Taking a gamble on his career, Josh Warrington ended up losing it all. His loss is Mauricio Lara’s gain, as the 22-year-old was able to make history by soundly defeating the former IBF featherweight champion. It may have forced Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn to change his game plan.
This was Warrington’s first fight since 2019, as COVID got in the way. He was looking to face Xu Can, the WBA featherweight champion, in a unification bout. Giving up his title, however, Warrington was confident everything would end up going his way in 2021. It ended up being the opposite.
Lara, who fought his first major opponent in Warrington, needed time to adjust at the beginning of the fight. Not applying pressure, Lara was getting struck by counter shots that should have been the start of the end for him. Lara, however, was able to shock many by clipping Warrington with a few combination shots that ended up knocking him down. The referee could have stopped the fight then, but continued the dodgy efforts by refs recently by not.
Lara would continue to land hard shots in the sixth, seventh, and eighth. Finally, the ref waived the fight in the ninth following a hook straight to the temple of Warrington. According to CompuBox, Lara landed 192 shots compared to Warrington’s 164.
“The reason I performed so well is because of the support of my family,” Lara said. “I think Josh Warrington needed to know that this fight wasn’t going to be easy. He shouldn’t have been making plans for future fights. I am extremely happy at the moment.”
Lara fought four times in 2020. He would go 3-0 with one no-contest and two wins via TKO. It is unfortunate that a title wasn’t on the line against Warrington, as Lara has cemented himself as a true star in the making. Almost like Teofimo Lopez not long ago, Lara faced the best within his division and took care of them.
The real question to ask is what is next for both fighters? Hearn did state to IFL TV (via Boxing Scene) that there is a rematch clause. Would Warrington want to try and face Lara again? It is almost a similar situation when Anthony Joshua fought Andy Ruiz; the top fighter not taking the fight seriously. It could result in a better fight, with Warrington fighting for his right to be king once again.
Will Warrington even be ready to go in the next few months? What happens if Lara hits Warrington even harder? Lara knew coming in that he was facing the number one ranked fighter in the featherweight division. Seeing the result of the fight, would it make sense that Lara took his spot? Warrington did discuss the idea of a rematch in a brief statement.
“Good luck to Mauricio Lara who is a serious opponent for anybody,” Warrington stated. “He is heavy-handed and holds power that will trouble any featherweight. Will we meet again in a boxing ring? Who knows. We only fought a couple of days ago. But, if the chance comes I will jump at it.”
Lara shattered the glass ceiling, forcing him to become a true threat. If a rematch is thrown out the window, Xu Can could end up facing the young soldier. The champion last fought in November 2019 and was due to face Warrington at some point.
Lara could face someone Warrington was also looking to face in Gary Russell Jr. The WBC featherweight champion, Russell fought in February 2020, beating Tugstsogt Nyambayar in what is now his yearly scrap run. Lara coming in as the young gun against either could end up creating headlines. Hearn has been negotiating with Lara’s team, so the possibilities are endless.
Coming out of nowhere, Mauricio Lara became a household name just like that. The next steps in his young career are extremely important. With plenty of options, Hearn, Matchroom, and DAZN will have to think of the logical play for him. Why not strike while the iron is hot?