Former world champion Erislandy ‘The American Dream’ Lara 26-3-3 (15) won the vacant WBA ‘regular’ junior middleweight title with a second-round knockout of Ramon ‘Inocente’ Alvarez 28-8-3 (16) at The Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Saturday night.
During the second frame Lara unloaded on Alvarez and the Mexican veteran was given a mandatory eight count before the 36-year-old Cuban southpaw forced the stoppage with his follow-up barrage.
Referee Mark Nelson waved off the contest at the 2:03 mark of the second stanza.
The title was on the line for Lara alone after the brother of Mexican middleweight superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez weighed in 4.6 pounds over the junior middleweight limit. Alvarez entered the ring eight pounds heavier than Lara at 177-pounds to Lara’s 169-pounds.
The fight delivered a measure of revenge for Lara, who lost a disputed 12-round split decision to ‘Canelo’ Alvarez five years earlier.
“Having this belt back on my shoulder feels great,” said Lara to Fightnews. “It means the world to be champion again. I felt like in my past fights I didn’t lose, and that stings a bit, but to come back and win the title feels great. I’m back.”
Lara said he was disappointed with the lack of durability of the 33-year-old Alvarez but praised the referee for his well-timed stoppage.
“Once I had him against the ropes, I knew I had it won and I didn’t want to give him another power punch to hurt him,” Lara continued.
“We expected him to be a little more durable. I thought it was a good stoppage. I hurt him with a lot of shots before I put him down the first time. I hit him real flush with one and I would have gone in for the kill. It was a great job by the referee.”
Alvarez didn’t dispute the timing of the stoppage.
“I respect the referee’s decision. I’m going to keep working. It is what it is. I fell down, but I will get up again,” Alvarez said.
As for the future, Lara said he was happy to fight any of the top names in or around the 154-pound division.
“I’ll fight anyone in the division. I do want to fight the best boxers out there in the division or go up or down a division to fight Errol Spence Jr. or rematch Canelo Alvarez,” he said.