Erislandy Lara doesn’t want another uninspiring, optional title defense next.
The 37-year-old Lara stated after defeating Greg Vendetti by unanimous decision Saturday night that he wants the winner of the most meaningful 154-pound fight on boxing’s schedule. The Cuban champion called for a shot at whoever wins the upcoming Jermell Charlo-Jeison Rosario fight after out-boxing Vendetti in a 12-round main event FOX aired from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
“I dominated the fight,” Lara said through a translator of his victory over Vendetti. “After this performance, I’m looking to step in the ring with any of the other champions. I definitely want the winner of Charlo versus Rosario. If that fight can be made, I’ll be ready to go.”
Houston’s Charlo (33-1, 17 KOs) and the Dominican Republic’s Rosario (20-1-1, 14 KOs) are set to meet September 26 in the intriguing main event of a Showtime Pay-Per-View card at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Those two champions will fight for Charlo’s WBC and Rosario’s IBF and WBA titles.
Lara (27-3-3, 15 KOs) owns the WBA’s secondary super welterweight title, yet he is eager to prove he still can beat a top opponent, even at his advanced age. The Miami resident has beaten overmatched Mexican veteran Ramon Alvarez (28-8-3, 16 KOs, 1 NC) and the unproven Vendetti (22-4-1, 12 KOs), of Wakefield, Massachusetts, in successive contests since settling for a 12-round split draw with Argentina’s Brian Castano in March 2019 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
In the bout before his difficult fight with Castano (16-0-1, 12 KOs), Lara battled Jarrett Hurd in an outstanding action fight Hurd won by split decision. Hurd (24-1, 16 KOs), of Accokeek, Maryland, dropped Lara in the 12th round and beat Lara on two scorecards in an April 2018 bout in Las Vegas that was named “Fight of the Year” by the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Detractors have criticized Lara for facing lower-level opponents since boxing Hurd and Castano in back-to-back bouts.
Handicappers installed Lara as a 50-1 favorite to defeat Vendetti, the WBA’s 11th-ranked contender. Lara won nine rounds on two scorecards and eight rounds on the other card versus Vendetti (117-111, 117-111, 116-112).
Vendetti at least gave Lara a tougher time than Alvarez, who came in 4½ pounds overweight and lost by second-round knockout last August 31 at The Armory in Minneapolis.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.