Matchroom: Lara vs Warrington 2 Predictions & Results
Following a potential upset of the year candidate during their first bout, Josh Warrington will have to face his demons from February when he meets Mauricio Lara in the ring on Saturday. Lara vs Warrington 2 has evolved beyond the initial status of tune-up. Trading toe to toe in their first fight, Warrington paid a fateful price in the fourth round, before coasting half-alive until a spectacular stoppage in the ninth. To think, if Warrington hadn’t approached the initial fight with such disrespect, he could have stripped Xu Can of his world title by now, rather than face a potential career-ender if he loses once again.
Lower down the card, Conor Benn and Adrian Granados have finally been rescheduled following Benn’s bout of COVID. Granados isn’t world level, but he’s a damn good gatekeeper. Vargas didn’t survive long enough to truly test Benn, Granados will separate the wheat from the chaff. Two women’s fights also feature. One is a legitimate world title defence. Another is designed for those who view weigh-ins rather than the actual fight.
Matchroom: Lara vs Warrington 2 Main Event
Mauricio Lara (23-2, 16KO) vs Josh Warrington (30-1, 7KO)
If there is ever a time for Lara to beat Warrington again, an immediate rematch is the best bet. After an emphatic knockout in the ninth round, Warrington enters Saturday night with it all to lose. For Lara, a loss simply mains a second large payday. A win, however, opens up the door to title shots. Without the career-defining pressure on his shoulders, Lara’s comfort during the fight week build-up has been apparent across interviews and media day.
Lara, technically, is a bang average fighter. Before you jump down my throat, this is in no way saying the result of the first fight was a fluke. Nor is it to say that Warrington will win the rematch based on superior technique, the Leeds man isn’t a stellar example either. Yet Lara’s limited skillset does suggest that we will see the same approach to the fight as the first bout. Plodding footwork that regularly crossed when moving backwards, a refusal to fight anywhere else than the inside, and a serious lack of head movement leave him with few options if Warrington opts to fight on the outside. The Leeds man isn’t the cleanest out-boxer, but if he fights his natural desire for a tear-up, Lara is at a huge speed advantage. Even when Warrington was stumbling like a drunk in the fourth, Lara winged punches walking in a straight line – failing to cut off the ring against a walking corpse.
There is little reason to doubt the Mexican’s chin rising to the occasion once again. It would be nice to see any sort of feint, however. Lara’s clubbing power can still be felt on the gloves, but his telegraphed shots will miss the mark at a mid-range. That is unless Warrington chooses to stand and trade in the pocket once again. If Warrington opts to stick and move for the first half of the fight, he can frustrate Lara into whiffing at the air. We already know that Warrington is more than capable of maintaining a freakish pace and volume by the championship rounds, can Lara?
On the night, I distinctly remember Lara battering Warrington black and blue throughout the entire stretch of the fourth to ninth rounds. Detached from the emotion of the night, rewatching the tape tells a different tale. While Lara was by far the greater physical threat, each punch landing with a convincing sting, the Mexican showed his limitations against a clearly stunned foe. Perhaps the demons may be too much for Warrington to overcome, perhaps his feather fists will prove too ineffectual to overcome Lara, but this isn’t as clear cut a repeat result as many fans are believing.
During the first round, Warrington used his rarely seen straight punches. There is no denying that the Leeds faithful prefers a tear up on the inside, but sometimes the brain must override the heart. Lara regularly kept his lead hand low, dropping further when Warrington jabbed. When combined with Lara’s static footwork, opting to dip at the knees, Warrington had free reign to land a looping straight from above. Although it was an ugly punch, it was regularly landed before being stunned in the fourth. Even with a wobbled Warrington resting forehead to forehead with the Mexican, Warrington needs only the slightest shoulder push to create the space to land the looping right hand. Rather than engaging in extended fireworks in the pocket which could only favour Lara’s power, Warrington can maintain a comfortable distance with the powerful counter straight.
Despite the vitriol which follows an upset, more credit has to be given to Warrington’s heart. The Leeds man was fighting on fumes post-fourth round, yet was able to eat a ton of punishment while landing a surprising amount in return. While Lara planted his feet and tried to break Warrington, Space Raider was able to sneak in a violently fast lead hook that regularly stopped Lara mid-combination. Around the fifth round, Warrington opts to throw five lead hooks in a row, all five landed with differing results. Although the Mexican has a true poker face, Warrington stung Lara far more than he would wish to admit. At times when Lara launched flurries of hooks, Warrington landed flush liver shots. Greater emphasis on breaking down Lara’s mid-rift could easily reap rewards and provide respite to the otherwise relentless pressure.
Predicted Result: Warrington Decision
The biggest question revolves around whether Warrington is capable, or even willing, to change his natural style for the rematch. Warrington’s career success has stemmed from setting a relentless pace and breaking opponents on the inside with volume. Unfortunately, Lara’s granite chin and clubbing power proved a stylistic nightmare in the first meeting. How much can be attributed to Warrington’s disrespect for a tune-up, however? During the first couple of rounds, the Leeds man found regular success with his straight shots and left Lara looking limited.
That is understandable though, for all intents and purposes, Lara is limited. In the pocket, Lara’s power will cause trouble even when landing on the gloves. Seemingly not once deflecting or blocking a shot, Lara’s chin and poker face stood steadfast. Yet Lara’s deficiencies were best exposed in the fifth round – a round where Warrington was drunkenly stumbling. Lara failed to cut off the ring effectively, instead of throwing flurries of hooks on a straight line, while eating regular lead hooks in return. If Warrington opts to stick and move, even for the first half of the fight, just how does Lara respond? We already know that Warrington is more than capable of maintaining a freakish pace and volume, can Lara?
Result: Technical Decision (Draw) Round 2 3:00
Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️
Matchroom: Lara vs Warrington 2 Co-Main Event
Jovanni Straffon (24-3-1, 17KO) vs Maxi Hughes (23-5-2, 5KO)
IBO World Lightweight Title
Straffon, if the old memory needs jogging, is the other unknown Mexican who fought on a Matchroom card and caused an upset. James Tennyson was the unfortunate recipient of a first-round knockout, with Straffon securing the vacant IBO world title in the process. Unlike Lara, Straffon is far more active on the outside. Of course, the end goal is still to close the distance and unleash quick three-punch combinations in the pocket. Yet Straffon has a jab that keeps him busy, it isn’t particularly pretty, but it’s a scoring shot. Straffon’s success against Tennyson largely emerged from his bodywork. Thundering in double hooks to the body, Straffon then finished with an uppercut up top or doubling up on the lead hook from body to head.
Maxi Hughes has fought at the British level for over a decade now, yet on every attempt to break upwards, has been gatekept along the way. Losses to Scott Cardle, Martin Ward, Liam Walsh and Sam Bowen all highlighted Hughes’ inability to take the next step in his career. That was until he faced Paul Hyland Jr for the British title last time out. Granted, Hyland Jr isn’t of a similar quality as a Martin Ward, yet the experienced operator continued looking like a fighter reborn since beating Jono Carroll. Hughes’ issue has been an inability to finish fights (dropping close decisions on the way) or failure to gain an opponent’s respect (leading to him being walked down). Hughes is slick enough to stick and move through the opening rounds against Straffon, but he will have to bank on the Mexican tiring late otherwise he doesn’t possess the firepower to keep off the ropes
Predicted Result: Straffon TKO Round 9
Straffon’s success against Tennyson largely emerged from his bodywork. Thundering in double hooks to the body, Straffon then finished with an uppercut up top or doubling up on the lead hook from the body to head. Maxi Hughes may have finally broken out from his domestic purgatory, yet Hyland Jr is perhaps the weakest British rival that he has faced. Hughes will have to bank on his ability to stick and move on the outside, in an attempt to tire and frustrate the Mexican. Unfortunately for Hughes, he lacks the firepower to earn an opponent’s respect and prevent them from walking him down.
Result: Hughes def. Straffon // Decision (unanimous – 119-109, 120-107, 120-107)
Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌
Matchroom: Lara vs Warrington 2 Rest of the Card
Katie Taylor (18-0, 6KO) vs Jennifer Han (18-3-1, 1KO)
Women’s Lightweight (135)
WBC World Lightweight Title
WBA World Lightweight Title
IBF World Lightweight Title
WBO World Lightweight Title
As a huge Katie Taylor fan, it is with great sadness that to note that the Lightweight GOAT has started to show signs of an athletic decline. Natasha Jones was a formidable amateur, yet has failed to mark a mark in her professional career. For Taylor to go life and death with Jonas was a dreadful affair. The difference in quality was starkly apparent during the early rounds, Taylor spritely bouncing into short combinations that strangle fighters behind their guard. When Taylor stood in the pocket, backed her speed and traded in the pocket, however, she allowed Jonas back into the fight. The body is a vulnerability in Taylor, but thankfully for the Irishwoman, women’s boxing hasn’t yet developed beyond headhunting gameplans.
Former IBF Lightweight champion, Jennifer Han, has earnt a very dubious opportunity to challenge for all the belts. After leaving the sport to have a baby, Han jumps back into the big leagues following a quick tune-up over Jeri Sitzes. Han is a fighter who kickstarted her career on a documentary, ‘Humble Spirits: A family of fighters’, which follows the Han Family on their pursuit of boxing careers. Dabbling in a variety of other combat sports, including kickboxing, Han is a minor celebrity in El Paso, Texas. The Texan is a slick mover on the feet and her low hands create awkward angles for her counters. Unfortunately for Han, even when planting her feet, she fails to generate much power. Her ability to slip straight shots into a liver shot counter will find success against Taylor, yet a tendency to bend her arms and shorter her strikes will negate any sort of height advantage.
Predicted Result: Taylor Decision
Katie Taylor has begun to show minor signs of an athletic decline. Taylor still appeared a quality operator in the opening exchanges with Natasha Jonas, bouncing spritely into short combinations that strangled Jonas behind her guard. When Taylor stood in the pocket, backed her speed and traded in the pocket, however, she was left lacking. Han was the former IBF Lightweight champion, yet took a short hiatus to have a baby. Han has nowhere near the level or length of experience that Taylor possesses, yet is an awkward back-foot fighter. Han’s ability to slip straight shots into a liver shot counter will find success against Taylor, who is vulnerable to the body. The Irishwoman should still outclass her foe for a shut-out, however.
Result: Taylor def. Han // Decision (unanimous – 100-89, 100-89, 100-89)
Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️
Conor Benn (18-0, 12KO) vs Adrian Granados (21-8-3, 15KO)
WBA Continental Welterweight Title
After a Benn reborn was showcased against Sebastian Formella, we have no way of knowing if that was a flash in the pan. A first-round knockout over Samuel Vargas is a very tasty result for a fighter’s record, yet Benn’s power was already well documented. The ‘Destroyers’ ability to lead a fight, managing the pace and distance behind his jab, is of far greater intrigue. Formella is a technically sound fighter, yet was at a huge athletic disadvantage against Benn. The twenty-four-year-old faces by far his biggest test against Granados, a fighter who has seen the bell against Adrien Broner, Shawn Porter and Robert Easter Jr.
Of particular importance is Benn’s ability to mask his strikes now. Without telegraphing his jab, simply throwing it straight from the hip, Samuel Vargas was blinded to the subsequent straight right and flurries of hooks. The jab-left hook will be a perfect counter to a wild Granados advance and was the key shot for Danny Garcia to break down his foe.
Adrian Granados has spent a long time in the ring with the top operators. It was only four years ago, after all, that Granados could count himself unlucky not to claim a razor-thin decision against Adrien Broner. Since being sparked out by Danny Garcia in 2019, though, Granados has endured the rockiest patch of his career. Dropping a decisive decision to Robert Easter Jr was a painful out-classing.
The most recent draw to Jose Luis Sanchez, a fight in which Granados was arguably robbed, still shows the Mexican’s decline as he failed to put away his tame opposition. Granados plods forward, looking to fight on the inside and out-grit opponents. Early career Benn would have been more than happy to engage in a phone booth brawl, yet over the past two fights, the Brit has appeared far more keen to utilise his speed on the outside.
Predicted Result: Benn Decision
After a Benn reborn was showcased against Sebastian Formella, we have no way of knowing if that was a flash in the pan. If he can continue to reign in his inner desire for a phone booth brawl, he should be able to out-class Granados on the outside. Of particular importance is Benn’s ability to mask his strikes now. Without telegraphing his jab, simply throwing it straight from the hip, Samuel Vargas was blinded to the subsequent straight right and flurries of hooks. Granados is an experienced operator, but his chin has started to weather over the years and his plodding footwork looks strained these days. If Benn sits in the pocket, he could easily be out-gritted, yet recent form indicates the Brit will fight at range.
Result: Benn def. Granados // Decision (unanimous – 97-93, 99-91, 100-90)
Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️
Hopey Price (5-0, 1KO) vs Zahid Hussain (16-1, 2KO)
Super Bantamweight (122)
vacant IBO International Super Bantamweight Title
Another Leeds faithful, Hopey Price, is a twenty-one-year-old prospect who has been amassing quality victories considering his career stage. Out-classing undefeated Italian, Claudio Grande, last just a month ago, Price dominated large stretches of the fight with his reach advantage. There are still times that Price traps himself onto the ropes, yet his positional awareness will sharpen over time. More important is Price’s ability to time a counter, creating the space to unload his counter straight that drives down on opponent’s chins – owing to his 5’8″ frame.
Despite his extensive record, Zahid Hussain has only fought two fighters with winning records, of which he was defeated by one. Another Leeds lad and Central Area titleholder, Hussain will hold a slight height advantage over Price. In perhaps his most evenly matched fight, Hussain struggled to maintain the distance necessary to utilise his reach against Razag Najib. Preferring to stick and move, Hussain’s fluid lateral footwork and regular jab leaves him racking up rounds – yet he is utterly exposed on the inside. This is a perfect test for Price, who has so far only needed to ride his powerful counter-punching.
Predicted Result: Price Decision
A Leeds clash, Hopey Price has amassed greater names on his record despite enduring a far shorter career than Zahid Hussain. Price’s ability to time a counter, creating the space to unload his counter straight has carried him throughout his first five fights. Hussain as the slightly larger man provides a new test for Price. Hussain’s fluid lateral movement and back-foot boxing will force Price to press and attempt to cut off the ring. If Price is capable of cutting the distance against the regular jab of Hussain, he can expose the bigger man huge vulnerability on the inside.
Result: Price def. Hussain // TKO Round 2 2:33
Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌
Ebanie Bridges (6-1, 3KO) vs Mailys Gangloff (5-2, 2KO)
Eddie must be rubbing his hands with glee. Bridges is the perfect fighter for cheap pay yet huge exposure, owing to her social media fame. At thirty-four and owning a limited skill set, there is little beyond heart and durability to carry Bridges towards another title shot. Thankfully for the Aussie, a Shannon Courtenay rematch is probably around the corner – and the champ is dross. Bridges is decent on the front foot but regularly lingers on the inside as she lacks the speed or clarity of mind to disengage. While it can lead to her chancing her arm in 50/50 exchanges up close, it isn’t necessary or advisable against journeywomen like Bec Connolly.
Technically, Gangloff is a decent enough boxer. As seen against Ellie Scotney, however, the Frenchwoman is ridiculously slight for the weight. Willing to wade in and trade shots against the ropes, Gangloff lacks the firepower to punish larger and more durable opponents. While there is an avenue for Gangloff to win based on activity, Bridges is likely too powerful for the Aussie not to win over the scorecards.
Predicted Result: Bridges Decision
At thirty-four and owning a limited skill set, there is little beyond heart and durability to carry Ebanie Bridges towards another title shot. Thankfully with a division so shallow and a WBA champion so weak, it won’t be long before she can claim her rematch. Bridges is decent on the front foot but regularly lingers on the inside as she lacks the speed or clarity of mind to disengage. Not that it should matter, Gangloff is tiny for the weight. While there is an avenue for Gangloff to win based on activity, Bridges is likely too powerful for the Aussie not to win over the scorecards.
Result: Bridges def. Gangloff // Decision (referee’s scorecard – 77-76)
Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️
Lara vs Warrington 2
2021 Boxing Season
Takeaway comments: Time for Warrington to move on, dire result or not.
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