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PBC on Spike - Lara vs Foreman: Fight preview and breakdown

This card is trash on fire.

Erislandy Lara vs Yuri Foreman

Erislandy Lara

Erislandy Lara v Vanes Martirosyan Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Record: 23-2-2 (13 KO) ... Streak: W4 ... Last 5: 4-1 ... Last 10: 8-1-1 ... Stance: Southpaw ... Height/Reach: 5'9" / 74" ... Age: 33

Thoughts: Lara is the second-best junior middleweight in the world now that Canelo Alvarez is pit-stopping in the division again, which isn’t a bad thing to be. He’s a very skilled fighter, patient and precise, very "Cuban" in his style, which makes sense, given that he’s Cuban.

Lara’s two losses came to Canelo, which was very close and can be debated, and Paul Williams, which was one of the flat-out worst robberies in memory, a decision so bad that all three judges were suspended because they were just wrong about what they saw. It was a clear Lara win. And that was probably Lara’s best performance overall, too, save perhaps for a dominant win over Austin Trout.

In both the Williams and Trout cases, Lara was facing a fellow southpaw and was able to pick him apart. The only times we’ve seen him have any real trouble were against Vanes Martirosyan in their technical draw in 2012, and a bit in last year’s rematch win, plus Carlos Molina in 2011 (a fight Lara was lucky to leave with a draw), Alfredo Angulo in 2013, and Canelo in 2014. The Canelo fight was just a tactical stinker, perhaps compelling if you fancy yourself very dignified in the way you watch people punch each other in the face, and the Angulo bout saw Lara challenged by a relentless puncher’s physicality, before he got off the canvas twice to smash that relentless puncher’s face and pretty much force him to quit. Molina was just hell for Lara, but Molina was hell for just about anyone at that point.

Otherwise, Lara has dominated the best of the rest he’s faced, names like Ishe Smith, Jan Zaveck, Delvin Rodriguez, and Freddy Hernandez.

Yuri Foreman

Yuri Foreman v Lenwood Dozier Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

Record: 34-2 (10 KO) ... Streak: W6 ... Last 5: 5-0 ... Last 10: 7-2 (1 NC) ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 5'11" / 72" ... Age: 36

Thoughts: There’s zero reason that Yuri Foreman should be in a marquee fight in 2017, but here we are. He’s won six straight, and check out this murderer’s row he’s beaten to do so: Brandon Baue, Gundrick King, Jamaal Davis, Jovany Javier Gomez, Lenwood Dozier, and Jason Davis. Also worth noting that all of those fights were scheduled for six or eight rounds, so they weren’t even pretending to be anything more than what they really were.

"Sweet Martha," the world cried out, "give this man a world title shot!"

"OK," the WBA gleefully replied.

The last time most anyone saw Foreman was in 2011, when he got the crap beaten out of him by Pawel Wolak, six rounds of one-sided brutality before the fight was stopped. Before that, he faced Miguel Cotto at Yankee Stadium in 2010, and was dominated before being stopped in the ninth. That was a gutsy performance, as Foreman badly injured his knee and was told by referee Arthur Mercante Jr to keep on truckin’. But Mercante did call him "champ," so it was OK.

Foreman’s never really been a world class fighter. His best — and really only significant — win came in 2009 over a faded Daniel Santos. That was over seven years ago. Other than that, he’s a typical northeast club fighter with a little bit of a following, and a great personal story that gave him some publicity before he was found out in the ring.

Matchup Grade: F. This fight is trash on fire.

Anthony Dirrell vs Norbert Nemesapati

Anthony Dirrell

Anthony Dirrell v Badou Jack Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Record: 29-1-1 (23 KO) ... Streak: W2 ... Last 5: 3-1-1 ... Last 10: 8-1-1 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 6'2" / 74" ... Age: 32

Thoughts: There are several ways to look at the Dirrell brothers, when comparing the two and trying to figure out who’s better, but to me it’s clear that Anthony is the better pro fighter, entirely because Anthony, once the bell has sounded, more often acts like he wants to be a pro fighter. To put it simply, he is hungrier and willing to go a further distance to achieve something. Or at least that’s how I’ve looked at it for the last six years or so.

Anthony is not an elite fighter, but he’s good, briefly held a world title, and didn’t give it up easily in 2015 when he lost that WBC 168-pound belt to Badou Jack. He’s won his last two, shutting out Marco Antonio Rubio in 2015, and then waxing Caleb Truax in 1:49 last April, his only fight of 2016.

Dirrell is looking to get back in the world title scene, or at least that would be the assumption. This fight shouldn’t be a challenge for him, as it’s his weakest opponent since 2013, at least.

Norbert Nemesapati

Boxing at O2 Arena Photo by Leigh Dawney/Getty Images

Record: 24-4 (17 KO) ... Streak: W3 ... Last 5: 3-2 ... Last 10: 8-2 ... Stance: Orthodox ... Height/Reach: 5'11½" / 70" ... Age: 21

Thoughts: Given his youth, it’s possible that Nemesapati will go on some kind of out-of-left-field run at some point, where things click for him. But I don’t really see it. He’s a small super middleweight/light heavyweight hybrid and has been soundly beaten by the four best fighters he’s faced, and they aren’t exactly a who’s who of the elite ranks, either.

The first to beat him was Jason Escalera, back in 2014. Schiller Hyppolite followed four months later. Umar Salamov shut him out last August, and then a couple weeks later he lost to Callum Smith in London. He fought again a month later, then a month after that, and then 10 days after that, to bring his current win streak to three fights. The W-L records of his last three opponents coming in were 2-62-2, 0-6-2, and 2-7.

For his career, Nemesapati is 24-0 in his native Hungry and Slovakia, and 0-4 elsewhere. He’s run up a decent looking paper record beating up scrubs on home turf. He has been outclassed against anyone remotely capable.

Matchup Grade: F. This fight is trash on fire.

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