Erislandy Lara took home a wide decision win tonight on a special edition of Showtime Championship Boxing, defeating Ishe Smith via 12-round unanimous decision on scores of 117-111, 119-109, and 119-109. BLH had it 117-111 for Lara.
Lara (20-2-2, 12 KO) was able to manage the distance of the fight and potshot his way to victory, as is his preferred style, but for detractors of the way he fights, nothing in this fight is going to change the perceptions of him. The Cuban was clearly the better man, and though Smith (26-7, 12 KO) had a solid approach, trying to cut down Lara at the body and take his legs away early, the Vegas veteran couldn't maintain strong enough pressure to really get Lara off his game for an extended period of time.
It was generally a plenty watchable fight, which may have surprised some, but it was also more or less the chess match style that was expected, perhaps with Smith a bit more aggressive in spurts. Lara stays firmly established as the No. 2 or No. 3 junior middleweight in the sport (third if we're counting Floyd Mayweather), and Smith doesn't lose much standing, either. He remains a solid fringe contender with a decent effort in this fight.
Badou Jack (18-1-1, 12 KO) had no trouble with short notice opponent Francisco Sierra (26-8-1, 23 KO), stopping the Mexican battler in the sixth round when referee Rafael Ramos pulled the plug on what had been a totally one-sided fight. Sierra was busted open and taking punishment, and appeared to have no hope of winning the bout. Jack had won every round before it was stopped.
Junior middleweight prospect Chris Pearson improved to 12-0 (9 KO) with his first 10-round decision victory, outpointing Steve Martinez (15-2, 12 KO) on scores of 97-93, 97-93, and 98-92. BLH had it 97-93 for Pearson, as well. Pearson was able to use his jab effectively after something of a rocky start. The 24-year-old southpaw from Dayton, Ohio, didn't throw as many punches as Martinez, but landed as many good, clean shots as his opponent, and there's really no question about the decision.