Vanes Martirosyan is taking every precaution possible to make sure he doesn’t get turned around in his rematch with Erislandy Lara.
To prepare for his challenge against the slick, left-handed Cuban, who will be defending his 154-pound world title when the fighters meet May 21 at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Martirosyan has been sparring with unbeaten southpaw Demetrius Andrade.
Not only has Vanes Martirosyan (36-2-1, 21 KOs) already battled Erislandy Lara (22-2-2, 13 KOs) to a headbutt-shortened technical draw in November 2012, but he's also quite familiar with Andrade, having lost a split decision to him in November 2013.
In that fight for a vacant world title, Martirosyan floored Andrade in the first round, but wound up on the wrong end of the judges' scorecards (114-113, 117-110, 112-115).
With Andrade now also preparing for a 154-pound fight of his own—against Willie Nelson in Verona, New York, on June 11—the two boxers have been giving each other good work in San Carlos, California.
“Andrade’s a better boxer and a level above Lara. We’re working and running together, pushing each other,” said Martirosyan, who has also sparred with 160-pound contender Willie Monroe Jr., who was stopped by world champion Gennady Golovkin in his last bout.
“Andrade’s sharper, has a better left hand and throws more punches than Lara. Andrade doesn’t run as much as Lara, who is trying to steal a victory. But Lara won’t be able to do that with me this time, because I’m banging his body and breaking his ribs.”
The Lara-Martirosyan rematch headlines a tripleheader of 154-pound title fights on Showtime (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). Also featured on the card are defending champion Jermall Charlo against former titleholder Austin Trout, and Jermell Charlo facing John Jackson for a vacant world title.
“ It’s going to be the best Lara against the best me, and it’s going to be the best fight of the night. ” Vanes Martirosyan
The first Lara-Martirosyan fight ended in a technical draw when an accidental headbutt caused a deep cut under Martirosyan's left eye 26 seconds into Round 9. The decision then went to the judges, who scored the bout 86-85 for Martirosyan, 87-84 for Lara and 86-86, resulting in the stalemate.
“Lara was throwing a lot of low blows and doing a lot of dirty tactics, but I was winning the fight even though they scored it a draw,” Martirosyan said. “We’ve watched the fight so many times; you can see that he’s moving around and running too much, but that’s in the past.
“We’ve both gotten better, and he’s fought a lot of good guys since then. It’s going to be the best Lara against the best me, and it’s going to be the best fight of the night. I’m telling you, it’s going to be a shock.”
The Armenia-born, Southern California-based boxer has gone 4-2 with one KO since the draw with Lara, including winning a majority decision in September over former champion Ishe Smith, whom Martirosyan downed in the third and eighth rounds.
Lara also went the distance with Smith in December 2014, when he earned a wide unanimous decision to retain his world title.
“No disrespect to Ishe, but I kind of carried him all the way because I needed the rounds,” Martirosyan said. “I dropped Ishe twice and could have gotten him out of there if I had wanted to. Lara couldn’t drop him, which speaks to my power.”