3 More Rounds

Lara dominates Rodriguez; Beterbiev scores TKO

Photo: Lucas Noonan/Premier Boxing Champions

Photo: Lucas Noonan/Premier Boxing Champions

Erislandy Lara (21-2-2, 12 KOs) came in as a heavy favorite on Friday night in Chicago for his junior middleweight title defense against Delvin Rodriguez (28-8-4, 16 KOs) and it was pretty clear from the opening round why.

In the main event of the Premier Boxing Champions card on Spike, Lara was too slick, too quick and too skilled for Rodriguez, whose better days are way behind him. Lara controlled the pace of the fight, using his jab and popping Lara repeatedly with left hands.  Rodriguez simply had no defense and was a punching bag for Lara, who appeared to be in a sparring match.

At the end of the sixth round, a bruised Rodriguez was floored with a left hand to the chin, and continued taking punishment for the second half of the fight.  Scores were 120-107 from all three judges in Lara’s favor.

“This was a great performance tonight. I was able to land my left. Delvin was really just trying to survive in there, so I knew what I was doing was working,” said Lara after the fight.

“I’m going to sit down with my team and Al [Haymon]. The future is clear. We want the best. We want Floyd Mayweather. We want Miguel Cotto. We want Gennady Golovkin at 160 lbs.”


In the co-feature, unbeaten slugger Artur Beterbiev (9-0, 9 KOs) continued his knockout streak with a systematic beatdown of Alexander Johnson (16-3, 7 KOs).

Beterbiev walked Johnson down with combinations and consistent pressure, constantly backing him up on the ropes and connecting with heavy punches. Johnson had a few decent moments early on, as he moved well and through combos of his own, but the power of Beterbiev was simply too much to handle.

Beterbiev put Johnson down twice in the fifth round and Johnson’s corner nearly stopped the fight between rounds but ended up deciding to let him continue.  However in the seventh round, Johnson was floored two more times, capped off by a thudding overhand right that sent Johnson crumbling against the ropes – the fight was quickly waved off afterward.

This is a big plus for me and great experience for my pro career. I’m very happy to have gone past four rounds tonight,” said Beterbiev. “Nothing was really working that well for me tonight though. I like to box smart and find the right openings. Maybe the righty to lefty switch in the last week made a difference.

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