Erislandy Lara is preparing to defend his title…
The 40-year-old Cuban professional boxer will defend his middleweight title versus Danny Garcia on August 5, according to the WBA.
PBC has been planning a fight between Lara and Garcia for months, but Michael Zerafa stood in the way. The 31-year-old Australian was the mandatory challenger to Lara’s title, but he agreed to step aside after he was offered an undercard slot, Zerafa’s manager, Elvis Grant, told ESPN.
“PBC were more than fair in reasonably working this out with Team Zerafa,” Grant said.
Zerafa (30-4, 19 KOs) is ESPN’s No. 10 middleweight.
The WBA stipulated that the winner must face Zerafa by December or face being stripped.
Lara, 40, was elevated as champion after Gennadiy Golovkin relinquished his title. A former 154-pound champion, Lara’s impressive résumé includes a controversial decision loss to Paul Williams, a split decision defeat to Canelo Alvarez and a victory over Austin Trout.
The Cuban’s split decision defeat to Jarrett Hurd in a 154-pound title unification was ESPN‘s 2018 Fight of the Year. Lara’s draw with Brian Castano the following year was one of the best fights of 2019.
Lara (29-3-3, 17 KOs) has competed four times since the Castano bout, all of them against domestic-level competition. Three of those four wins came inside the distance.
Garcia (37-3, 21 KOs) is a former unified 140-pound champion and 147-pound titleholder. He rose to prominence with an upset fourth-round TKO victory over Amir Khan in 2012 and followed up with an impressive victory over Lucas Matthysse the following year.
His lengthy résumé includes wins over Erik Morales, Zab Judah and Lamont Peterson, along with tight decision defeats to Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter. The 35-year-old Philadelphian made his 154-pound debut in July with a majority decision win over Jose Benavidez Jr.
That was Garcia’s first fight since a December 2020 decision loss to Errol Spence Jr.