Whether you prefer the official tag-line attached to this Saturday’s fight between Leigh Wood and Mauricio Lara – “Dance With The Devil.” Or if you prefer the added tag of “War Is Coming To Nottingham,” you know what to expect from the bout. It will indeed be war. There will indeed be some X-rated stuff going down. The styles of the two men guarantee it.
Lara, a Mexican warrior and a lethal danger man, is well known on these shores due to his jaw-breaking upset of an unbeaten Josh Warrington in February of 2021. Wood, who will be looking to hold onto his WBA title in front of his home town fans, played his part in 2022’s Fight of the Year with his up from the floor, last-round KO win over Michael Conlan.
Lara hits very hard and he can take a great shot. Woods takes a great shot and he has astonishing recuperative powers, to the point where he simply doesn’t know when he’s beaten. Both men figure to pay dearly on Saturday, the fight to take both guys to some nasty places. The Wood-Lara fight should have happened some months back, only for Wood to suffer an injury and have to pull out. Now the fight is back on, and credit to both men for not allowing this one to fall by the wayside.
So, who wins? Wood can be a slow starter, but he has an insane engine and appears to get stronger as a fight goes deep into the later rounds. Lara can jump on a foe at the sound of the bell, and it could be that champion Wood has to come through some hot and heavy stuff early on. But Wood has shown he can take it, come back, and then get the win. There will likely be some big scares for Wood and the passionate fans roaring him on, and if he does get the win, Wood will likely have to dig as deep as he had to dig in the Conlan classic to get it.
Lara is the younger man by ten years at age 24, while both fighters have very similar records – Wood being 26-2(16), Lara being 25-2-1(18). It’s tough to say which fighter, if either, has the edge. Wood is fighting at home, while Lara is that much younger. Both guys are starving hungry to win.
Put the kids to bed, pour yourself a drink or three and sit back (if you can) and watch the violence flow. It could be savage at times. In fact, it’s almost guaranteed to be savage.
Pick: Wood battles through some real hell, maybe going down more than once, to pull out a close decision in a gruelling, damaging battle.