If Josh Warrington has wanted to shudder over the past few months, he’s watched a recording of himself boxing with Mauricio Lara in February. Watching him pass out is bad enough, but just as painful is watching all the mistakes he made that night.
Warrington tries to avenge this loss – the only one of his professional career – on Saturday night at Headingly rugby stadium in Leeds. This time there is no room for error. Another loss to the Mexican could mean the end of the career of the former IBF featherweight champion.
“When you evaluate it afterward and look back at it, my toes curl up and I thought, ‘What did you do, Josh? Why did you act like that? ‘”He said. “It was silly breaking it down – throwing way too many punches, just standing in front of him and it’s like, ‘Come on man, this is amateur stuff!’
“I tried to fight fire with fire. I only started boxing when I was knocked down and then on the fifth lap when I made it easy for myself. But at that point I hurt my shoulder when I fell, my jaw was drooping, my ear was broken, I had half a concussion and then it was probably too late. ”
Warrington admits he made the mistake of taking Lara lightly. This is not surprising as not only was he little known, but he was also used as a late replacement after a fight with Can Xu. Lara was supposed to be there to burn down the ring grate before a major fight in May, although things went very differently.
Lose again and Warrington, 30, is about to end his career. This time he certainly doesn’t take Lara lightly.
“I’m not building him up as ‘the man who hit me,’ but I’m building him up as someone who can potentially hurt me and do this and that,” Warrington said.
“In the past I’ve always built opponents like this and expect Mike Tyson or King Kong to come to me and if the first bell rings and they don’t bring it, that’s a bonus. I built Mauricio as a dangerous fighter and someone who can do a lot of damage and I know he can do a lot of damage anyway because he has done it in the past.
“But I don’t think back to old events, I just think about the game plan and that I stick to it, make sure I don’t get carried away by dropping my hands and coming back in straight lines and thinking, I can throw shots from behind and get away with them. It aggravates everything if you are a little scared. “
Not only did losing to Lara pay for another world championship fight, it also hurt his hopes of boxing in Las Vegas, something he set out to achieve this year. It took time for the injuries he had sustained to heal, but the mental scars were also hanging around.
“Time is a healer,” he said. “When you have a strange girl and she leaves you, you are devastated and you think your world has collapsed. But at some point you go out and find another girl and she is the love of your life. I was injured for the first six or seven weeks and that masked any thoughts of losing.
“I had a broken jaw, I had to have an operation on my elbow, I had a damaged shoulder, and my eardrum was perforated. I didn’t really leave the house because I was kind of embarrassed and I didn’t want to meet people asking me what happened, Josh?
“I recovered for six weeks. Then when I went to the Parker Chisora fight [in May in Manchester], that was the moment when it was at home, because that should have been my night, that should have been my reorganized fight with Can Xu. I drove back from Manchester on the M62 that night and then collapsed, probably the lowest I’ve ever had. ”
The two weeks after that, Warrington said, was his low point.
“I just had my head up, just wiped around the house, I couldn’t take care of anything,” he said. “The garden was full of dog shit and I couldn’t bother to go out and take care of it.
“It got to a point where I thought I could do something about it or just keep making out, so I dusted myself off and went back to the gym when I could.
“I thought I wasn’t the only boxer who lost and that changed my mindset and motivation.”
Warrington said it was a conversation with Anthony Joshua, who told him how he felt after losing to Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2019 and helped him put the matter into perspective
“He said I got to a point where I just want to get back on the horse or f — the game completely,” said Warrington.
“I thought about it after wiping around the house. I thought I can do something about it. I thought to myself, do I just throw my toys out of the stroller and keep pouting? No, I can do something about it. I just had a good word with myself. “
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was boxing correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001 to 2019 – at four Olympic Games and numerous World Cup fights around the world. Since the 1980s, he has written on boxing for a variety of publications around the world.