By Chris Robinson
Last night, inside of the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, junior middleweight contenders Vanes Martirosyan and Erislandy Lara fought to a technical-draw verdict that left much to be desired.
After a little more than nine rounds of action, an accidental head butt resulted in a nasty gash above Martirosyan’s left eye that saw the fight go to the scorecards. Judge Richard Ocasio favored Lara 87-84, while Jerry Roth saw the bout in Martirosyan’s favor 86-85, with Dave Moretti’s 86-86 tally leaving no room for a winner.
Following the contest, I caught up with strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza, who was in Martirosyan’s corner. In Ariza’s eyes, Lara’s backpedaling tactics, as he saw it, weren’t enough to carry the day.
“It was a good fight but I don’t understand what’s going on,” stated Ariza. “How do you keep winning fights going backwards? I just don’t get it. He was backing up the whole night. Vanes was chasing him, trying to make the fight happen. He was fighting dirty, everybody saw it. The low blows, the elbows on the breaks.”
Ariza did point out that he was only in Vanes’ camp towards the end of his training to help with cutting weight and that much of the credit for him being in great shape should go towards his coach Roma Kallantaryan.
Ariza has been keeping himself busy with eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao, who is set to face off with his rival Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth time on Dec. 8 inside of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Working with Pacquiao for his tenth camp, you can sense that Ariza is spitting out the same narratives while still trying to keep a fresh spin on how pleased he is with his fighter’s commitment and progression.
“It’s really good, man,” stated Ariza. “It’s like one of those things, it’s almost redundant, me saying ‘It’s a great camp, everything’s going well’. But it’s still early, talk to me in a few weeks.”
Another one of Ariza’s fighters, former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., is still coming to terms with his first professional loss. Chavez Jr. was taken to school by Argentina’s Sergio Martinez on Sep. 15 for eleven and a half rounds before staging a rally in the twelfth round that simply came a little too late in the fight.
Ariza feels that it’s best for Chavez to take some time away from the sport before jumping back into another full-fledged training camp.
“It’s a setback," said Ariza. "Whatever happened, happened. I think the main concern now is getting him rest; get his head out of the game. You’ve got to remember, he fought a lot last year. Sometimes you just get burned out. There’s so much pressure. But I’m sure he’ll bounce back.”
*** For an inside look at the HBO double header fight week in Vegas, including exclusives with Harold Lederman, Robert Garcia, Bob Arum, Fernando Vargas, Freddie Roach, training footage of Vanes Martirosyan and Mikey Garcia, Weigh-in and post-fight coverage, please visit Chris Robinson’s Martirosyan-Lara / Garcia-Barros Playlist and check out his other features below…