Eddie Hearn believes Leigh Wood can pull out a victory over Mauricio Lara if he can draw the fight beyond five rounds in their 12-round contest on DAZN at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, England.
Wood (26-2, 16 KOs) is the underdog in this fight despite being the WBA featherweight champion, being older, and fighting at home against the challenger Lara (25-2-1, 18 KOs).
The problem the 34-year-old Wood has is he’s going up against a younger and stronger fighter in 24-year-old Lara, and he’s never had a great chin, to begin with.
On top of that, Wood is coming off a grueling war against Michael Conlan last March, and who knows how the combination of age, inactivity, and the wear & tear from the Conlan fight will impact his performance on Saturday against Lara.
Wood’s style of fighting is perfectly suited to Lara, who thrives on going to war with his opposition. While Hearn feels that Wood is a big puncher, too, he doesn’t possess nearly the same type of power that Lara has.
Unlike Lara, Wood has to load up on his shots to generate power. He doesn’t hit with massive power at any angle or distance like Lara.
“You just saw Mauricio Lara hitting the pads. Pound-for-pound one of the biggest punchers in the sport, but also don’t forget how hard Leigh Wood punches as well. He’s got sneaky power,” said Eddie Hearn to Boxing King Media about this Saturday’s fight between WBA featherweight champion Leigh Wood and Mauricio Lara.
“This fight is so dangerous early. If this fight goes beyond four or five rounds, I make Leigh Wood a favorite in this fight. The bookies have him nearly a 3-to-1 to win this fight.
“He’s the champion in his backyard against a guy that he chose in a voluntary defense. It’s mental. It’s just a great fight. You watch it on the edge of your seat through your fingers, spare pair of pants.
“This is what I believe a classic for British boxing, and we’ve seen two of the best nights I’ve ever seen in boxing here [Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, England] with Froch-Bute and [Michael] Conlan against Wood, and I think you’re going to get another one on Saturday,” said Hearn.
“People don’t necessarily know the story that for years when we represented Carl Froch, he was saying, ‘Can you put Leigh Wood on the show? He’s such a good lad; he’s a great fighter. He’s got a lot of support for the city [Nottingham].’ Now, I can’t believe the turnaround.
“I saw him [Wood] get stopped by Gavin McDonnell at super bantamweight in Hull in our show ten years ago. I thought he was finished then, but don’t forget; he’s 34. Mauricio Lara is 24.
“There’s ten years difference between these two, but you’ve got experience, you’ve got the home support, and he can fight, Leigh Wood. He can really fight, and there are still some unanswered questions about Mauricio Lara,” said Hearn.