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Erislandy Lara Receives ‘Special Permission’ To Fight Danny Garcia

Erisandy Lara Receives 'Special Permission' To Fight Danny Garcia featured image
Erislandy Lara will fight former two-weight division champion Danny Garcia on August 5th this year. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

WBA Middleweight world champion Erislandy Lara was supposed to face off against Michael Zerafa after the WBA’s mandate for the two to face each other, but the Cuban will instead defend his world title against the #7-ranked Danny Garcia (on the WBA’s Middleweight ranking boards) after a resolution was reached between Lara’s team and Zerafa’s which will see the mandated match between the two postponed until later this year, or even the next.

With Michael Zerafa (31-4, 19 KO’s) still remaining the mandatory challenger but Erislandy Lara (29-3-3, 17 KO’s) having chosen to fight Danny Garcia (37-3, 21 KO’s) on August 5th, the Australian is expected to face the winner between Lara and Garcia ― or simply Lara if his match with Garcia results in a draw. Zerafa is also free to fight who he can in the meantime but must pick an opponent ranked high enough by the WBA if he wishes to retain his mandatory challenger status.

Additionally, if Erislandy Lara makes it past Danny Garcia, he will have a mandatory 120 days to arrange a match with Michael Zerafa. Upon failure to negotiate a bout with Zerafa within that time span, the Cuban champion will be stripped of his title for failing to abide by the mandate to fight the Australian.

Erisandy Lara Receives 'Special Permission' To Fight Danny Garcia image 1
Despite Erislandy Lara changing course to fight another opponent in Danny Garcia, Michael Zerafa still retains the option to challenge the winner between Lara-Garcia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Danny Garcia being ranked within the top 10 on the WBA’s boards was the likely reason why WBA granted Erislandy Lara this exception to postpone a fight with a mandated opponent, as Garcia is a former world champion in two weight classes. Notably, Danny Garcia will be moving up from his previous weight of 154 pounds to fight at Middleweight ― despite having had only one successful fight in his previous weight class when he scraped by with a majority decision win against former Welterweight world title challenger Jose Benavidez Jr. (27-2-1, 18 KO’s) in July of 2022.

Aside from his accomplishments, Danny Garcia also edges out over Michael Zerafa when it comes to experience ― given the slew of world title matches he’s had so far, and arguably Garcia therefore poses even more of a threat to Erislandy Lara than Zerafa. The only (minor) advantage that Lara has with Garcia as opposed to Zerafa is the fact that Danny Garcia will be fighting at Middleweight for the first time of his career, but Garcia’s own experience may just counteract his lack of experience at fighting at 160 lbs.

Erislandy Lara and Danny Garcia will fight in a yet-to-be-announced location in the USA on August 5th where Lara will defend his new status as a world champion after being promoted to full champion in the wake of Gennady Golovkin’s relinquishment of his WBA ‘Super’ world title ― following the WBA’s mandate, two months earlier, for him to unify with Lara who had then been the WBA ‘Regular’ world champion.