LEIGH WOOD says eight months of preparation for his fight with Mauricio Lara will give him an edge on Saturday night at the Manchester Arena.
The two featherweights met for the second time this year after Lara proved he had more power on a February night. Wood suffered a heavy knockdown in the seventh in front of his home fans at Nottingham Arena. They both threw left hooks simultaneously with 24 seconds left, but Lara landed first.
Wood got to his feet and referee Michael Alexander looked ready to let ‘Leigh-thal’ play on, but coach Ben Davison wasn’t convinced and threw in the towel.
The rematch clause was in place for Wood, and it wasn’t long before promoter Eddie Hearn was informed that he wanted another fight against the Mexican Danger.
“I’m prepared for whatever it brings,” Wood said at a recent press conference.
“The first round was difficult because we weren’t dealing with his style against my style, now we have this information and we know what he does when I do certain things. I’ve been preparing for it for almost a year in September. I know him inside out; I’m just going to go out there and prove that I’m a better fighter.”
With his 35thp birthday in less than 10 weeks Wood is in a must-win position. Another loss would be an even bigger step backwards than the first loss to Lara. The eleven-and-a-half-year career was full of ups and downs and hard fights for Wood, who waited a long time to reach the world level. Time may not be on his side to climb the ranks again.
“It’s a fight that needs to be won; there’s a lot of pressure,” he said.
“I love it, I thrive on it. Whatever it takes on Saturday night, I’m leaving with a win.
“It motivates me, I can’t lose. I can’t afford to lose. This could be the end of the road for me. It’s a long way back. That’s why I don’t think about losing, I did everything in my power to win. I’m sure of winning. I know what I have to do to win. I know what I can’t afford.”