Ricky Hatton: What Josh Warrington must do to get revenge against Mauricio Lara

In his latest column with Metro.co.uk, the British boxing legend breaks down a huge fight for Josh Warrington against Mauricio Lara and another big night for Fightzone.

Warrington got complacent

Looking back on the first fight against Mauricio Lara, I think a bit of complacency came in for Josh. He isn’t the complacent type but like myself, he feeds off the crowd. He takes energy from it. The fact he was performing in front of empty seats ensured he just came out of the traps that little bit slower than he normally would. That is what I mean by complacency. He started off too slow, he didn’t hear the roar of the crowd and because Josh didn’t have that, he got caught early.

One particular shot very early on, it didn’t knock him down but it shook him to his boots. I don’t think a lot of people noticed it but I certainly noticed. I don’t think he really recovered. Since the moment he was caught with it, everything seemed like hard work and he was treading water.

When he fought Carl Frampton for instance, he never stood in front of Carl, he stepped to the left, stepped the right, showed lots of angles as he was attacking then he showed lots of changes of angles when he was up close. That’s what Josh has to do on Saturday.

Warrington vs Lara: Tactics breakdown

Lara throws big, wide, arching punches. My main tactic would be, hit him hard from a distance, hit him often and have a high work rate. If you are stood in front of him he’s going to hit you with one of those big swinging shots.

Lara’s biggest danger is his punching power, but all his punches go around the houses, they are not short punches, they are big, massive, arching shots. At distance, hit him down the front while constantly changing the angles, don’t stand in front of him. And if he does come in to fight at close quarters, stick to him like glue.

Lara’s punches seem to get their most power at medium range. It’s a long left hook to the body, it’s a long left hook to the head. So Josh has to stay at a distance or stick to him like a f*****g octopus would stick to you so he can’t get those big shots away.

He might have to come through a few hairy moments because Lara does hit hard. And the way Josh fights stylistically, it can only ever be a tough fight. But Josh can make it easier for himself if he doesn’t stand in front and try have it out with him. If he is that little but cuter, it will be enough.

Josh had to take this rematch. If he hadn’t, the reputation he has built as The Leeds Warrior would have been damaged. Looking somewhere else isn’t what a warrior does. But in true Josh Warrington fashion, he’s gone straight in there like all champions to make it right and that is why we love him.

Josh proving he is a warrior

If Josh gets the win he is more than back on track. He will have the chances to take all his wonderful fans over to Las Vegas for those huge fights he is so desperate for. It would be a shame for him to lose out on seeing his name up in lights on that Las Vegas strip. But if beats Lara he is straight back on track and in my eyes, he’s stronger than he was before.

Legacies are built when champions bounce back from defeat. Everything is great when you are winning, putting your money in the bank, getting your hand raised with everyone patting you on your back. But it is when you are beaten when you find out what a champion is really made of.

Legacies aren’t built on having everything go your way every time you lace your gloves come up. It is about how you come back, like with Roberto Duran. He’s my hero, his legacy was built on coming back from defeats. I don’t think it about getting his reputation back to where it once was, it means it grows even more.

Dave Allen’s return

Last week was a great night for Fightzone with Dave Allen getting the win on his return to the ring. It was a nice, clean win for Dave to get his confidence up; he’s been in a lot of tough fights and this was the perfect chance to shake off the ring rust and he took it well.

I think I speak for Dave when I say it couldn’t have gone better for him, that’s all he wanted from the first fight back. It will be interesting to see what happens next for him. He has had enough tough fights over the years boxing at a very high level so if he is to give it another go he needed that comfortable win to get him going again. I’m made up for him.

Somehow, Dave has never won a belt and given the level he’s boxed at, it is very surprising. Hopefully, if he decides to carry on, he can get one soon to stick on the mantelpiece.

Fightzone this week

This week’s Fightzone card sees the undefeated Josh Holmes take on Jonny Phillips. Josh is from Robert Rimmer’s gym which is flourishing now, especially on Fightzone cards with Jack Massey getting a very good win a few weeks back. Phillips is a decent opponent for him. He boxed a lad of mine, Ibrahim Nadim, he produced the best performance of his career in what was a very good test for him.

Phillips is a bit of a scrapper, he’ll stand toe to toe but that’s Josh’s game, he can mix it up. If I was advising Josh, just do what you do best, make him miss and when he does fall short make him pay.

He must not underestimate Phillips, he’s fought decent opposition in Steven Smith and Hopey Price too but Josh has everything in his toolbox to solve the puzzle.

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