words, forget all about fighting Lara again, and go in another direction towards opposition with less power, like the guys he’d been fighting his entire twelve-year professional career.

Fans might not be aware of this, but Lara was the first guy that Wood faced during his career with power. All the rest of the opposition Wood had been matched against were weaker punchers like Can Xu, Michael Conlan, Gavin McDonnell, Jazza Dickens, David Oliver Joyce, and Ryan Doyle. Those are the best names on Wood’s flimsy resume, and none of them had power. Those guys can’t punch.

So now that Wood has been destroyed by the first power puncher he’s faced during his long 12-year career, it’s not a good idea to throw him back in there with Lara again because the odds of him getting knocked out again are too high for it to be worth the risk.

If Conlan knocked something loose in Wood’s head with the hard first round knockdown he scored last year, it’s predictable that Lara is going to destroy him even faster in the rematch, be it next or later on this year after he faces Josh Warrington.

The hard-punching Mexican warrior Lara (26-2-1, 19 KOs) marched into the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham last Saturday night, and after struggling in rounds 3 through 6, he came back in round 7 to stop WBA 126-lb champion Wood (26-3, 16 KOs) after dropping him with a left hook.

Wood’s trainer Ben Davison threw in the towel after he got back up and didn’t look fit in his eyes to continue fighting.

Although Davison has been second-guessed by many boxing fans for having the fight stopped, it was a wise decision because the odds of Wood holding off ‘Bronco’ Lara for the final nine to ten seconds remaining in the round were slim.

Lara willing to return to UK for Wood rematch

“Yes, my left hook is very strong and very hard, and a lot of my opponents know that, and it was just a question of time, but time was running out, so I needed to step on the gas, and that’s what I did,” said Mauricio Lara to Matchroom Boxing following his seventh round knockout win over WBA featherweight champion Leigh Wood on Saturday night.

“Right now, I’m tired. I want to spend time with my family. It’s been a long training camp. Whatever my manager says and whatever Eddie Hearn says. I’m ready for it. I’ll take anything on.

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“No, it’s almost like my second home,” Lara said when asked if he has any problems returning to the UK for his next fight. “Thank God everybody applauded me and welcomed me really well, so no problem.

“I have no problem coming back to UK for Wood rematch,” said Lara

“I’m just going to spend time celebrating with my father and my team. All these people that have been around me. Those are the people I’ll celebrate with,” said Lara.

For Lara, his record fighting in the UK is 2-0-1 after three fights, and some would argue that he should be 3-0 because the head-butt technical draw that he has on his resume from his rematch with Josh Warrington in September 2021 arguably should have been a disqualification victory.

If Lara wasn’t a big puncher, returning to the UK might be worrisome because he would need to put his faith in the judges that they would score the fight in a way that made sense if it went to the scorecards.

Mauricio wasn’t worried

“I was calm. We weren’t in control during certain points of the fight, but we knew how to get back into our rhythm, and thankfully we did that, and that’s what happened,” said Lara when asked if he was worried when Wood began to take control of the contest.

Things were looking bleak for Lara after the sixth round because he looked flustered and had stopped attacking Wood for some reason. Lara was going through the motions seemingly with his offense and not going after Wood aggressively as he’d done in the second round.

“It means a great deal. It comes through hard work & dedication,” said Lara about what this victory means for him. “I came here with a suitcase of dreams, and it means a great deal.

“It’s almost like I’ve been carrying a huge burden, a stone on my back, and this is for Mexico, and also it’s for my family and my daughter,” said Lara.