Showtime have officially announced the pay-per-view undercard for their May 28 show headlined by Gervonta “Tank” Davis vs Rolando Romero, and if you’ve been around a bit or even just been around a bit lately, you’re not going to be surprised by what it looks like.
In the “co-main event,” which is a ridiculous term, Erislandy Lara will return for a 12-round middleweight fight against Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan.
The 39-year-old Lara (28-3-3, 16 KO) moved up to middleweight last year and was rewarded with a vacant secondary WBA title fight against Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna, who was and is miles away from being a legitimate contender. The fight ended in 80 seconds when Lara viciously knocked out the hopelessly, absurdly over-matched LaManna.
O’Sullivan (31-4, 21 KO), a 37-year-old veteran from Ireland, is generally speaking an enjoyable fighter to watch, but he’s been wiped out by the better opponents of his career. Billy Joe Saunders shut him out over 12 rounds in 2013, Chris Eubank Jr dominated and stopped him in 2015, David Lemieux wiped him out in 2:44 in 2018, and Jaime Munguia dominated and stopped him in 2020.
He is always game, but he’s out of his depth at this sort of level, and always has been. That makes him a pretty routine recent level of opponent for Cuba’s Lara, who has faced Ramon Alvarez, Greg Vendetti, and ol’ “Cornflake” in his last three, dating back to 2019.
O’Sullivan won his last outing in May 2021, a huge victory over Nodar Robakidze in Belgium. That came 16 months after he was beaten by Munguia.
More enjoyable on paper is a matchup between rising junior middleweight prospect Jesus Ramos (18-0, 15 KO), a 21-year-old southpaw who will take on Luke Santamaria (13-2-1, 7 KO) in a good matchup that could prove tricky for Ramos. The 24-year-old Santamaria has won two straight upsets, beating a pretty shot Devon Alexander in 2021 and Jesus’ uncle Abel Ramos on Feb. 5 of this year. There’s some story here and it could be interesting, as Santamaria can be a crafty sort and could try to take advantage of the aggression of young Ramos.
Eduardo Ramirez (26-2-3, 12 KO) will open the PPV against Luis Melendez (17-1, 13 KO) in what could be a pretty damn good fight at 130 lbs, and will be important for the winner. Melendez beat Thomas Mattice on a Top Rank card last November, the best win of his career, and Ramirez is still a solid operator at age 29, coming in with four straight wins.
In other words, the first two fights on the card are not bad fights. They’re well-matched, could be interesting. It’s just the Lara-O’Sullivan matchup that stinks.