There is no UFC mixed martial arts card this week, so the old sweet science of boxing takes center stage. And there are three title fights Saturday night from Las Vegas and televised by Showtime, with the main featuring a rematch between Erislandy Lara and Vanes Martirosyan for Lara’s WBA junior middleweight title. Lara is a -800 favorite in online betting with Martirosyan at +600. When these two last fought, it wasn’t a pretty bout. In November 2012, Lara (22-2-2, 13 KOs) and Martirosyan (36-2-1, 21 KOs) met in a world title eliminator that ended in a ninth-round technical draw. It had been really sluggish fight and then was sent to the scorecards for a technical decision when an accidental head butt caused a deep cut under Martirosyan’s left eye 26 seconds into the ninth round and he was unable to continue. One judge scored the fight 86-86, one had it 86-85 for Martirosyan and one 87-84 for Lara. By rule, judges were required to score the final 26-second round but surprisingly, it didn’t affect the outcome. The only judge who had it scored even through eight rounds, Dave Moretti, scored the final round 10-10. Lara landed 74 of 257 punches to Martirosyan’s 33 of 243, according to Compubox. Martirosyan outlanded Lara in power punches 40 to 27. “I was winning the fight easily. I was out-boxing him,” Lara said. “I was winning the last few rounds before the cut and I was on my way to stop it and then before, you know, he decided not to fight.” Lara’s trainer, Ronnie Shields, insists there was a reason the Cuban southpaw couldn’t land a telling blow. Shields says Lara suffered a sprained right hand while training for the bout, then aggravated “the back of the middle knuckle” on the hand after landing a blow in the first round. Lara is 5-1 since that fight. His lone loss was to one of the best pound-for-pound fighters alive, Canelo Alvarez, in a split decision in July 2014. It was Alvarez’s constant pressure, heavier punching and ability to cut off the ring when necessary that did the business as judges Levi Martinez (117-111) and Dave Moretti (115-113) scored it for Alvarez while Jerry Roth (115-113) had it for Lara. Lara’s power returned in his most recent fight in November, when he registered a third-round TKO of former 147-pound champion Jan Zaveck. Martirosyan has won four of six since the first Lara match, including a 10-round loss to Jermell Charlo in March 2015 and a 10-round win over Ishe Smith — a former Lara victim — last September. Two other 154-pound title bouts will round out the televised show Saturday, including Jermell Charlo and John Jackson dueling for the vacant WBC championship, while Jermall Charlo defends his IBF title against challenger — and former Lara victim — Austin Trout. Jermall Charlo is -530 in online betting vs. Trout and Jermell Charlo is -610 against Jackson. Jermall and Jermell Charlo will attempt to make boxing history by becoming the first twins to hold world titles concurrently in the same division. Twins have held world titles concurrently in the past albeit not in the same weight class.
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