A Bad Match Up. Lived Up To The Horrible Expectations.
Let me first start by saying Erislandy Lara has awesome boxing skills. From a boxing purist point of view he is one of the best fighters In the world. I am a big fan and believe he can beat next to any Junior Middleweight on his day. However his recent bout against the over matched Delvin Rodriguez did more harm then good, for the Cuban’s chances of getting major fights.
Let me first start by saying the match up was terrible. It was a mismatch from the outset. Al Haymon, who I have supported throughout this series has stuffed up on this one. Lara has fighters willing to fight him for very small purses, these fighters include Vanes, Rabchenko and his recent conquerer Anthony Mundine. These fighters come to fight and are head and shoulders above Rodriguez. Both Vanes and Rabchenko are known for their all action, fan friendly style. Anthony Mundine is a gifted veteran, extremely under rated and he is coming off a career best performance against Rabchenko. These three fighters were ignored, and instead of producing a quality match up which could easily be achieved, Al Haymon got Rodriguez on the card who’s biggest claim to fame is being a top 20 fringe JMW gatekeeper in 2012. So it was a big blunder by Haymon and this show actually hurt the series with booing from the crowd and the backlash on social media was unanimously negative.
Lara had Rodriguez hurt in virtually every round, and there was no risk for the Cuban fighter as nothing was coming back. Rodriguez was shot, more shot than he ever was before. And to be honest I never rated him at his peak. At the moment, I wouldn’t even put Rodriguez in the top 50 in the JMW division, so I'm not sure what he was doing headlining a card in front of a massive television audience. So instead of pressing the action after the 3rd round and getting Rodriguez out of there, Lara dragged the fight on and it resembled a lengthy sparring session. It was boring, embarrassing and did nothing to attract advertisers to the series.
The frustrating thing about Laura & his trainer Ronnie Shields is, they are out of touch with reality. Ronnie Shields was telling the commentators who were also awful as they poorly talked up the horrible match up, that Lara didn’t need to win by knockout. Shields mentioned that Lara would continue to box to his own style. That’s fine, it’s good enough to get a win. But does he even know whats happened to Rigondeaux? It’s career suicide. No one wants to watch Rigondeaux, and Lara is quickly in the same boat now. It was nothing but a putrid twelve rounds, watching a highly talented elite fighter, failing to let his hands go against a past prime, barely top 50 JMW.
Erislandy Lara and Ronnie Shields missed a big opportunity here. An action packed, one sided beat down would have drawn interest and put the Cuban into the frame for mega fights. The only thing tonights performance did was make him less of a draw then he already was and all the major networks will think twice before putting him on the card again.