MINNEAPOLIS – Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara knocked out Ramon “El Inocente” Alvarez in the second round (2:03) to capture the WBA Super Welterweight title Saturday night from The Armory in Minneapolis.
“Having this belt back on my shoulder feels great,” said Lara. “It means the world to be champion again. I felt like in my past fights I didn’t lose, and that stings a bit, but to come back and win the title feels great. I’m back.”
Lara applied pressure early and in the second round he landed a flurry of punches that sent Alvarez halfway through the ropes, causing the referee to rule it a knockdown. Once Lara had Alvarez hurt, he didn’t hesitate to finish the bout.
“Once I had him against the ropes, I knew I had it won and I didn’t want to give him another power punch to hurt him,” continued Lara. “We expected him to be a little more durable. I thought it was a good stoppage. I hurt him with a lot of shots before I put him down the first time. I hit him real flush with one and I would have gone in for the kill. It was a great job by the referee.”
Alvarez didn’t disagree with the timing of the stoppage saying, “I respect the referee’s decision. I’m going to keep working. It is what it is. I fell down, but I will get up again.”
Lara went on to say, “I’ll fight anyone in the division. I do want to fight the best boxers out there in the division, or go up or down a division to fight Errol Spence Jr. or rematch Canelo Alvarez.”
The co-main event featured a very competitive super welterweight clash as Sebastían “The Towering Inferno” Fundora and Jamontay “The Quiet Assassin” Clark fought to a split draw (95-95, 98-92 for Fundora, 96-94 for Clark).
“I thought I was the one doing all the work,” said Fundora. “I felt like I got more jabs and punches on him.”
Facing Clark was the first time Fundora had gone 10 rounds and he believes that he gained something valuable from the experience.
“I learned about fighting a taller boxer,” added Fundora. “I was trying to cut the corners off on him. I expected him to move a lot, but not that much in the fight. There was a height difference from other fighters I’ve fought. But if we run it back again, it’ll be different. I felt like I figured it out a little later in the fight.”
In the sixth round, Fundora appeared to have Clark in trouble as Clark clinched Fundora and both fighters fell awkwardly to the canvas.
“In the sixth, I caught him with an overhand left,” said Fundora. “He was ready to fall, but he fell on me.
“I thought we got it, but it wasn’t what the judges saw,” concluded Fundora. “I’d be happy with a rematch. I’ll run it back. We can do it tomorrow. I’ll hit him harder.”
Clark also believed he did enough to get the victory saying, “I felt like I pushed enough to get the win. The judges saw it another way. If Fundora wants to run it back again, we can run it back again. The sooner the better for me.
“The size was a little difficult at first, but we worked through it,” continued Clark. “It wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. I’m going right back to the lab and back to work.”
The opening bout on FOX and FOX Deportes showcased heavyweight Frank Sanchez defeating Victor Bisbal by fourth round technical knockout (3:00). In a bout that the stronger, faster Sanchez dominated from the outset, Sanchez simply proved too much for Bisbal. Following the bell at the end of round four, Bisbal’s corner had seen enough and retired.
“I was putting pressure on Bisbal just to get him tired, starting to break him down a little,” said Sanchez. “I knew he wasn’t going to go the distance with that kind of pressure. I was moving more side to side, kind of slipping and sliding to get away from that holding that he was doing so I could let my hands go.
“I’m very happy,” continued Sanchez. “I’ll be ranked top 15 in the world now and that puts me in a position to fight for a world title. I’m ready for anyone right now. I want to fight the top guys. It’s what I came from Cuba to do. My goal is to be world champion and I’m going to prove it. I’m a hard-working, dedicated guy. Ever since I joined forces with Castano, I’m sitting on my punches and working on the jab and I’ve got a beautiful team. I can go all the way to the top.”
On the loss, Bisbal said, “I really trained for this fight, but maybe at 39, I’m nearing the end of my career. I was out of gas by the end of the fourth round, so my corner stopped the fight. They said I looked too tired to fight more. I’ll talk to my team and see what’s next in my career. I appreciate the opportunity that PBC gave me tonight.”
Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions