Lara Outclasses Vendetti
By Caryn A. Tate on August 29, 2020
It’s fantastic to see an elite martial artist ply his trade. (Sean Michael Ham/TGB Promotions)
Premier Boxing Champions presented another event live on FOX on Saturday, from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. There were no fans in attendance.
In the main event, former longtime junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara (27-3-3, 15 KOs) faced Greg Vendetti (22-4-1, 12 KOs) in a 12-round contest. Vendetti was, of course, a big underdog. But Lara is now 37, his legs aren’t what they once were, and Vendetti is a pretty good fighter.
There was a time when Lara would have used his superior footwork to simply keep Vendetti at bay, but he’s not able to do that anymore. Instead, he used angles, intelligence (by anticipating well what Vendetti was going to do), counters, and sharp, accurate punching.
Early on, Vendetti had his moments and definitely made a good attempt to win the fight. He had the right gameplan: try to barrel in and rough up the older fighter. He landed a couple of good, clean hooks on Lara—partly, I think, because of the odd angles he likes to throw from, which made it harder for Lara to anticipate some of his shots.
But a few rounds in, Lara seemed to have figured his man out and began dropping his lead hand as he often does when he’s confident. He began making Vendetti miss even more, and Lara threw beautiful, sharp counters that made Vendetti think twice about returning fire.
As always, Erislandy Lara put on a beautiful performance despite being older. It’s fantastic to see an elite martial artist ply his trade.
Vendetti was able to make it all 12 rounds in a one-sided contest. Lara did mostly whatever he wanted. The official judges’ scorecards read 116-112 and two of 117-111.
Super middleweight Alfredo Angulo (26-8, 21 KOs) took on late replacement Vladimir Hernandez (12-4, 6 KOs) in a 10-round bout. Caleb Truax was supposed to face Angulo tonight, but he pulled out on Friday due to the effects of dehydration. Thankfully, with the COVID-19 pandemic situation, PBC and FOX have backup fighters ready in case anyone tests positive for COVID-19 or, in this case, becomes ill for another reason.
Hernandez started fast, throwing a lot of punches and landing almost as many. Angulo is now 38 and has been in many wars, and his slow hands and reaction time showed that tonight. The old adage is “Power is the last thing to go,” and that also seems to be true for Angulo. He’s still dangerous because he can really punch, and his experience is a tremendous asset that gives him a leg up on a lot of younger fighters.
Hernandez, a southpaw, landed uppercuts in particular almost at will early on. Angulo took them and kept coming. As the rounds went on, Angulo started going more and more to the body, a very smart strategy against a late replacement opponent. Angulo switched stances at times throughout.
The strategy worked. Hernandez began slowing in the middle rounds, throwing less and moving more—and taking more punches. Angulo became more active. Hernandez fought valiantly, but he seemed to have a man in front of him who wouldn’t go down and wasn’t slowing down.
The body shots Angulo invested earlier in the fight really began to pay off in the last few rounds. When he would go back downstairs, Hernandez showed obvious pain. Hernandez hung in there though, and increased his work rate a bit again. Several of the rounds in the fight were swing rounds that could go either way—it often became a question of Hernandez’s number of punches landed or Angulo’s more effective shots.
A “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots” type of fight, it went to the scorecards. All three judges had it 98-92 for Hernandez.
The first fight on the card was an 8-rounder between junior welterweights Abram Martinez (8-0-1, 6 KOs) and Luis Arcon (10-0-1, 10 KOs). It was a competitive fight for two young, undefeated prospects—a nice fight to see on network television as an opener.
Martinez scored a knockdown in round two courtesy of a hook. Arcon came in too aggressively at times, perhaps thanks to his prior 100% knockout rate, and he would get caught sometimes. Martinez boxed very well, and I felt won more rounds, though Arcon was competitive and they were relatively close rounds.
In the last round, Arcon turned things around by dropping Martinez with a hook to the chin followed by a clean right hand. Martinez appeared stunned by the hook and then was unable to get out of the way of the right, and he was hurt. But he made the count and the round ended—the fight went to the cards.
The judges had it 76-74 for Martinez, 76-74 for Arcon, and another of 75-75. It was a split draw, a fair result.