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Leigh Wood v Mauricio Lara: Industry Picks

We gauge the pre-fight thoughts of 13 boxing fighters and trainers as Leigh Wood and Mauricio Lara get set to collide in Nottingham on Saturday night.

11 months ago, Leigh Wood overcame Michael Conlan in a stunning triumph to retain hold of his prized WBA featherweight title and earn unanimous acclaim as the 2022 Fight of the Year.

That night in Nottingham, a thunderous atmosphere was the soundtrack for an enthralling and epic battle which had everything a boxing fan could wish for. 

Wood (2/1), the WBA Featherweight champion, strides confidently into the same Nottingham Arena this weekend desperate for a repeat performance. 

His challenger – Mauricio Lara (4/11) – is a Mexican dynamo and one of the most dangerous fighters in the division, who is looking to spoil the party and take the 126-pound strap back across the Atlantic.

The boxing industry is predicting fireworks and another 'Fight of the Year' contender, but who are they picking to prevail? Our boxing writer Shaun Brown has sought opinions from expert minds to give their take. 
 

Callum Smith 
(Former Super-Middleweight world champion) 

I think it’s a great fight, and credit to Leigh Wood for taking it as a voluntary. I hate going against one of our own, but I think Mauricio Lara wins a really exciting fight."

Leigh Wood 'To Win Fight' - 2/1
 

Gary Lockett 
(Boxing trainer)

What a great fight this promises to be. My prediction is for Leigh Wood to come through some sticky moments and outbox Mauricio Lara for a points win.

Leigh Wood 'By Decision or Technical Decision' - 15/2
 

Duke McKenzie 
(Former three-weight world champion)

My gut feeling is that Mauricio Lara KO’s Leigh Wood. Wood's best chance is to outbox him, but we know that’s not his style. Lara will give Wood the early rounds then come on strong from the 5th onwards and it should be all over by the 10th.

Mauricio Lara 'By KO, TKO or Disqualification' - 8/15
 

Matthew Macklin 
(Former World Middleweight title challenger) 

I think Leigh Wood wins it on points, but he’s got to stay sharp for the whole fight. He can’t afford to switch off or lose concentration because Lara will be dangerous for the whole 12 rounds.

Leigh Wood 'By Decision or Technical Decision' - 15/2
 

Gamal Yafai 
(Former European super-bantamweight champion) 

I think Leigh Wood absolutely cleans Mauricio Lara out!

Leigh Wood 'By Knockout' - 10/1
 

Liam Davies 
(British and European Super-Bantamweight champion)

My prediction for the fight is Mauricio Lara by KO inside six rounds. Leigh Wood showed great heart when beating Michael Conlan last year, but also displayed how vulnerable he is. For me, Lara is a much bigger puncher.

Mauricio Lara 'Rounds 1-6' - 13/10
 

More Leigh Wood v Mauricio Lara Build-Up

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Denzel Bentley 
(British Middleweight champion) 

I think Mauricio Lara wins by stoppage. Leigh Wood has a massive heart and good punching power, but Lara is relentless and hurt Josh Warrington which surprised me. Lara is fresh, relentless and has good power, and I think that helps him win.

Mauricio Lara 'By KO, TKO or Disqualification' - 8/15
 

Jason Cunningham 
(Former British and European Super-Bantamweight champion) 

I think it’ll be a great fight while it lasts, but only see it ending by a KO. I’ll go with a Leigh Wood stoppage victory.

Leigh Wood 'By KO, TKO or Disqualification' - 7/2
 

Gary Cully 
(World Lightweight contender)

Leigh Wood wins this fight by KO!

Leigh Wood 'By Knockout' - 10/1
 

Jamie Conlan 
(Former World Super-Flyweight title challenger) 

If Leigh Wood is smart for the first four rounds, he can knock Mauricio Lara out before the eighth. Lara leaves openings in his defence when he’s punching wildly and Wood has better fundamentals, so can slow Lara down with missed punches. If it’s a shootout like both are promising, then anyone could go. It is a legitimate 50/50!

Fight to end in a Draw - 14/1
 

Jon Pegg 
(Boxing trainer) 

I'm going to go with Leigh Wood to win a hard-fought tight decision.

Leigh Wood 'By Split Decision' - 25/1
 

Jazza Dickens 
(IBO Featherweight champion) 

My shout is for Leigh Wood to scrape through with a points win for me. Hopefully, we can then set up a rematch.

Leigh Wood 'By Majority Decision' - 50/1
 

Kal Yafai 
(Former Super-Flyweight world champion) 

I'm going for a Leigh Wood to win by stoppage between rounds six and nine. 

Leigh Wood 'Rounds 7-9' - 12/1
 

Wood v Lara Verdict:

Leigh Wood to win - Eight
Mauricio Lara to win - Four
Undecided - One
 

Shaun's Shout:

It would feel like a boxing miracle if this fight were to go 12 rounds given the punch power both men possess!

I agree with Jamie Conlan that Leigh Wood can slow Mauricio Lara down with missed shots, but his own defensive work must be the best it has ever been. 

There is definite value in the 7/2 on offer for Wood to win 'By KO, TKO or Disqualification'

Lara has never gone beyond the 10th round in a fight, while Wood has proven he can carry real punching power late into fights, which is why, for me, Wood to win between 'Rounds 9-12' carries plenty of appeal at 12/1.

For Lara backers, I believe his best chance to win is likely in the first half of the fight and the Boosted price of 11/1 for the Mexican to win in round three looks a decent shot.

All odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.
 

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