By Jake Tiernan: WBA featherwight champion Mauricio Lara says he wants to knockout Leigh Wood quicker than he did last time when the two meet for a rematch tonight at the AO Arena in Manchester, England and live on DAZN.
Lara knocked out Wood (26-3, 16 KOs) in the seventh round last February, and the reason they’re meeting so soon is that Leigh triggered his rematch clause to force the second fight.
Wood, 34, could have allowed Lara to face Josh Warrington first, and then he would get the winner. That would have been the smart move because it would have given Wood more time to recover from his brutal knockout loss to Lara.
It also would have given Wood a chance to potentially fight Warrington if he’d come out victorious over Lara.
“There’s been a lot of hard work in the gym. There have been no holidays. I’m coming here to cement what I did last time,” said Mauricio Lara to iFL TV about his rematch with Leigh Wood this Saturday night.
“Yes, I was surprised, but Leigh Wood is someone that doesn’t give in. He’s an elite boxer, and he wanted the rematch, and I can understand that,” said Lara when asked if he was surprised that Wood took the rematch so fast.
“I think last time, he said he was going to knock me out in the sixth, and I ended up knocking him out in the seventh round. We can all say things outside of the ring, but it’s inside the ring is what matters.
“This time, I want to go and knock him out earlier, and we’re going to go out looking for the knockout from the very first round. I’m always will received when I come to the UK. I feel like the country is like my second home.
“I won’t be looking beyond my opponent. I have to be completely focused on Leigh Wood. I want to cement the victory that I had last time. After that, it’s sitting down with my promoters and deciding what is the best option next.
“Of course, as I’ve said before, it’s a personal issue with him, so let’s go,” said Lara about Josh Warrington. “We’re always talking about things in the sporting sense, but it goes beyond that with Josh Warrington. We have history, so we got a lot further in terms of a sporting rivalry.
“With Leigh Wood, it’s completely different. It’s going to end in a knockout, and it will end within eight rounds. They’re going to see the best version of myself, and I will continue to be world champion,” said Lara.
“You’re seeing the two best in the division fighting on Saturday night in Wood against Lara,” said Eddie Hearn to Secondsout. “Obviously, Leigh beat Mick Conlan. Lopez is a great fighter as well. Lopez-Conlan is a great fight.
“Something about Leigh Wood. He has a look in his eye like he’s going to do the business on Saturday night. When I had him in the office after the defeat. Really, I was expecting Josh Warrington to fight Mauricio Lara for the title.
“Leigh had the right to the rematch, and he also had the right to wait for that fight [Lara vs. Warrington trilogy] and let the winner fight. I think it’s amazing with the way it’s all played out, and he’s [Wood] shown a lot of heart and courage to take this fight so quickly after getting stopped [last February by Lara].
“The fight itself wasn’t brutal. It was one shot really, and when you talk about [Wood’s trainer] Ben Davison’s decision.
“That could have gotten this fight so quickly because if he had taken more punishment and gotten badly hurt in that fight, he would have never made this date, and maybe that rematch just evaporated.
“I think it’s a fascinating fight, a very dangerous fight. I think you’re going to see Mauricio Lara come out like a train. I think he’s going to be very dangerous. I think he’s going to try and finish the fight early. Like I said. Something about Leigh Wood makes me think he may do the business on Saturday,” said Hearn.