MIAMI – Super welterweight world champion and Cuban sensation Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara (22-2-2, 13 KOs) successfully defended his title against former world champion and Slovenian Jan Zaveck (35-4, 19 KOs) in a Premier Boxing Champions on ESPN show from Miami’s Hialeah Park Racing & Casino.
Due to weather in the area, the main event was moved up to ensure the fight happened. From the opening bell, Lara controlled the action by landing heavy blows. In the third round, the ref stopped the action with Zaveck against the ropes, unable to continue. The ref called a stop to the fight at :41 into the third round.
In the second televised fight of the evening, Puerto Rican undefeated bantamweight prospect Emmanuel Rodriguez (14-0, 10 KOs) dealt a seventh round knockout to Elicer Aquino (17-2-1, 11 KOs) from the Dominican Republic.
In a contest that saw great action out of both corners, Rodriguez ultimately proved to be too much for Aquino. The official stopped the fight at 2:44 into the seventh round.
Here is what the televised fighters had to say about their performances tonight:
“I think I handled the pressure well tonight. I stayed in the pocket and fought my fight. This was a great win for me. (Zaveck) is a former champion and he’s never been knocked out until tonight.
“I’m very happy to be back fighting in the Miami area. This is my first time fighting back here since 2009 and I’m glad I was able to put on a good show for the fans. I’m very thankful for the way they showed up to support me tonight.
“I hit (Zaveck) with a great shot to the chin and froze his whole body. He was complaining about pain in his ear and his leg, but the bottom line is I got the win.
“I’ll face anyone they want to put in front of me at 154 lbs, unless it’s Canelo (Alavarez) or (Miguel) Cotto. Then we’ll go up to 160 lbs.”
“I currently have a sharp pain going from my neck to my shoulder on the right side.
“I knew I could try to fight on and land a lucky punch, but that was a small possibility and it was probably better to stop and fight another day.
“I felt good in there before that. I tried to surprise him by fighting him in close, but I was taking too many punches and he has very good power.
“I have never been injured like this before. It is very strange. The pain is surging.”
“As the fight started I could tell Aquino was a strong fighter, but once I started boxing him I knew I could end the fight in the later rounds.
“The plan was to take him into deep waters and make it a long fight. In the seventh round my corner told me to end it and I listened.
“I agree with the stoppage. He was taking too much punishment in there.
“Being a part of a PBC card on ESPN helps take my career to the next level. I’m grateful for this opportunity.
“I’ll fight whoever my promoter and manager tell me to. I’m ready for anyone.”
“(Rodriguez) was better tonight. It’s nothing more complicated than that. He was a better fighter than me. I take nothing away from him.
“I was never hurt during the fight. He was strong, but I held my ground and was never in trouble. I hit him with some good shots too. He just landed more than I did. That’s my fault.
“I wasn’t frustrated. I just ran into a great fighter and tonight was his night. I will be back. It’s just one fight and a lesson learned.”