Leigh Wood Shows Boldness In Fighting Maurico Lara
Two days ago, late night idling, I tuned in to a Twitter Space devoted to boxing. A handful of speakers and even fewer listeners. Some proclaimed a professional association to the sport, others merely lay opportunists, sharing profanity laden ‘shock jock’ opinions. It was an interesting medley. My visit lasted about the time it takes to endure a 40-36 show opener.
Extraordinary among this mundanity was the disdain shown for almost every fighter discussed. Listeners to the space may be surprised to learn just how many “bums” currently hold world title belts. I know I was. Among them, the panel suggested, was Leigh Wood, the Featherweight from Nottingham who was last seen knocking out Michael Conlon to secure the WBA belt.
The late night discussion dismissed him as a placeholder and denigrated his status as an attraction based on his performance against the unheralded Reece Mould in the year before the breakout Conlon win and his MD loss to Jazza Dickens. Mould was knocked down three times en route to victory. Monday’s announcement by Wood’s promoter Matchroom Sport, that Wood will face dangerous Mexican Mauricio Lara in the first defence of his newly upgraded World title belt, demands credit the skeptics and cynics speaking to the eternal void of late night social media seem otherwise unwilling to extend the 34-year-old.
Lara Isn’t Easy Opponent
Despite the belated nature of Wood’s ascent, it would have been easier, perhaps more conventional to seek a less attritional opponent. It is refreshing to see such a competitive contest arranged, one Wood may yet be an under dog in by the time the bell rings. A fighter boxing a challenger who could beat him. Not a common narrative these days.
Lara isn’t Erik Morales, but he is tough, rangy and has an ability to work at good tempo with respectable power that will ask questions of Wood’s world level credentials. The Mexican is fresh, at just 24, in form – this is his 10th fight in the past 36 or so months and he was good enough to have beaten Josh Warrington as the away fighter in 2021.
There is much jeopardy here for Wood who has a small window to capitalise on the Conlon breakthrough. The styles should create edges and friction. It will be a rugged encounter and with Lara’s pedigree firmly established here in the UK, he will be an easy ‘blue-collar’ sell to the British public too.
However, regardless of the outcome, Big Fight Weekend applauds the boldness Leigh Wood displays here and will enjoy reporting on the fight in six week’s time.
DAZN screen the event for a subscription audience.