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WBC sanctions Erislandy Lara vs Emanuele Della Rosa for 154 lb eliminator

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Emanuele Della Rosa has been named as Erislandy Lara's opponent for a WBC junior middleweight eliminator.

Craig Bennett/SHOWTIME

The WBC has chosen a replacement for Vanes Martirosyan in what they're calling their race to land a shot at junior middleweight titlist Canelo Alvarez, as Italy's Emanuele Della Rosa has been named as Erislandy Lara's prospective next opponent in an eliminator bout.

Lara (17-1-2, 11 KO) and Martirosyan went to a technical draw in November on HBO, and Martirosyan chose to pass on a rematch when he couldn't get a guarantee that he'd be facing Alvarez down the line. Many believe that the winner will likely be passed over and never really face Alvarez, but that's a story for another time.

Right now, the focus is on the WBC's rather absurd choice of opponent in Della Rosa (31-1, 8 KO). By meaningless trinkets, Della Rosa, 32, is qualified. He won the WBC international title in 2011, and defended it a couple of times. His lone loss came at middleweight via split decision to Sebastian Zbik in 2009.

Basically, he's a dues paying WBC fighter who's been given a shot he probably doesn't deserve. As we've said before, BoxRec rankings can be a little goofy at the top of a division, but once you get past 20 or so, they can give you an idea of a fighter's quality. Della Rosa is ranked 53rd in the world by BoxRec.

Lara-Della Rosa would have been unlikely to land on U.S. TV as recently as 2011, but with Showtime's expanded cards and involvement with Golden Boy, it could get an undercard spot on a card later this year.