The odds on the Josh Warrington-Mauricio Lara and Anthony Joshua-Andy Ruiz fights were comparable.
Warrington and Joshua were more than 20-1 favorites entering those supposedly easy encounters, according to most Internet sports books. Eddie Hearn still was more shocked when Warrington lost to Lara Saturday night than when Ruiz upset Joshua in June 2019 at Madison Square Garden.
“This is a much bigger shock because Andy Ruiz is a world-class heavyweight,” Hearn, whose company promotes Joshua and Warrington, told IFL TV following Warrington’s ninth-round knockout defeat at Wembley Arena in London. “Mauricio Lara was not really renowned as a world-class featherweight. You know, fringe guy who can pop a bit, might have ability, young kid. But tonight, he arrived on the world stage. And, you know, devastated as I am, congratulations to him. I’m happy for him, because he’s changed his life tonight, and that’s a nice story. But I would’ve rather the other story. Maybe we’ll get that later in the year.”
Mexico City’s Lara, 22, knocked down Warrington with a left hand that nearly ended their scheduled 12-round featherweight fight late in the fourth round. Warrington was able to survive serious trouble in the final 38 seconds of that round and managed to make their non-title fight competitive in some of the subsequent rounds.
Lara landed a left hook that dumped Warrington flat on his back 55 seconds into the ninth round, however, and referee Howard John Foster immediately waved an end to the action.
Before beating Warrington to completely change the course of his career, Lara had suffered a first-round knockout loss to Eliot Chavez (then 5-1-1) in May 2018.
Ruiz survived a third-round knockdown to drop the previously unbeaten Joshua twice apiece in the third and seventh rounds. The Mexican-American underdog stopped Joshua in the seventh round to pull off one of the biggest upsets in heavyweight history and won the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO belts from the British superstar.
England’s Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) out-boxed Ruiz (33-2, 22 KOs) in their 12-round rematch six months later, won a unanimous decision and regained his four titles in December 2019 in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
The 30-year-old Warrington (30-1, 7 KOs), of Leeds, England, has a rematch clause in his contract as well. It isn’t clear if the former IBF featherweight champ will exercise it to ensure a second fight against the hard-hitting Lara (23-2, 16 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.