LARA AND ANTHONY DIRRELL WIN EASY — Friday night’s featured attractions at the Hialeah Park racino in Miami were widely panned as mismatches and played out as expected. Erislandy Lara (pictured) retained his WBA Super World 154-pound title with a fourth round TKO over Yuri Foreman and former WBC 168-pound champion Anthony Dirrell scored a sixth round TKO over Hungary’s Norbert Nemesapati in a 10-round super middleweight contest.
Heading into his bout with Foreman, Lara brought a 23-2-2 record and could fairly boast that no man had ever defeated him decisively. He came out on the short end of a 12-round majority decision vs. Paul Williams in 2011, a verdict roundly lambasted as a heist, and lost a 12-round split decision to Canelo Alvarez in 2014. In Yuri Foreman (34-3), Lara was meeting a 36-year-old Orthodox boxer (pun intended) who was making only his third start in 38 months and had been well-protected since being taken to school by Pawel Wolak in 2011. In his last six bouts, none scheduled for more than eight rounds, Foreman fought a cast of no-names who were collectively 80-59-4.
Lara isn’t known for being a knockout puncher, but the crushing left uppercut that put Foreman on Queer Street in round four was a vicious blow. Foreman was able to get back on his feet, but he was disoriented and the referee wisely stopped it.
Anthony Dirrell was making his third start since losing his WBC 168-pound title in a close fight with Badou Jack and was coming off a first round blowout of Caleb Truax. He figured to have no problem with Nemesapati, a 21-year-old Hungarian from Budapest, and that proved to be the case. Nemesapati ate a lot of leather before the match was halted with a second remaining in the sixth frame.
With the outcomes of their respective matches considered foregone conclusions, most of the talk going into the PBC show on Spike TV centered on where Lara and Dirrell might be headed next. Lara hopes to find a willing dance partner among the top guns in the middleweight division. He has been calling out GGG, but that bout is unlikely to happen any time soon, if ever. In common with his former Cuban amateur teammate Guillermo Rigondeaux, Lara is considered a solid technician whose style seldom translates into a fan-friendly fight. The prevailing sentiment is that GGG would almost assuredly beat him, but that Lara could make him look bad in the process.
A more likely scenario is a unification match with one of the Charlo brothers, Jermell or Jermall, each of whom holds a piece of the super welterweight title. Lara is presumably well acquainted with them. He resides in Houston, the hometown of the Charlo twins.
In elevating his ledger to 30-1-1, Anthony Dirrell put himself in the conversation to fight the winner of Saturday’s WBC/IBF world super middleweight title fight in Brooklyn between James DeGale and Badou Jack. However, England’s Callum Smith is reportedly next in line, so Dirrell will likely be asked to cool his heels for a while. He competes in a strong division that includes WBO titlist Gilberto Ramirez and top contenders Jose Uzcategui and Jesse Hart.
In another fight of note on Friday’s show, former WBA 122-pound champion Juan Carlos Payano scored a seventh round TKO over Mexico’s Isao Carranza. This was a stay-busy fight for Payano who has his sights set on a rubber match with Rau’shee Warren.
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