Lara vs Zerafa Predictions: The march of time no match for Lara

 | March 28 | 

3 mins read

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Death. Taxes. Erislandy Lara. One of boxing’s great constants is out this Saturday March 30 as the 40-year-old phenom takes on Michael Zerafa. Lara’s WBA middleweight championship is on the line at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Amazon Prime PPV carry this quality title clash. Here are my Lara vs Zerafa predictions as we celebrate the return of one of modern boxing’s finest veterans.

Lara vs Zerafa Tips

  • Lara on points @ 11/10
  • Fight to go the distance - Yes @ 8/13

This is Lara’s 15th fight in which a version of the world championship has been on the line. He has been a fixture at the elite level since 2011. He’s a rarer sight these days, fighting once a year in 2020, 2021 and 2022 before skipping last year altogether. But at the age of 40, he continues to defy the odds as WBA middleweight champion.

What is perhaps most impressive about Lara, even more so than his longevity and his still-formidable performance levels, is the quality of opposition he has faced in his career. ‘The American Dream’ holds victories over the likes of Gary O’Sullivan, Austin Trout, Yuri Foreman, Jan Zaveck, Alfredo Angulo, Delvin Rodriguez and Ishe Smith. 

The Cuba-born American pushed Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez to the limit in their 2014 classic. He has also fought Paul Williams, Carlos Molina and Jarrett Hurd. Lara’s level of competition has been simply incredible. Some fighters are born warriors and the veteran certainly fits that bill.

Zerafa will fancy this task, though. A perpetual nearly-man, he has lost to former world champions Jeff Horn, Peter Quillin and Kell Brook in the past. The Australian does have one big name on his record. Zerafa knocked out legendary countryman Anthony Mundine in one round back in 2021. Given the fact the former world champion was 45 years old at the time, hadn’t boxed in two years and would never box again, it is perhaps a win that looks better on paper than in practice. 

But still, Zerafa will be encouraged here. Lara hasn’t fought since knocking ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan out in May 2022. Zerafa himself last boxed in November that year, but a lay-off is less likely to harm a 32-year-old than it is a man of 40. 

That is the main crux of this middleweight title attraction. Time waits for no man and the decline in a boxer can be sudden. While Lara dazzled us last time out, what guarantees are there that something won’t give? 

Look at the great Manny Pacquiao. In 2019 he was turning the clock back with a vintage display to beat Keith Thurman. In 2021 he was beaten by the unworthy Yordenis Ugas, ending his career. While Lara has shown no signs of slowing, the ravages of a career in the ring can arrive suddenly and without warning.

If that all sounds a bit hypothetical, that is because it is. While decline is inevitable in a boxer, every athlete is different. Some, like Mike Tyson, were burned out by the time they hit 30. Others, like the ageless Bernard Hopkins, were winning world titles as their 50th birthday loomed. So far, Lara has looked far closer to the latter category than the former. 

I’m backing the champion’s timelessness to last for at least one more fight. Barring a dramatic decline from Lara, Zerafa simply isn’t on his level. The Australian has shown good durability in the past, taking the likes of Brook and Horn to the cards. I think he’ll do the same here, with a Lara decision priced up at 11/10. The WBA middleweight king might not have many more fights left after this one. Savour his reign while you can.

You can find all our latest boxing tips and analysis at our Betfred Insights Boxing page

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