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WBA orders Gennadiy Golovkin vs Erislandy Lara, re-orders Leo Santa Cruz vs Leigh Wood

Erislandy Lara has held the secondary version of Gennadiy Golovkin’s WBA middleweight title since May 2021

Canelo Alvarez v Gennadiy Golovkin - Press Conference Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

Some fresh new rulings emerged from the decaying, excrement-caked stoma we call the WBA today. Up at 160, Gennadiy Golovkin has been ordered to face “world” champion Erislandy Lara within 120 days of his September clash with Canelo Alvarez if he intends to stay at middleweight. Down at 126, Leo Santa Cruz has 24 hours to accept a fight with Leigh Wood after the sanctioning body denied his request to unify with Rey Vargas.

Lara (29-3-3, 17 KO) technically should have gotten this opportunity a while back. He knocked out “Cornflake” LaManna for the belt in May of last year in what was, even by the WBA’s standards, an absolute joke of a matchup. Three months later, the WBA once again promised to reduce the number of titles in play after the Mykal Fox vs Gabriel Maestre debacle, only for Lara to apparently fall through the cracks.

It doesn’t really do anything for Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KO) outside of being, if you’ll activate your Broadcaster Brain for a moment, a “legends fight.” To be fair, it could be a fun clash of elite-level technicians with a willingness to slug it out. It just seems more likely to me that if Golovkin loses to Canelo, he’ll spend his twilight year(s) chasing unification.

A sanctioning body quashing a bid for unification is usually a bad thing, but not so here. Santa Cruz (38-2-1, 19 KO), who hasn’t defended his title in 3.5 years, first got the order to meet “world” champ Wood (26-2, 16 KO) in April; there was reportedly a kerfuffle over the purse split, but Gilberto Mendoza claimed that would be resolved by the end of May. [CENSORED] or get off the pot.

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