February 2023 Fighter of the Month: Mauricio Lara
The U.K. for the second month in a row will see the best fighter of the month of a bout in their country, as Mauricio Lara’s knockout of Leigh Wood was the most memorable performance, to me, and should put him in one of the top spots in the featherweight division.
As I wrote about this fight prior.
I haven’t seen it fully with Mauricio Lara, but I will be the first to admit I am not a huge fan of fighters who live by the gun and die by the gun, and Lara lives and dies by his power. His KO of Josh Warrington was one of legend, and changed Warrington’s career from being a potential British legend, to a man in doubt with one big punch.
Lara did it again, stopping Leigh Wood, a man who had stolen my heart in the sport, with two underdog wins over Xu Can and Michael Conlan. Wood who has an imperfect record built himself up to be a top fighter at Matchroom Boxing, but never fully got the big push. We can debate how the fight was going prior to Lara landing the big left hook, but the punch landed and changed everything. Lara holds a nuclear launch code in his left hook, and if given permission to use it, it creates devastation.
Once it landed, Wood got to his feet, but coach Ben Davison didn’t love what he saw and quickly threw the towel in. Many hated it, but I loved it. Davison showed compassion over pride. Maybe Wood could have survived, but Lara is a scary puncher and the second-best fighter in the division, based on accolades behind Robeisy Ramirez, who is the guy in the division even without a world title.
Lara is no longer just a guy, Lara is the guy. Lara is yet another one of Sean Gibbons’ amazing fighters, who he matches perfectly to create huge opportunities.http://lukieboxing.substack.com
This essentially sums up how I feel about Lara. Lara is a reckless puncher, who can bail himself out of any situation with power, and his willingness to throw. Now we just have to see how he does at the top of the division, as it appears he will have a rematch with Leigh Wood later this year, and possibly a third fight with Josh Warrington in the not-so-distant future.
Our lead writer, Jack Kelly, had the following to say about Mauricio Lara.
Mauricio Lara scored another stunning victory in hostile territory and as a result is our ITR Boxing Fighter of the Month for February. Though Leigh Wood was boxing well in the early rounds, Lara never lost confidence and scored a seventh round stoppage in impressive fashion. He landed the perfect punch, as he faked like he was going to throw a left hook to the body and then exploded with a hook upstairs.
Though I voted for Subriel Matias to win the award, I have no problem being overruled because Lara should without a doubt get credit for not only his performance but the road he has taken to become a world champion.Jack Kelly, ITRBoxing.com
Lara’s ascent to the top of the sport is rather impressive. A hidden aspect of Lara’s ascent to fame, Sean Gibbons, who guided him masterfully to the top as well, often gets forgotten.
O’Shaquie Foster – won his first world title against a two-division world champion Rey Vargas, who was looking to become a three-division champion. Foster, in my opinion, is the current best at 130 lbs.
Subriel Matias – A monster. Someone to truly fear as you read above, but with the awkward stoppage overshadowing his win, somewhat stole this award from him. Matias is a current world champion, as he holds the IBF super lightweight world title, now we hope we can see him fight Regis Prograis.
Luis Nery – The winner of what might end up being the best fight of the year, though some wanted to award him the honor of fighter of the month, Lara slightly edged the
Liam Wilson – Despite losing to Emanuel Navarrete his knockdown of the three-division Mexican world champion, made him a notable name in the sport.
Tommy Fury – Notable since he beat Jake Paul, which will go down in history as a moment in the sport.