Lara spitting in Warrington’s face: Is head-butting a worse offense?

02/19/2023 - By Michael Collins - Comments

Fans are conflicted about last Saturday’s spitting episode involving Mauricio Lara and his arch-nemesis Josh Warrington at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, England.

While some fans are furious at what Lara did in choosing to spit in the face of Warrington, others view the head-butting the Leeds native did in his rematch with the Mexican warrior as the far worse offense.

From Lara’s perspective, what Warrington did to him with his head-butting was as bad as it gets because it cost him money.

Spitting in someone’s face is a vile thing to do to someone, to be sure, but intentionally head-butting is arguably worse. In the case of Lara, it may have prevented him from making life-changing money in his rematch with Warrington.

The question is, did Warrington intentionally head-butt Lara to avoid getting knocked out again to save his career? Lara and a legion of fans believe Warrington’s headbutts were intentional.

Without suffering that cut, Lara would have likely obliterated Warrington with ease and then captured the IBF title against an old Kiko Martinez and made a lot of money. Instead, Lara spent the last year fighting obscure opposition after Warrington chose not to fight him again.

If Warrington and Lara do fight again, the match will likely take place in Leeds once again, which will be tough for Mauricio. Ideally, the fight would take place in a neutral venue, but the problem is that ticket sales will be poor unless the match takes place in the UK or Mexico.

Is Warrington’s head-butting worse than Lara’s spitting?

“I thought Leigh Wood was winning the majority of the rounds in there. He turned in a great performance and an amazing atmosphere for him,” said Frank Smith of Matchroom to Boxing UK after Leigh Wood’s seventh round TKO loss to Mauricio Lara in Nottingham, England.

“There’s definitely the narrative there,” said Smith about the bad blood between Lara and Josh Warrington. “We saw the first fight, and we know what happened in the second fight [Lara being head-butted and badly cut by Warrington]. It didn’t go anyone’s way, but it’s a fight that definitely can be made.

“Josh Warrington wants it. There’s a lot of hate still between the two of them. I obviously don’t agree with spitting at people in any walk of life, whatever it is. I’m sure he [Lara] doesn’t think that’s a good idea himself. It was in the heat of the moment, but yeah, I don’t agree with that at all.

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With the fight itself, it’s a massive fight that third fight,” Smith said about the Lara vs. Warrington trilogy. “We saw it fill out 20,000 at Headingley, didn’t we, for the last one [in September 2021]. The first one in ‘The Bubble’ [at the Wembley Arena in February 2021]. It’s a huge fight to be made. There are a lot of things going on,” said Smith.

Can Leigh Wood come back?

“I saw Leigh afterwards. Leigh is a tough, tough man. He’ll be back stronger. Look, Ben Davison did a great job,” Smith continued. “His role is to protect his fighter. No one knows Leigh Wood better than Ben Davison when it comes to boxing, so you’ve got to respect his decision there.

“Leigh will be back stronger. He’s a great fighter. He would have kept going as long as he could, but I think the right decision was made, and he can fight for another day now.

“You have to commend him. He took a proper fight. A lot of people in that position [wouldn’t have]. We offered him [Wood] other fights, but he wanted the Lara fight, but that’s boxing, and that’s why we love boxing.

“Maybe not Mexico [for the Wood vs. Lara rematch]. I think there are a lot of great fights to be made out there. There’s obviously talk about the [Josh] Warrington fight for Lara as well. Maybe the winner of that fight for Wood.

“Maybe Wood goes straight back into it. Let’s see how it all plays out. He’s got to take some time now. It’s been a long hard camp, obviously. He had a long period out [11 months], didn’t he?  He was injured for the September fight, so he [Wood] pulled out of that. So he’d had a long time out of the ring when you think about it.

“He’s got to take some time, and we’ll let it play from there, but there are a lot of big fights to be made,” said Smith.