Erislandy Lara made a successful ring return to South Florida after his third-round technical knockout win over Jan Zaveck in a world title fight late Wednesday night at Hialeah Park and Casino.
With the victory, Lara retained his World Boxing Association super-welterweight title.
A native of Cuba, Lara lives in Houston and has not fought locally since 2009. Lara outclassed Zaveck with quicker combinations — set up by a lead right jab and follow-up left to the head.
Early in the third, Lara (22-2, 13 KOs) stunned Zaveck with a right-left to the head. Zaveck (35-4) retreated toward the ropes and Lara followed with additional unanswered combinations. Refereee Telis Assimenios stepped in between both fighters after Zaveck complained of pain in his right shoulder, and stopped the fight at 41 seconds of the round.
“I’m very happy to be back fighting in Miami,” Lara said. “I think I put on a great show for the fans. I handled the pressure well, stayed in the pocket and fought my fight.”
Lara, 32, plans a long run as 154-pound champion and will move to the 160-pound class for two notable exceptions who fought in a highly-watched middleweight title fight Saturday.
“I’ll face anyone at 154 pounds, unless it’s Canelo [Alvarez] or [Miguel] Cotto,” Lara said. “Then we’ll go to 160.”