Wood vs Lara Odds: Preview, Predictions & Betting Tips For Saturday’s Big Fight
Leigh Wood vs Mauricio Lara Predictions:
Local hero Leigh Wood will put his WBA featherweight title belt on the line when he takes on Mexico’s Mauricio Lara in Nottingham on Saturday.
Wood has an impressive 26-2 record since making his debut back in 2011, but betting sites make him the clear underdog for this fight.
He faces a formidable opponent in Lara, a 24-year-old knockout machine who put Josh Warrington to the sword in 2021.
Lara is the 2/5 favourite to win the bout, while you can find a market leading 9/4 at 888sport on Wood pulling off another big upset.
He will be roared on by passionate home support at the Motorpoint Arena on Saturday night, and he says he is relishing his underdog status.
One thing Wood guarantees is entertainment, as he has a never-say-die attitude, so it promises to be an enthralling battle.
The Remarkable Rise Of Leigh Wood
Wood spent the first decade of his career fighting unheralded opponents at leisure centres across the Midlands and Yorkshire.
In 2020, he slumped to a disappointing defeat at the hands of fellow British featherweight Jazza Dickens at York Hall.
It was the second defeat of his career, and it threatened to kill off his chances of ever climbing to the top of his division.
He then made a pivotal decision to link up with Ben Davison, who previously trained Tyson Fury, and it dramatically changed his trajectory.
Wood immediately bounced back by knocking out Reece Mould in the ninth round of their British featherweight title fight.
“I’ve worked with a lot of the top fighters in the UK and, pound-for-pound, Leigh Wood is by far the hardest puncher,” said Davison in an interview with the Irish News.
That win earned Wood a title shot, and he managed to beat Xu Can via a 12th round knockout in Eddie Hearn’s back garden during the height of lockdown.
A Stunning Comeback Victory
Wood’s first title defence came in March 2022, when he faced the unbeaten Michael Conlan at Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham.
It was a fight for the ages. Wood was knocked down in the first round, and Conlan dominated the first half of the absorbing bout.
However, Wood displayed great tenacity and durability to claw his way back into the fight.
He was behind on all three scorecards in the 12th round, but he summoned up the energy to knock Conlan out with just 1:35 left on the clock - upsetting the odds on the best online betting sites for boxing as result.
Conlan went flying through the ropes and had to be taken to hospital for checks.
The Ring magazine named it Fight of the Year 2022, and Wood also won Knockout of the Year for his devastating blow.
Lara Brands Wood “A Chicken”
Wood was ordered to fight WBA “Super” featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz, but negotiations fell through leaving Wood as the sole champion in the division.
He was also scheduled to fight Lara last year, but it had to be postponed after Wood suffered torn biceps during sparring.
Lara called Wood “a chicken” and said he “couldn’t prove his injury from when we were supposed to fight last year, he just didn’t want to fight.”
There are no excuses now, and a sell-out crowd will watch Wood wage war in Nottingham this weekend.
Lara Confident of Beating Wood
Lara is best known on these shores for his stunning knockout win against the previously unbeaten Warrington at Wembley Arena a couple of years ago.
Warrington went into the fight as the 1/25 favourite, but Lara knocked him down in the fourth round and finished him off following a barrage of left hooks in the ninth.
Their rematch at Headingley in Leeds ended in a technical draw after Lara was cut from an accidental head clash.
Since then, Lara has beaten Emilio Sanchez and José Sanmartin, taking his record to 25-2-1. His only defeats came when he was a raw teenager, and he is currently on a 15-fight unbeaten streak.
In that time, only two fighters - Jose Calyecac and Sergio Puente - have gone the distance with him, but they were not 12-round bouts.
Lara’s power is devastating, and he has proven himself to be undaunted by fighting in the UK.
He insists that Wood is “damaged” by the punishment he suffered against Conlan last year, and he is confident in his ability to win the fight.
As such he is rated by BetVictor at just 8/13 to beat Wood by KO, TKO or DQ.
It is worth noting that Lara boasts a lot more power than Conlan. He is 10 years younger than Wood, but he already fights and acts like a seasoned veteran, and he could ultimately prove too strong for the Nottingham fighter on Saturday.
Wood has a terrific engine and he refuses to stay down when hit, so this may not end quickly.
However, Lara should eventually get the job done and over 5.5 rounds at 11/10 with betting apps might just be worth a cheeky flutter.
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