Erislandy Lara will defend his WBA and IBO World super welterweight titles against Vanes Martirosyan over a scheduled 12 rounds at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas on Saturday, May 21. The two fought once before, in November 2012, the bout ending in a technical draw due to an accidental head butt.
Lara, who turned 33 on April 11, is an eight-year pro (22-2-2, 13 KOs) who fights out of Houston by way of Guantanamo. A southpaw, “The American Dream” won the interim WBA title in June 2013 by stopping Alfredo Angulo via 10th-round TKO. Elevated to “regular” championship status in March 2014, Lara has three times defended his title, beating Ishe Smith that December and Delvin Rodriguez last June, both by unanimous decision, and stopping Jan Zaveck by third-round TKO last November. It was in his bout with Rodriguez that Lara scored the vacant IBO title. Never stopped, Lara lost to Paul Williams by majority decision in July 2011 and to Saul Alvarez by controversial split decision in a non-title bout in July 2014. His other draw came against Carlos Molina in March 2011.
His opponent, who’ll turn 30 on May 1, is an 11-year ring vet (36-2-1, 21 KOs) who fights out of Glendale, California, by way of Abovyan, Armenia. “Nightmare” won the vacant WBA International super welterweight title in June 2010 by beating Joe Greene via unanimous decision. Fifteenth-ranked by the WBA, Martirosyan most recently fought last September, beating Ishe Smith by majority decision. Undefeated in his first eight years as a pro, and never stopped, Martirosyan’s first loss came in November 2013, beaten via split decision by Demetrius Andrade. His second defeat came last March at the hands of Jermell Charlo, who won by unanimous decision.
Their first fight is the defining fight between the two men. But that may change Saturday night.
“We watch the fight a few times,” said Martirosyan on a recent teleconference call. “That was four years ago. He’s got a lot better. I changed a lot also. But there’s a lot of new things that we need to do. My main concern about this fight is that I just hope it’s a clean fight cause the first fight was really a dirty fight. There was a lot of low blows, a lot of head-butts and things like that. And the cut was bad and when they asked the judges to score the round they scored in his favor and they called it a draw. Let’s just hope the referee does his job better but we’re ready for anything and the first fight was a learning lesson. I have to be ten times more aggressive.”
Lara does not agree.
“To me I was winning the fight easily,” he said. “I was outboxing him. If you go look at CompuBox I outlanded him in every single round of the fight. I was doing my job. Obviously we fought on his turf like I always do. I fight fighters on their turf like I do. Now it’s on my turf and actually I felt like I was winning the fight 100% and I was coming on strong. I was winning the last few rounds before the cut and I was on my way to stop it and then he decided not to fight. So I’m looking forward to this fight. I’m very excited to fight and it’s time to put a period on the fight and end it and show everybody why I’m the best 154-pounder in the world.”
Erislandy Lara vs. Vanes Martirosyan II will be televised live Saturday night on Showtime starting at 9:00 PM ET/6:00 PM PT).
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.