There will be plenty of debate about this fight and its shocking, sudden ending.
Tonight in Nottingham, Mexican danger man Mauricio Lara sure lived up to his reputation as he tore the WBA featherweight title from defending champion and local hero Leigh Wood. After what had been by and large a great night for Wood, his speed, power and all-round ability seeing the champion bag all but one of the rounds (on the cards of most pundits), Lara uncorked a wicked left hook to the head that dropped Wood heavily in round seven.
Wood went down on his back yet he got back up, only for his trainer Ben Davidson to throw in the towel. The referee of course stopped the fight. There were just :6 seconds left in the round. New champ Lara is now 26-2-1(19). Wood, the older man by ten years at age 34, falls to 26-3(16).
Wood, cut by the side of the eye due to a head clash in the opening round, was boxing quite brilliantly, beating the shorter Lara to the punch, Wood’s jack hammer right hand making Lara pay when he came in. Aside from a strong second round for the Mexican, this was shaping up as a great night for British boxing. Which made Davison’s call all the more surprising.
It’s always a tough call, deciding whether or not to let a hurt fighter go on, and Davidson surely knows his man better than anyone. That said, Wood was terribly upset by what his trainer and corner-man did tonight, insisting that he could have gone on. With just :6 seconds left of the fateful round, maybe Wood – who recovered from a heavy knockdown in last year’s epic with Michael Conlan – would have made it out of the round. We will never know.
However, Eddie Hearn said in a post-fight interview that Wood has a rematch clause, and Wood said he very much wants to enforce it. We could see a Lara-Wood II later this year. But for now, Lara is not only a new champion, he is also a fighter who has once again broken British hearts. Lara wants a third fight with previous KO victim Josh Warrington, and this could come next.
But Lara, who made a childhood dream come true today, will take some shifting. Tonight’s ending was just shocking, completely out of the blue. This is how dangerous Lara is during every single second of any fight he is in.