Erislandy Lara didn’t impress anyone tonight, probably, but he retained his secondary WBA “world” junior middleweight title with a clear decision win over Greg Vendetti in a forgettable PBC on FOX main event from Los Angeles.
Lara (27-3-3, 15 KO) was content to cruise most of the night, taking no risks and never pressing the action against the far over-matched Vendetti (22-4-1, 12 KO), whose previous step up in competition saw him knocked out by Michel Soro inside of two rounds in 2018.
Lara, 37, is hoping now to face the winner of next month’s Jermell Charlo vs Jeison Rosario bout, which could happen, but this was the sort of fight that might push either man to pass on Lara. He still looked tricky and crafty, but he also looked downright dull, going back to the sort of style he’s used in the past in various wins, rather than a few nights over the last five years where he’s just gone in and smashed an inferior opponent.
Credit to Vendetti, 30, who tried his very best all night but simply didn’t have the tools to figure out the Lara puzzle, which isn’t quite what it was at his peak, but he’s still a sound, effective, and clever southpaw boxer, and that was just too much for the challenger, who barely landed anything of significance, though scores on the official cards — 116-112, 117-111, and 117-111 — were closer than our 119-109 card for Lara. You can sort of understand that, as Lara didn’t do much in a lot of rounds, and Vendetti at least was usually coming forward.
- Vladimir Hernandez UD-10 Alfredo Angulo: The decision isn’t what I have a problem with, but I do take some issue with unanimous scores of 98-92 for Hernandez, who was a very short notice opponent replacing Caleb Truax. Angulo was slow, so was Hernandez. Hernandez threw a lot of shots, Angulo threw more. Hernandez landed a lot of shots, Angulo landed more. Angulo landed harder shots. Angulo landed a significant amount more power punches, particularly to the body. Angulo started slow for about a round and a half before he was right there with Hernandez, and then out-landed him the rest of the way by a fair margin. Anyway, I had this 96-94 for the 38-year-old Angulo (26-8, 21 KO), who is slow even compared to how slow he always has been, but still an absolute warrior with an iron chin. Credit to Hernandez (12-4, 6 KO) for a magnificent effort and a war with Angulo, it was a brutal fight in terms of pace and punches landed, even if both guys didn’t seem to have much zip on the old fastball anymore. The one good thing about this is it means we will absolutely not be seeing Angulo get thrashed by Caleb Plant, which was always a repugnant idea.
- Abram Martinez D-8 Luis Arcon: Two unbeaten junior welterweight prospects go to a reasonable draw. Arcon (10-0-1, 10 KO) was down in the second round, but evened that up with a knockdown of Martinez (8-0-1, 6 KO) with just seconds left in the eighth and final round. Scores were 75-75, plus a 76-74 card going each way, resulting in the split draw, and Arcon saved himself from a loss with that late knockdown. The 24-year-old Martinez and 28-year-old Arcon will both be seen again for sure.