PBC on Spike: Erislandy Lara Dominates Delvin Rodriquez

Junior middleweight Erislandy Lara easily defeated Delvin Rodriguez on Friday night on a Premier Boxing Champions bout televised live on Spike. All three judges at ringside scored the bout for 120-107 for Lara, who said after the bout he was ready for fights against some of boxing’s biggest stars.

“The future is clear,” said Lara. “I want Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto and Gennady Golovkin.”

Lara, a 32-year-old Cuban defector living just outside of Houston, defended his WBA title in style by completely outclassing Rodriquez, a good, but not elite, TV fighter from the Dominican Republic who lives in Connecticut. It was a masterpiece of the sweet science, but one that left many wondering if Lara could have picked up the pace to end things early.

Lara outboxed Rodriguez, age 35, from the opening bell in what amounted to a showcase fight for the southpaw stylist trained by Ronnie Shields in Texas. Lara stood in the center of the ring in Round 1 and landed jabs and straight left hands at will. Rodriguez was nary able to land a punch on the slickster despite the Cuban using very little movement around the ring as is sometimes typical of his style.

It was more of the same in Round 2. Lara’s jab was sharp and his left hand was deadly accurate. In Round 3, Lara unfurled his right hook. Soon he was throwing sharp combinations, landing at a ridiculously high rate and not getting hit back in return.

Lara moved more in Round 4 and did not let his hands go, instead focusing on a light jab as Rodriguez inched forward and Lara slid backward. Lara opened up more in the next round, perhaps encouraged to do so by some fans in attendance who had begun to boo. For the first time in the fight, Lara started throwing hard shots to Rodriguez’s body.

The strategy continued in the next round. Lara dropped Rodriguez with a vicious one-two just seconds before the end of Round 6 after lulling the veteran into a daze with fancy footwork and off-putting rhythm. Rodriguez rose to his feet and the bell rang before Lara could move in to finish him.

In the next round, Lara walked his opponent down and landed punches virtually at will, though he remained carefully responsible behind his jab. Round 8 was more of the same except Lara managed to stagger his prey toward the end of it.

Rounds 9, 10 and 11 were similar. Lara did his thing. He landed hard punches in high volume but didn’t close the show. Lara tripped Rodriquez down behind a punch in Round 11, but referee Celestino Ruiz correctly ruled it a trip and not a knockdown. Round 12 was just like the previous 11. Lara dominated Rodriguez, hurt him at times, but didn’t get the knockout.

Rodriquez is now 0-2-1 in his last three bouts, including a draw against Joachim Alcine last year and a one-sided Round 3 knockout loss to Miguel Cotto in 2013.

It was Lara’s second straight win after losing a controversial split-decision against Canelo Alvarez in a 155-pound catchweight fight in July 2014. In December of the same year, Lara dominated former titleholder Ishe Smith over 12 rounds at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio.

The win does two things for Lara. First, it keeps the oft-avoided fighter in the public eye. While some fans don’t particular enjoy the Cuban style he employs to wins fight, the fact remains he is one of the best junior middleweights in the world today, perhaps the toughest to beat in the division short of lineal champion Floyd Mayweather, who hasn’t campaigned at the weight since 2013.

Second, and maybe more important to his career going forward, the fight gave Lara a chance to showcase his skill set to a broad audience. Lara might not be universally loved for his defensive style, but there is no reason to believe the talented 32-year-old will languish in obscurity under the co-management of Al Haymon. Lara, who is also managed by Luis DeCubas Jr., needed to step up the pace against Rodriguez in an effort to show fans he can be more entertaining as a prizefighter. Most would probably agree he did not do that. Instead, Lara was the same fighter he always is: masterful but disinterested in taking needless risks.

Lara’s team has publicly lobbied for bouts against the likes of Mayweather, Cotto and Golovkin, but it’s more likely he will need to continue to clean out the division until a more attainable big fight comes his way. A unification bout against WBO titleholder Demetrius Andrade, who hasn’t been in the ring in over a year, would make the most sense at this point. The fighters, who met in 2005 as amateurs in a bout Lara won, are evenly matched southpaws who no one else seems eager to challenge.

They might as well fight each other.

Beterbiev Destroys Johnson

In the co-featured bout, Russian light heavyweight strongman Artur Beterbiev, age 30, remained undefeated with a one-sided beatdown of Alexander Johnson. The Montreal-based Beterbiev appears to be one of the brightest up-and-coming 175-pound prospects in all of boxing. He mercilessly annihilated Johnson, a 33-year-old veteran fighter from Maryland.

Beterbiev put pressure on Johnson from the opening bell. He stalked forward and threw thudding blows that were mostly blocked in Round 1. But by Round 2, he was catching Johnson clean and clearly making his mark. Johnson, a southpaw, landed a nice counter left hand toward the end of Round 2 but it didn’t keep the ruthless Russian from coming forward.

Beterbiev landed good body blows in Round 3 after allowing Johnson off the hook a bit early in the round. It appeared he was looking for punches to counter but couldn’t quite get the timing down so he went back to pressing forward. It was more of the same in Round 4, except Beterbiev was now throwing and landing more punches than ever. He landed a stiff jab in Round 5 to put Johnson down the first time in the bout, then landed an uppercut moments later which left Johnson hanging on the ropes.

Round 6 was Johnson’s best round, primarily because it looked like Beterbiev took a break before going in for the kill the next round. Beterbiev knocked Johnson down with a quick left in Round 7, then ended the bout with a wrecking ball right hand on the temple a few seconds later.

Beterbiev appears to be on his way to the top of the light heavyweight division. He appears capable of competing against anyone in the division right now after just nine professional fights, including lineal champion Adonis Stevenson and unified champion Sergey Kovalev.

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COMMENTS

-the Roast :

Not a good night for Lara. I watched this fight for the first three rounds. Lara was landing his punches at will. I seemed to me a knockout of some sort was just around the corner. I changed the channel. Shocked to read this fight went the distance. No reason for any of the big names to give Lara a shot. He brings no excitement to the table.


-the Roast :

Not a good night for Lara. I watched this fight for the first three rounds. Lara was landing his punches at will. I seemed to me a knockout of some sort was just around the corner. I changed the channel. Shocked to read this fight went the distance. No reason for any of the big names to give Lara a shot. He brings no excitement to the table.


-SouthPawFlo :

In terms of talent & technique Lara is one of the most talented boxers in not only the 154lb Division, but in boxing in general... He's amazingly accurate, always well conditioned, and sharp defensively and moves well in the ring, his only "knock" is that he doesn't chase KO's, but everybody isn't a KO fighter, he is a super-skilled boxer and knows who he is... He's also undefeated in my eyes....


-deepwater2 :

I agree with Roast. Boring Boring Boring. Any fighter that can't stop an opponent after landing 60% of their power shots is saying something. And it is not good.This fight was a terrible showcase fight. The whole production seemed less than stellar. The broadcast team seemed like seedy car salesman trying to sell you a clunker. Even the crowd behind the desk was placed there and told to get excited. The play by play people don't even call the action, they go off on tangents and it is very annoying. Two thumbs down and a waste of time watching this less than genuine card. I give it a grade of F. The best thing about this production was the 10 count for Frank Cappuccino.


-SouthPawFlo :

What other boxer can land 60% of power punches in a 12 Round fight??? And I think Lara gives problems to Mayweather, Cotto and Golovkin if the Matches ever get made...


-stormcentre :

There's no doubt that Lara has talent. I haven't seen Lara's fight with Delvin Rodriquez but am not surprised with the result. Perhaps Delvin Rodriquez was trying to survive and that's why Lara couldn't close the show? Maybe we expect too much from Lara, thinking he should KO Rodriquez? But then Cotto did. That said, my money is on Lara if Cotto if ever fights him; highly unlikely. Feed Lara to the Golovkin I say. :) :)


-deepwater2 :

What other boxer can land 60% of power punches in a 12 Round fight??? And I think Lara gives problems to Mayweather, Cotto and Golovkin if the Matches ever get made...
Delvin was just a punching bag last night and Lara should have been able to put him away. DR only won 4 of his last 11.


-Shoulder Roll Defense :

I am with Southpaw flow, you guys need to give Lara a break. A boxer is defined by their temperament, which compliments their ability and skill. Lara is could stop more fighters if he had the temperament to do so, but like Mayweather he is content to outbox his opponents. He doesn't about what the fans want, he is going to fight his fight. Hit and not get hit, that is the essence of the sweet science and few are as good as him skill wise in the sport of boxing today. Holla!


-SouthPawFlo :

Everybody is not a "punch me in the face and I'll punch you back" type of fighter, Lara is a smooth and slick boxer and he's been that way since the amateurs, so him channelling his inner Arturo Gatti wasn't gonna happen especially if he knew he could outbox his opponent


-Shoulder Roll Defense :

Everybody is not a "punch me in the face and I'll punch you back" type of fighter, Lara is a smooth and slick boxer and he's been that way since the amateurs, so him channelling his inner Arturo Gatti wasn't gonna happen especially if he knew he could outbox his opponent
Exactly!


-brownsugar :

Lara has asked for Golovkin repeatedly. His name and pedigree far exceeds anyone GGG has faced so far. Personally I think GGG eventually walks Lara down late in the fight and eventually stops him... ..... but you have to wonder why GGG, who has silenced all of the Curtis Steven's of the world, hasn't even acknowledged the challenge of Lara( who has been asking for the fight for the past year )? I think Golovkin's team has some hidden concerns regarding Lara. Its easy to understand why. Lara is a very precise boxer....but since Froch doesn't want to commit to fighting GGG, Lara is as good a choice as anyone else.


-deepwater2 :

Triple's team welcomes a challenge from Lara but at 160. Lara is not worth going down below 160. At least not at this time. Maybe if Lara stopped the shot Zombie Delvin, but even landing + 60% of his power shots the zombie made it the full 12.not a good look for Lara at all. Especially after Cotto smashed him in a few rounds. Lara has some work to do.


-oubobcat :

I went up to Canastota for the Hall of Fame weekend with my father in law. At the hotel Friday night, I put on this card. I told him that the Lara fight would put us to sleep. And awoke at 2:30 in the morning to a fire alarm (false alarm) after falling asleep in round 3 or 4 with Spike tv still on...


-deepwater2 :

I went up to Canastota for the Hall of Fame weekend with my father in law. At the hotel Friday night, I put on this card. I told him that the Lara fight would put us to sleep. And awoke at 2:30 in the morning to a fire alarm (false alarm) after falling asleep in round 3 or 4 with Spike tv still on...
Nice!! My friend Keith is up there with Commish I hope. What hotel are you at?


-oubobcat :

Nice!! My friend Keith is up there with Commish I hope. What hotel are you at?
I actually just got back to Rochester. We were at the Quality Inn at Syracuse at the exit on 90 right before the Hall of Fame. I did get to see the Commish at the dinner at the golf outing this afternoon. As always, it was great to see him and had a blast at the Hall this weekend. Its an experience I'd recommend to anyone who is a fight fan.


-deepwater2 :

The hof weekend was a big highlight for me last year. I will make it back next year for sure. I stayed at the extended stay right near your hotel. A 15 minute drive is worth saving all that money. In a few years I wouldn't mind living in canastota. What a beautiful little town.


-oubobcat :

The hof weekend was a big highlight for me last year. I will make it back next year for sure. I stayed at the extended stay right near your hotel. A 15 minute drive is worth saving all that money. In a few years I wouldn't mind living in canastota. What a beautiful little town.
I absolutely love Canastota. Since moving to Rochester, have made my share of trips to that town and virtually memorized every exhibit at the Hall (of course the size of the Hall is not that large). I am trying hard to talk my wife into a future move to Canastota. On a side note, she is out on a business trip this week to California. And I put a bid at the silent auction on a huge De La Hoya-Quartey framed poster signed by Oscar. If I get it, I guess she will be in for a surprise when she returns with the new living room display.


-deepwater2 :

I absolutely love Canastota. Since moving to Rochester, have made my share of trips to that town and virtually memorized every exhibit at the Hall (of course the size of the Hall is not that large). I am trying hard to talk my wife into a future move to Canastota. On a side note, she is out on a business trip this week to California. And I put a bid at the silent auction on a huge De La Hoya-Quartey framed poster signed by Oscar. If I get it, I guess she will be in for a surprise when she returns with the new living room display.
You have a good chance to win. When I met DLH ,I told him the Quartey fight was my favorite, and he told me it was his favorite too. I believe him. Bazooka would have knocked out most guys around today. Canastota is the perfect little town,


-brownsugar :

Triple's team welcomes a challenge from Lara but at 160. Lara is not worth going down below 160. At least not at this time. Maybe if Lara stopped the shot Zombie Delvin, but even landing + 60% of his power shots the zombie made it the full 12.not a good look for Lara at all. Especially after Cotto smashed him in a few rounds. Lara has some work to do.
Actually that's incorrect Deep, Lara was going to fight him at his own weight. GGG's promoter told Lara to go Fight Quillin instead because Lara wasn't a fit challenge for GGG. Then Able said Monroe Junior was a bigger name(and threat) obviously because of his awesome punching power, to GGG. Personally I find it curious.... Although I don't think its a necessary fight. But It looks like a duck. Hopefully its because there's a better challenge. But if not, fans will be sounding off.


-amayseng :

Actually that's incorrect Deep, Lara was going to fight him at his own weight. GGG's promoter told Lara to go Fight Quillin instead because Lara wasn't a fit challenge for GGG. Then Able said Monroe Junior was a bigger name(and threat) obviously because of his awesome punching power, to GGG. Personally I find it curious.... Although I don't think its a necessary fight. But It looks like a duck. Hopefully its because there's a better challenge. But if not, fans will be sounding off.
I do not think it is a duck because they are scared to lose and stall his momentum of being a star. Instead I think they realize it is a horrible match up because Lara is a bore fest. He could make SRR look bad running and biking all fight anti fighting. Why stall GGG's momentum and excitement by chasing Lara around for 12 rounds boring the viewers and killing the sport? I refuse to watch Lara, skipped last nights fight. When Lara fights I find something more entertaining and constructive to do.


-brownsugar :

I do not think it is a duck because they are scared to lose and stall his momentum of being a star. Instead I think they realize it is a horrible match up because Lara is a bore fest. He could make SRR look bad running and biking all fight anti fighting. Why stall GGG's momentum and excitement by chasing Lara around for 12 rounds boring the viewers and killing the sport? I refuse to watch Lara, skipped last nights fight. When Lara fights I find something more entertaining and constructive to do.
I am no fan of Lara, but he can box, although he's proven to be tentative at times. I watched the fight online and found it entertaining although Rodriguez hasn't been highly rated since being destroyed in three rounds by Cotto, You may be right about being concerned about the "stinkout" factor, but if GGG hasn't had his fill of slick boxers after fighting Monroe Jr, Lara's waiting on deck.


-stormcentre :

I have had a chance to look at the fight and I think Lara was just expecting that Rodriquez would, after being hit so many times and knocked down, stay down. I think I would have too. Rodriquez, whilst (as we all knew) not really in Lara's class, had championship punch resistance this weekend and, I think, he just made up his mind to - if he was going to be outclassed - not be KO'd. Hard to put a guy to sleep like that. I think you guys are a little too hard on Lara. Sure, I agree, he was shockingly boring in the Alvarez fight, and seemingly without another plan. That said he is a really good technical boxer. Some, that know, say he's the best from Cuba out of Gamboa, Rigondeax, and himself. I don't see that personally, but I know some people that know Cuban fighters, trainers, and these guys, and they say Lara is the complete package. I think whenever we have a defensive fighter that is interested in hitting and not being hit (boxing) we sometimes tend to have these kinds of separations of views in the forum (which is OK) about whether that (cautious?) fighter is good; based on whether he entertains us with his face and taking punches and risks. But Lara is not that kind of fighter. He really showed some good skills this weekend, even though Rodriquez was outclassed. If I were handling Golovkin I would not want him fighting Lara at a light middleweight. Lara is the kind of guy that would not easily allow 3G to walk in, and he would sharp shoot him when he did so. It's going to be interesting to see where Lara goes from here. I know Cotto won't want anything to do with him, and it's not (despite what Roach might say) because he may be boring either. Cotto, in my opinion, would be owned if he fought Lara. Probably not exactly at the same weights, but I'd like to see Lara fight David Lemieux, Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam. Or even (back to light middleweight now) the Charlo brothers (although they seem to be at the same gym), Andy Lee, Gennady Golovkin, Peter Quillin, Martin Murray, or Daniel Jacobs. Heck, even Billy Joe Saunders. That said, I can easily see Lara getting frozen out of the (real) competition though, even though it shouldn't be that way if he's a PBC fighter. :) :)


-amayseng :

I am no fan of Lara, but he can box, although he's proven to be tentative at times. I watched the fight online and found it entertaining although Rodriguez hasn't been highly rated since being destroyed in three rounds by Cotto, You may be right about being concerned about the "stinkout" factor, but if GGG hasn't had his fill of slick boxers after fighting Monroe Jr, Lara's waiting on deck.
I definitely cloud Lara as being a fantastic talent and boxer. He is an elite guy that mentally does not have the killer instinct needed to be at the top of the sport. GGG is THE rising star of excitement and action, why ruin all his momentum to superstar status by putting him in there with a guy that would bore the country to sleep in 3 rounds? It would be a waste.


-deepwater2 :

Actually that's incorrect Deep, Lara was going to fight him at his own weight. GGG's promoter told Lara to go Fight Quillin instead because Lara wasn't a fit challenge for GGG. Then Able said Monroe Junior was a bigger name(and threat) obviously because of his awesome punching power, to GGG. Personally I find it curious.... Although I don't think its a necessary fight. But It looks like a duck. Hopefully its because there's a better challenge. But if not, fans will be sounding off.
Yes. He said that 1 year+ ago. He said Lara doesn't bring anything to the table. Lara needs a middleweight belt or a notable win. Fighting Delvin R doesn't cut it. ?He [Lara] is not approved by HBO and never on our radar, he should be calling out Quillin, if he wins, he becomes interesting,? Loeffler said. ?Lara fights on Showtime and had draws with Vanes and Molina, GGG vs Stevens=high ratings, who watches Lara? Lara fights on Showtime and is Jr Middle, why would he be on our radar? Lara should call out Floyd, same promoter same TV and he beats both Khan and Maidana, should be easy fight to make. Good fight between 2 solid guys. Yes, same promoter same TV and same weight, makes more sense for Lara to call out Floyd.? I don't think it is a duck at all. Lara's rating from primetime this past Friday. Very poor numbers, Unless Lara would take a paycut the bout can never be made. Sports TV Ratings @SportsTVRatings PBC Boxing on Spike on Friday from 9-11:05p averaged 446,000 cc: @SBNLukeThomas