Wednesday night at Hialeah Racing Park & Casino in Hialeah, Florida, WBA World super welterweight champion Erislandy Lara (22-2, 12 KOs), the slick southpaw from Miami by way of Guantanamo, Cuba, successfully defended his title by forcing former IBF welterweight champion Jan Zaveck (35-4, 20 KOs), from Magdeburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, by way of Ptuj, Slovenia, to quit at 41 seconds into round three.
It was curious win for the champion.
Although only seven years separates 32-year-old Lara and 39-year-old Zaveck, those seven years might have been dog years considering how each man fought and appeared.
Lara looked like someone in his fighting prime. Zaveck, by contrast, looked like a bloated old man, and pulling what appeared to be a “no mas” didn’t change that perception.
Lara took charge at the opening bell. Zaveck’s wide punches and lack of head movement were ready-made for Lara’s skill set. Firing off stinging combinations from the southpaw stance, Lara also found a home for his uppercut. He rocked Zaveck with a straight left at 1:20 that drove him to the ropes. A right jab to Zaveck’s face at the bell was a suitable exclamation point.
Lara landed 21 punches to Zaveck’s 7 in round one.
Things didn’t improve for the Slovenian in round two. He would occasionally throw an ineffective flurry, but he looked more like a sparring partner than a man fighting for a world title. Meanwhile, Lara’s lead left could not miss. Zaveck must have fought a lefty at some point in his career, but he seemed incapable of defending himself. As the round was drawing to a close, Lara split Zaveck’s guard and landed a straight left down the pike that caused his knees to buckle.
At the start the third Lara landed a quick 1-2 to which stunned Zaveck. He reached out to touch gloves, as though the fight was just beginning or as if to apologize for an accidental foul (which hadn’t occurred). Then he turned away.
The referee Telis Assimenios was out of position and Lara landed a three-punch combination on Zaveck, who had turned his back in a sign of retreat.
The ref got the message and waved it off.
ESPN’s Teddy Atlas immediately called it a “no mas” and it was hard to disagree. Sitting on his stool while grimacing and holding his right shoulder, Zaveck was in no shape to continue.
But what happened? He was getting nailed, but none of the punches appeared to do serious damage.
In an attempt to solve the mystery, one of Teddy’s sidekicks, Bernardo Osuna, asked Zaveck after the fight what was going on. He said a punch to the right side of his neck caused a spasm in his right shoulder. He extended his glove, not as a show of sportsmanship, but in an attempt to make the spasm go away.
When Osuna asked Zaveck if he thought he was could have continued, Zaveck said, “I don’t know,” which is one of the ways we say “no mas” in English.
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.