On Saturday, the tragedy of the WBA was perfectly encapsulated by Erislandy Lara’s quick TKO of an overweight Ramon Alvarez, a mismatch as meaningless as the interim belt on the line between them.
Lara’s first win in nearly two calendar years, things were quick and painless en route to a second-round TKO from the Cuban. Nearing the end of the opening round, Alvarez in high guard tossed a measuring left hook from out behind his raised gloves—his head down and eyes closed, it was a hopeless punch. So there couldn’t have been a more cogent response from PBC analyst Lennox Lewis: “slowwww hook there from Alvarez.”
There had earlier been some playful fencing and dueling in the center of the ring. Until Lara began skewering left hands into his Mexican counterpart, the older brother to one Canelo Alvarez. Without the same kind of prestige to rely on but instead pedigree, Lara quickly separated himself from Alvarez in the second period.
Lara, of Cuba, opened the round with some flickering southpaw jabs. Those stylistic backhanded jabs, range finding blows. First to the chest. Then the face, blinding Alvarez.
For a moment, at the two-minute mark, Lara had walked himself backward into a corner where Alvarez drummed his midsection but was out of dodge a moment later. The Cuban began adding layers to his offense.
Lara going backwards curled a left uppercut into Alvarez’s belly, then shot a javelin of a right hand over his man’s lazy lead hook.
The punch stunned Alvarez and left him open to those peculiar kind of overhands you can expect from lefties. Note. Teddy Atlas once said it was impossible for a southpaw to throw a proper left cross in that it was automatically an overhand. You can see his point, similar to the dimensions of a baseball diamond that shouldn’t prohibit a left-handed ballplayer from playing shortstop or catcher. But it does. So is the paradox of the square-circle.
No matter the name, three of the punches hurt like hell and ricocheted Alvarez off the ropes. The border of the ring clearly saved him from a knockdown. So referee Mark Nelson was obliged to give him a standing eight-count.
The fight resumed and Alvarez didn’t bother to move his feet. Lara closed in on him, firing a one-two that forced the disoriented fighter to wrap up. Pushing down on the back of Lara’s neck, Alvarez still ate a left hand out of nowhere and then a short right to the ribcage.
Lara was allowed to create space and chained together 12 unanswered shots that again slumped Alvarez along the ropes. Nelson quickly stepped between the two, waving the fight off at 2:03 of the second round.
The performance was Lara’s first since a contested draw with Brian Carlos Castano in March of this year. He previously lost his stake of the WBA crown in his bout before that, fighting to split-decision loss with Jarret Hurd in 2018.
Now Lara is again the super welterweight champion. Just barely. It’s an interim belt. And he still has to fight the murderous punching Michel Soro for the so-called gold belt otherwise known as the real belt… which would only then put the winner in line to face “super” champion Julian Williams.
Such is the WBA’s snafu. Such is its tragedy.