Erislandy Lara retained his WBA middleweight title | Premier Boxing Champions/Prime Video

Erislandy Lara and Julio Cesar Martinez made successful title defenses.

Erislandy Lara didn’t take long in his return to action, knocking out Michael Zerafa late in the second round to retain his WBA middleweight title.

Lara (30-3-3, 18 KO) dropped the Aussie challenger on a left hand, and Zerafa (31-5, 19 KO) made it pretty visibly clear on the canvas that he was done, shaking his head no. Zerafa did get up, but he was in no condition to continue.

Referee Allen Huggins stopped the fight at 2:59 of round two, ruling a knockout.

Lara, who will turn 41 on April 11, hadn’t fought in just under two years. He looked sharp, and though he’s had a few wars in his career, he still looks pretty fresh. He’s definitely not in prime condition anymore because that’s just impossible, but in a shallow and talent-bereft middleweight division, the Cuban technician would be hard to totally count out against anyone else at 160.

That said, Zerafa, 32, was not exactly a high-ranking contender unless you happen to work for the WBA, and in reality he continues a run of very safe opposition for Lara that dates back to 2019 at this point.

Most likely, PBC will revisit (yet again) the idea for Lara to face former 140 and 147 lb titleholder Danny Garcia, who hasn’t fought since 2022 but wants to win a world title in a third weight class, and doesn’t seem interested in doing it at 154 lbs.

Lara vs Garcia has been repeatedly explored, possibly at a 155 lb contract weight for Lara’s 160 lb belt.

Martinez retains flyweight title by majority decision

Julio Cesar Martinez kept the WBC flyweight title with a sixth successful defense, but just barely.

Martinez (21-3, 15 KO) beat Angelino Cordova by majority decision, with judges turning in a 113-113 card and then two 114-112 Martinez scores. Bad Left Hook unofficially had the fight 115-111 and 116-110 for Martinez.

Martinez scored a pair of knockdowns in round three, but did have his trouble with Cordova (18-1-1, 12 KO), who boxed quite well in stretches and took advantage of a diminished output from Martinez in the middle rounds.

Cordova and his team may be kicking themselves for possibly giving away the 12th round, with Cordova seemingly operating under the belief that he was comfortably winning the fight despite the knockdowns. In the end, he actually won one card, seven rounds to five, and the other two were even, six to six, but the knockdowns made the difference and got Martinez’s hand raised.

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