Leigh Wood (27-3, 16 KOs) looked like 24k gold on Saturday night, beating the weight-drained shell of former WBA featherweight champion Mauricio Lara (26-3-1,19 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision in a fight that was in no way competitive or all that entertaining to watch at the AO Arena in Manchester, England. After the fight, Wood made it clear that he wants the recently beaten Josh Warrington next.
Lara looked drained to the core, showing none of the aggression that he’d displayed in his previous fight with Wood. In looking at the training video of Lara well before the fight, he’d put on weight since capturing the WBA belt last February, and it seems obvious that he’s been celebrating a lot afteer that win and eating well.
With the weight that Lara put on in the last four months, it was too much to ask for him to take it off without draining himself.
Using a game plan that consisted of strategic tie-ups, many in number, hitting & retreating, Wood boxed his way to a decision by the scores of 18-109, 118-109, and 116-111. The fan booed at ringside. You know things are bad when the fans booed their hometown fighter Wood for spoiling, but that’s what we saw tonight.
They didn’t like Wood’s spoiling tactics with the nonstop clinching, straight arms, which are illegal, and retreating each time Lara came forward.
After the fight, Wood repeatedly said he wants to fight at City Grounds stadium in Nottingham next, which is code for he’ll be fighting Josh Warrington because that’s the only match-up that would attract a big crowd there.
Although Wood expressed interest in fighting a unification against IBF champion Luis Alberto Lopez next, his promoter Eddie Hearn made clear that the City Grounds is next for him, which is code for Warrington will be his opponent.
Warrington hasn’t fought since losing to Luis Alberto Lopez last December in Leeds, but that probably won’t matter. Wood’s fans will jump at the chance of seeing him fight Warrington next, and it doesn’t matter that Josh is coming off a loss to Lopez. They want to see those two fighting.
What’s interesting is Wood is talking about retiring after two more fights, which seems crazy because he’s still fighting at a very high level, showing no signs of deterioration. Granted, he’s probably not on the level of Luis Lopez or Robeisy Ramirez at 126, but those guys are special talents, and no one is beating thee right now.
“Give me City Ground,” said Leigh Wood to Matchroom Boxing, moments after defeating Mauricio Lara to capture the vacant WBA featherweight title on Saturday night in Manchester.
“I wasn’t losing no matter what. I wasn’t losing tonight. Mauricio Lara is a great fighter, but I have a great team. I know what I have to do. Ben [Davison] guided me well. The shot that I put him down with, we worked on it time and time again, and it worked.
“That’s what I’m here for. I’m here for hard fights. I may get beat, but guess what? I come back and beat him. I only have two fights left. One is the City Grounds [against Josh Warrington] and the other is a unification [against IBF featherweight champion Luis Alberto Lopez],” said Wood.