IT would have been easy to feel sympathetic towards Ramon Alvarez after he was battered into a second-round defeat by Erislandy Lara in a contest for the vacant yet spurious WBA ‘regular’ super-welterweight strap. Alvarez cut a sad sight, having been so woefully outclassed. But the older brother of Canelo deserves more scorn than pity. Perhaps some can forgive the woeful performance inside the ring but his lack of discipline outside of it is harder to justify. Coming in at 4.6lbs over the contracted 154lb limit was poor form from a Mexican who has been a professional for over 11 years now. To so badly miscalculate the weight, and then blame his nutritionist, makes one speculate what his intentions were all along.
Enough about Alvarez. The night belonged to Lara who was in magnificent condition and performed accordingly. The Cuban had planned to make a statement but admitted afterward he never expected it to be so easy.
It is remarkable that Lara has been able to adjust his style from being a slick southpaw to a man, now nearing the end of his career, more than willing to slug it out. After years of being a boring but effective operator, 36-year-old Lara has become fan friendly.
In his first fight since reuniting with trainer Ismael Salas, Lara toyed with Alvarez in the opening round. Alvarez was slow, ponderous, and looked disinterested. Lara sensed that and upped the tempo. Midway through the second round Lara attacked like a tiger being let out of a cage. Alvarez, 33, was overwhelmed. Two straight lefts, a right hook, then another straight left, landed in quick succession. The force of the blows span Alvarez, his momentum nearly resulting in him tumbling out of the ring and on to judge Steve Weisfeld who stuck out his hand to prevent the boxer from landing on him. Alvarez managed to steady himself, but it was rightly called a knockdown by referee Mark Nelson who determined that the ropes had held Ramon up.
If the close to 3,000 fans at the Armory in Minneapolis (Premier Boxing Champions promoted) did not know the end was near Lara certainly did. When the action resumed, he forced Alvarez to the ropes and landed a series of blinding blows. Nelson stepped in as Alvarez’s corner was about to throw in the towel, the time 2-03.
The pre-fight ballyhoo centered on Lara trying to gain revenge against the Alvarez family for the disputed decision loss to Canelo five years earlier. Lara, to his credit, downplayed that and did not gloat afterward. He conducted himself like a champion even though – it must be stressed – Julian Williams holds the only WBA 154lb title that matters.
We are all guilty of stereotyping fighters from time to time. Like when you see a boxer standing 6ft 7ins, your natural inclination is to assume he likes to box from the outside where he can use his height and reach. But there has never been anything seen inside the ring like Californian Sebastian Fundora, aptly nicknamed the “Towering Inferno”. The tallest man to ever grace the super-welterweight division would be considered tall even by heavyweight standards.
Going against the grain, or at least our perceptions, Fundora liked to bring the fight to an opponent and put on relentless pressure like he did to Cincinnati’s Jamontay Clark. However, Clark kept his composure, moved around the ring and had success tagging the big man as he marched forward. Both landed effectively to the head and body in an entertaining 10-round affair that ended in a split draw with judge John Marioto having it 95-95, Tim Cheatham 96-94 Clark, and Kyle Shiely an outlandish 98-92 Fundora. My score coincided with Cheatham’s, but the draw was a satisfactory result as well. Nelson refereed.
Frank Sanchez, a heavyweight prospect and sparring partner for Luis Ortiz, stopped Puerto Rico’s Victor Bisbal at the end of the fourth round of a scheduled 10. Bisbal retired on his stool completely exhausted after having taken a beating from his Las Vegas opponent. If Bisbal is to box again he has to enter the ring in far better physical condition than he was on this evening. Celestino Ruiz refereed.
The Verdict By sanctioning so many championships it’s little wonder the WBA churn out nonsense like this.
MAIN EVENT – *
WHOLE SHOW – **
Erislandy Lara (154lbs), 26-3-3 (15), w rsf 2 Ramon Alvarez (158 1/2lbs), 28-8-3 (16); Sebastian Fundora (153 1/2lbs), 13-0-1 (9), D Jamontay Clark (154lbs), 14-1-1 (7); Frank Sanchez (220lbs), 13-0 (11), w rsf 4 Victor Bisbal (275lbs), 23-4 (17); Duke Micah (118lbs), 23-0 (19), w rsf 2 Luis Roy Suarez Cruz (118lbs), 13-2 (7); Reymart Gaballo (118lbs), 22-0 (19), w rsf 3 Yelson Vargas (118lbs), 17-2 (12); Shawn Simpson (118lbs), 11-0 (3), w pts 8 Samuel Gutierrez (118lbs), 16-25-6 (6); Shon Mondragon (122lbs), 4-0 (2), w pts 6 Edgar Joe Cortes (122lbs), 6-6-1; Tyrek Irby (147lbs), 8-0 (3), w rsf 6 Lucas Andres Dadamo (147lbs), 2-2-1 (1); Aaron Anderson (154lbs), 6-0 (4), w pts 6 Akeem Black (154lbs), 5-4 (2); Celso Ramirez (147lbs), 7-1-1 (7), D Tyrone Luckey (147lbs), 9-10-4 (7); Osvary Morrell (175lbs), 1-0 (1), w rsf 1 Yendris Rodriguez Valdez (175lbs), 2-7 (2).