By Jake Tiernan: WBA featherweight champion Mauricio Lara says he wants to knock out Leigh Wood faster than the last time the two meet in a rematch on Saturday night May 27 at the AO Arena in Manchester, England.
Lara knocked out Wood (26-3, 16 KOs) in the seventh round last February and the reason for their quick reunion is because Leigh triggered his rematch clause to force a second fight.
Wood, 34, could have let Lara take on Josh Warrington first and then he would have scored the winner. This would have been a smart move as it would have given Wood more time to recover from his brutal knockout loss to Lara.
It would also give Wood a potential fight against Warrington should he emerge victorious over Lara.
“There was a lot of hard work in the gym. There were no holidays. I come here to cement what I did last time,” said Mauricio Lara iFL TV about his rematch with Leigh Wood this Saturday night.
“Yes, I was surprised, but Leigh Wood is someone who doesn’t give up. He’s an elite boxer and he wanted a rematch and I can understand that,” Lara said when asked if he was surprised that Wood took the rematch so quickly.
“I think last time he said he was going to knock me out in the sixth round and I knocked him out in the seventh round. We can all say things outside the ring, but it’s what happens inside the ring that counts.
“This time I want to go and knock him out early and we will go out looking for a first-round knockout. I am always welcome when I come to the UK. I feel that this country is my second home.
“I will not look beyond the opponent. I have to be totally focused on Leigh Wood. I want to cement the victory I had last time. Then I sit down with my promoters and think about what the best option is.
“Of course, as I’ve said before, this is personal with him, so let’s go,” Lara said of Josh Warrington. “We always talk about things in a sporting sense, but Josh Warrington goes beyond that. We have history, so we’ve come a long way in terms of sporting competition.
“Leigh Wood is completely different. It will end in a knockout and end in eight rounds. They will see the best version of me and I will still be world champion,” Lara said.
“You see two of the best in the division battling Saturday night in Wood against Lara,” Eddie Hearn told Second exit. “Of course Leigh beat Mick Conlan. Lopez is also a great fighter. Lopez-Conlan is a great fight.
“Something about Leigh Wood. He has a look in his eyes like he’s about to get things done on a Saturday night. When I had it in the office after the defeat. I really expected Josh Warrington to fight Mauricio Lara for the title.
“Leigh had a right to a rematch, and he had a right to wait for that fight (Lara vs. Warrington trilogy) and let the winner fight. I think it’s amazing considering the way it’s all played out and he (Wood) showed heart and courage to take this fight so soon after he was stopped (last February by Lara) .
“The fight itself wasn’t brutal. It was really one shot, and when you talk about (Wood’s coach) Ben Davison’s decision.
“It could have led to this fight so quickly because if he had taken more penalties and got seriously injured in that fight, he would never have been on that date, or maybe that rematch just evaporated.
“I think it’s a fascinating fight, a very dangerous fight. I think you’ll see Mauricio Lara come out like a train. I think it will be very dangerous. I think he will try to end the fight sooner. As I said. Something about Leigh Wood makes me think he can do business on Saturday,” said Hearn.