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HBO Boxing After Dark Preview: Martirosyan vs. Lara, Garcia vs. Barros

By: William Holmes

HBO presents a Boxing After Dark card on Saturday, November 10th in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Wynn Casino. Vanes Martirosyan and Erislandy Lara will be the main event in the junior middleweight division and Miguel Angel “Mikey” Garcia and Jonathan Barros will be fighting in the junior lightweight division.

Both Martirosyan and Lara will be looking to impress with the hopes of landing a big pay day against one of the junior middleweight divisions’ champions, and both have the ability to become future champions themselves.

Vanes Martirosyan (32-0) vs. Erislandy Lara (17-1-1); Junior Middleweight

Martirosyan is an Armenian-American boxer who was a member of 2004 US Olympic Boxing Team and a former Golden Gloves Champion. He’s also trained by Freddie Roach and turned professional in 2005. Yet Saturday night will be the first real test in Martirosyan’s career.

Martirosyan has 20 KO/TKO’s on his record, but the only person he ever defeated of note was a decision victory over Kassim Ouma in 2010, a fight which saw Martirosyan go down in the 9th round. He was the first person to hand Joe Greene a loss in 2010, but Greene had an inflated record and has only fought twice since then, against opponents with a record of 4-9 and 9-25.

At least Martirosyan has kept busy defeating mid-level opponents, and three of his last four fights have resulted in a stoppage, but his ceiling is still relatively unknown.

Erislandy Lara is a tricky southpaw that most professional boxers want to avoid. He’s slick and extremely difficult to figure out. Lara was the 2005 amateur world champion at welterweight, but he has never competed in the Olympics.

Lara attempted to defect from Cuba to the United States in 2007, but was caught and returned to Cuba. He made a second attempt in 2008 and succeeded.

Lara turned professional in 2008 and has kept extremely busy since then and has clearly fought the better competition in comparison to Martirosyan. He’s defeated Grady Brewer, Ronald Hearns, Freddy Hernandez, and fought Carlos Molina to a close majority draw.

Lara really made his name known with a disputed majority decision loss to Paul Williams in 2011 in Atlantic City. Williams was outclassed and outworked by Lara, but the judges erroneously scored the fight in favor of Williams.

This is a highly intriguing match-up and between two world class fighters. Martirosyan’s lack of experience against top notch competition will hinder him on Saturday and the edge has to go to Lara.

Miguel Angel “Mikey” Garcia (29-0) vs. Jonathan Barros (34-3-1); Junior Lightweight

Mikey Garcia has spent most of his career fighting in the featherweight division, and has only recently bumped up to the junior lightweight division. His opponent, Jonathan Barros, has also spent a majority of his career in the featherweight division.

Garcia is an undefeated fighter who won the 2004 National Junior Golden Gloves Championships. He turned pro in 2006 and has 25 KO/TKO’s out of his 29 victories. He has stopped his last seven opponents.

He doesn’t have a big name on his resume, but he has defeated the likes of Bernabe Concepcion, Rafael Guzman and Matt Remillard. He’s known to switch from an orthodox stance to a southpaw stance in the middle of a fight and he comes from a boxing family, so his technique is sound.

Jonathan Victor Barros is a former WBA Featherweight title holder, but he seems to come up short when he challenges a big name opponent. He suffered his first defeat at the hands of Yuriorkis Gamboa in 2010 and split a pair of fights with Celestino Caballero. He lost his last bout against Juan Carlos Salgado for the IBF Super Featherweight title.

His career appears to be on a recent down-slide, as he has lost two of his last three bouts. He also doesn’t have the power that Garcia has. 18 of his 34 victories have come by way of KO/TKO.

The most notable fact on Barros’ record is that he has never fought in the United States. A majority of the Argentinian’s fights have occurred in South America, and this will be the first time he’s fought in Las Vegas.

Can Barros handle the pressure of fighting on the big stage on national television? It seems highly unlikely.

Mikey Garcia should clean the floor with Barros and win easily. Anything less will be a major disappointment for Garcia.

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