Eddie Hearn heard and read from a lot of onlookers who suggested Leigh Wood should have been allowed to continue late in the seventh round of his technical-knockout loss to Mauricio Lara on Saturday night.
Ben Davison, Wood’s trainer, threw in the towel after referee Michael Alexander appeared ready to allow a disoriented Wood to take more punches from Lara. Their 12-round, 126-pound championship match was officially stopped with six seconds remaining in the seventh round at Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, England, Wood’s hometown.
Hearn – whose company, Matchroom Boxing, promotes Wood and Lara – believes Davison made the correct call because Wood was still badly hurt once he got up from Lara’s left hook.
“You know, I think sometimes it’s easy to say after the fact,” Hearn said during a post-fight press conference. “And what was left, eight, nine seconds in the round? That’s more than enough time for Mauricio Lara to land a dozen hurtful shots. And he only would’ve needed one. Leigh Wood was completely out on his feet. He managed to leave the ring on his feet, with a rematch clause. And if the fight would’ve continued, there was every chance that he didn’t leave on his feet.”
Judges Oliver Brien (59-55), Howard Foster (58-56) and Guillermo Perez Pineda (58-56) each had Wood ahead of Lara on their scorecards entering the seventh round, when Wood suffered the second TKO defeat of his 11-year professional career. Lara staggered Wood with a right hand that landed with 25 seconds to go in the second round, but Wood recovered, got into a rhythm and seemed in complete command of the action before Lara’s left hook helped him take the WBA featherweight title home to Mexico City.
Wood, 34, has a rematch clause in his contract that he indicated he will exercise. Had Davison allowed Wood (26-3, 16 KOs) to fight on, Hearn isn’t certain Wood would’ve left the ring in condition to battle Lara (26-2-1, 19 KOs) a second time.
“And it’s all very well,” Hearn said, “people being brave and saying, ‘Let it go! Let it go!’ But ultimately, Ben Davison has sometimes the hardest job in the world, to protect his fighter. And Leigh Wood was in no position to continue in that fight. In fact, I was surprised the referee let the fight go on because he was out on his feet. But that was a tough decision. And that was probably a 50-50 for the ref. And Ben Davison would’ve just looked at Mauricio Lara, ready to pounce, and one shot was all it would take to end his career. So, I’m happy to see him safe and well in the changing room.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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