Mauricio Lara once again faces Leigh Wood to settle the score once and for all, and Lara’s WBA featherweight title is on the line in this 12-round clash from the AO Arena in Manchester, England.
Lara used his formidable power to bail himself out just as it seemed Wood was about to beat him in their first fight, and this one is expected to be just as competitive.
Boxing odds have Lara the favorite at -310, while Wood returns as a +230 underdog. Here are my picks and predictions for Lara vs. Wood from Manchester.
Mauricio Lara vs Leigh Wood odds
|Method of victory||Mauricio Lara||Leigh Wood|
|Win by KO/TKO||-200||+700|
|Win by points or decision||+950||+430|
Odds courtesy of FanDuel as of May 27, 2023.
Mauricio Lara vs Leigh Wood betting predictions
Picks made on May 27. Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
Not intended for use in MA.
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Mauricio Lara vs Leigh Wood betting preview
When these two fought three months ago, Wood was winning comfortably until he made a grave tactical error to engage Lara in close quarters. That small slip up gave Lara — perhaps the hardest puncher at featherweight — an opening to land the left hook that immediately ended the fight. Until that point, Wood was boxing beautifully and disarming the explosive Lara until he didn’t.
Lara lost every round before the stoppage but showed how dangerous he is. His power is brutish and accurate, and he can end fights with his touch of death or by exhausting his opponent with his clubbing shots. Though Lara appears to be raw, he’s beaten solid fighters and has earned the distinction of being considered the best fighter in the division.
Conventional wisdom dictates that Lara will be more dangerous now, especially as Wood will have to use the same hit-and-run game plan he used before the stoppage. With Wood expected to tighten up, and perhaps not being 100% recovered from the previous knockout, Lara must find a way to open Wood up. If Wood is overly careful, he risks getting outworked — though any reckless offense will see him getting stopped once more.
Wood is a tenacious, well-rounded fighter. He showed heart after nearly getting stopped by Michael Conlan in the first round of their fight, eventually knocking Conlan out of the ring in the final round. Against Lara, he displayed solid boxing up until the point where he was stopped. Though Wood has shown some craftiness and respectable power of his own, he’d be foolish to try and out-will Lara in a fistfight.
Truth be told, Wood was fighting the best fight of his career until the stoppage. It will be a tall order if the 34-year-old can replicate what we saw in that bout. There really isn’t any other way for him to win unless he can keep Lara on the outside, flustering his offense and avoiding the superior firepower of the champion for 12 rounds.
Wood’s craftiness needs to offset Lara’s youth and aggression. While he was able to keep Lara at bay for the duration of their bout, he’ll inevitably need to stand his ground and fight Lara off him. Simply put, Wood needs to fight the perfect fight to win.
Mauricio Lara vs Leigh Wood boxing prediction and best bet
Prediction: Lara ML
The only thing Wood can do to try and confuse Lara is to go at him head on. That would be suicidal, so he’ll need to stick to the plan from the first fight, which is fresh in Lara’s mind. As rough as Lara is, he isn’t a dumb fighter, and he should be better prepared for Wood’s strategy.
The fact that Wood is taking this fight so soon after a rough knockout doesn’t help his chances. All of this points to Lara retaining his title.
Prediction: Lara moneyline (-310 at DraftKings)
Best Bet: Lara by KO/TKO/DQ
Not only should Lara repeat, but he should win even faster. Fighters like Lara are only harder to deal with the second time around, being more dangerous knowing better what to expect from their opponent. I like Lara to emphatically close the book on Wood, and win by KO.
Prediction: Lara by KO/TKO/DQ (-215 at DraftKings)