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21 MAY 2018

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Martirosyan, Lara Fight to Disputed Technical Draw


Mike Sloan – When it was all said and done, there are still far too many questions left unanswered following the exciting brawl between unbeaten Armenian-American Vanes Martirosyan and Cuban defector Erislandy Lara. The two headlined an HBO: Boxing After Dark card inside the LaFite Ballroom in Wynn Las Vegas, but neither man walked out of the ring the victor.


As it turned out, the two super middleweights fought to a disputed nine round technical draw after an unfortunate clash of heads opened a nasty laceration on the left eyelid/brow of Martirosyan. The fight was immediately called once referee Jay Nady discussed the cut with the ringside physician, ending what was shaping up to be an otherwise thrilling main event of a solid night of boxing.


Vanes struggled early on because Lara’s catlike footwork and clever counter punching gave him all sorts of issues. Vanes was by far the more aggressive man, but his charges typically came up empty; he couldn’t hit Lara cleanly at all.


On the flip side, Lara wasn’t an aggressive fighter and opted to back away the entire time but he landed several sneaky counter right hooks and powerful straight lefts. Vanes grew more and more frustrated early on and after a low blow and quasi guillotine choke in the third and fourth rounds, Vanes’ anger almost got the best of him.


Lara set traps with his cobra-like right hand but once Freddy Roach calmed “Nightmare” down, he began chipping away at Lara’s defense. Vanes landed a beautiful lead right hand early in the seventh which opened a minor cut above the Cuban’s left eye. Martirosyan plugged away and eventually it was he who was in control.


Lara regrouped in the eighth, though, and appeared to snatch back control with his beautiful counter left hands, but the fight was still anybody’s at that point. With so much more time to declare a true winner left in the contest, neither man seemed too desperate.


However, everything changed 20 seconds into the ninth when they clashed heads. When the duel was halted and it went to the scorecards, there was debate throughout the media section as to who deserved to win. Some had Martirosyan, others had Lara. In the end, neither of the three ringside judges could agree as they declared it a technical draw. One had it 86-85 for Martirosyan, another saw it 87-84 for Lara, while the third scored it 86-86. scored in favor of Lara 88-84.


“It was a close fight but he ran all night,” a disappointed and irritated Martirosyan said in the ring. “This is not the amateurs, this is the professionals. He can’t run all night. Freddy told me to keep putting pressure on him.”


Martirosyan wasn’t about to praise his foe, either. The way the fight ended and how Lara fought perturbed Vanes.


“He was kind of a dirty fighter,” he quipped. “He hit me with low blows, he kept coming in with his head. Our plan was to come on late because he gets tired, but unfortunately the headbutt came.”


Since he didn’t walk away with a win, his quest for a world title shot has been put on hold, but that didn’t seem to bother Martirosyan all that much. Instead, he said, he has unfinished business with a man he now considers his rival.


“As soon as the cut heals and the stitches come out, 100% I want a rematch,” Vanes declared, much to the delight of Lara.


“Yes, 100% I’ll give him a rematch,” Lara stated. “I’ll continue it fight now. He was going down.”


When asked about Vanes labeling him a dirty fighter, the former amateur star defended himself vehemently, demanding his opponent look at the facts.


“There were some low blows,” Lara chirped, “but they’ve never taken a point from me in my entire life.”


Lara is still considered by many to be undefeated, but in his two biggest fights he was not declared the winner. He lost a questionable decision to Paul Williams and now tonight he was given a draw in a fight he felt he won.


“Remember: this is a Top Rank card and he is one of their fighters,” Lara grumbled. “I officially won this bout. The bad luck with all my fights is that they weren’t with my promoters.”


Whether Martirosyan and Lara will fight each other next remains to be seen, but the general consensus from ringside is that will most likely happen.

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