Erislandy Lara vs. Michael Zerafa Clash on March 30, on Amazon Prime PPV in Las Vegas

By Robbie Bannatyne - 01/25/2024 - Comments

WBA middleweight champion Erislandy Lara (29-3-3, 17 KOs) will be coming off a 21-month layoff to defend his title against his #1 challenger Michael Zerafa (30-4, 19 KOs) on the Tim Tszyu vs. Keith Thurman card on PPC on Amazon Prime PPV in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Lara-Zerafa is one of three big fights on PBC’s debut on Amazon Prime Video, along with Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero vs. Isaac ‘Pitbull’ Cruz in the co-feature spot on the Tszyu-Thurman card on PPV.

If the 40-year-old Cuban Lara had been more active with his career, he’d likely be given the chief support bout on the March 30th card, but he rarely fights, and his opponent, 31-year-old Australian Zerafa, isn’t well known in the United States.

The older hardcore boxing fans in the U.S remember Zerafa for his being blown out of the water by Peter Quillin in a fifth-round knockout in September 2015 in Connecticut, and man, did he look something awful in that loss.

Since then, Zerafa has rebuilt himself by beating little-known Australian fighters, but no one really jumps out at you to say that he’s done something special in the last nine years. Zerafa’s best wins since being obliterated by Quillin have come against these fighters:

– Anthony Munduine: *45-years-old
– Jeff Horn: Post-Crawford
– Les Sherrington

Besides his KO loss to Quillin, Zerafa was beaten by Jeff Horn in their rematch in 2019, and defeated by a past his best Kell Brook in 2018.

Zerafa has won his last four fights, beating these guys to get a #1 ranking with the World Boxing Association at 160:

– Danilo Creati
– Isaac Hardman
– Siliveni Nawai
– Anthony Mundine

It’s questionable why the WBA gave Zerafa a #1 ranking based on those wins, but the 160-lb division is incredibly weak now, filled with obscure fighters, so it’s not a huge shock that he’s been given a high rating by the sanctioning body after his victories over mediocre opposition.

Still, you’d like to see at least one quality win on Zerafa’s recent string of victories to earn a #1 ranking, wouldn’t you?

Erislandy Lara won the WBA middleweight belt three years ago, stopping Thomas LaManna in the first round in May 2021. Some boxing fans felt at the time that the WBA should have just given Lara the title because this was a poor opponent.

Lara has since defended his WBA 160-lb belt once, stopping 39-year-old Gary O’Sullivan in the 8th round in May 2022.