Erislandy Lara did pretty much what everyone figured he would do tonight, dominating an over-matched Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan en route to an eighth round stoppage by referee Benjy Esteves Jr.
O’Sullivan (31-5, 21 KO) was “game,” as he always is when matched like this, but “terribly out-gunned,” as he always is when matched like this. The 37-year-old Irish battler was dropped in round four, hurt badly at the end of round seven, and stopped early in the eighth as soon as he got hurt again. He was never really in the fight.
Lara (29-3-3, 17 KO) is certainly past his prime at age 39 and fighting above his best weight at 160, but he has adjusted to the aging process, moving less and sitting down on punches more than he used to do.
But it’s also time to see Lara in against a decent opponent again. This was his fourth straight terribly one-sided matchup, both on paper and in the ring. It’s just not interesting to watch him in fights like this, especially as these have followed probably the two most entertaining bouts of his career in 2018 and 2019 against Jarrett Hurd and Brian Castano.
Jesus Ramos UD-10 Luke Santamaria
I said when this fight was announced that it was the exact right sort of fight for Ramos, the 21-year-old junior middleweight prospect. Santamaria is better than his record, a crafty guy who can go rounds and also be in there trying to win, and there was some story in Santamaria beating Jesus’ uncle Abel Ramos in February, too.
We got the fight I expected. Ramos (19-0, 15 KO) took scores of 97-93, 97-93, and 98-92 for the win, but Santamaria (13-3-1, 7 KO) gave him some great work and plenty that Jesus can learn from going forward. This was an outstandingly valuable fight for a young fighter. I know that’s not what everyone wants to see on a PPV undercard, but who are we kidding about the alternative options for what PPV undercards actually are and have been for decades now?
Bad Left Hook had it 96-94 and 97-93 for Ramos on our unofficial cards, as well.
Santamaria, 24, clearly should not be fighting at 154, and already plans to go back to 147, where he’ll be a neat little wild card for the PBC stable still. I think with the job he did tonight, they owe him a legit decent fight next; someone like Sergey Lipinets, maybe, would be a good fit.
For Ramos, he moves forward. Don’t expect him to be matched with the top guys at 154 this year, but PBC have a wealth of fighters around the weight for him to keep growing against. He’s a good prospect.
Eduardo Ramirez MD-10 Luis Melendez
A decent fight, very competitive, and the winner fair. Scores were 95-95 and then 96-94 and 98-92 for Ramirez. I think 98-92 is a hair wider than most anyone had it, and I had it 97-93 for Ramirez, while Wil had it 96-94 in his favor.
The real difference came in the last four rounds, at least for me, as Ramirez (27-2-3, 12 KO) is accustomed to 10 and 12 round distances, and Melendez (17-2, 13 KO) just isn’t. That experience difference showed, as Ramirez was able to keep and even at times pick up his pace, while Melendez’s attempts to be really slick started failing and getting him clipped more often.
But Melendez, 24, is not done just because of a competitive loss here. This is a guy young enough to get better; he faded a bit against Thomas Mattice in an eight-round decision win last November, too, so maybe it’s going to be a consistent problem, but he can at the very least hang with a guy like Ramirez, who at 29 is a solid, edge of the top 10 sort of guy at 130 lbs.
Prelims results and highlights
- Luis Arias UD-10 Jimmy Williams (99-91, 99-91, 99-91)
- Jalil Hackett TKO-2 Jose Belloso (2:20)