IN the space of 20 minutes, WBA light-middleweight champion Erislandy Lara thrashed Jan Zaveck, accused old rival Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez of running scared, and called out Gennady Golovkin while planning a route to the top of the 160lb division.

The Cuban, topping a rain-delayed PBC show at the outdoor Hialeah Park Race Track in Hialeah, Florida, was in an aggressive mood from the start. Straight left hands, fired at speed, couldn’t miss Zaveck. In the second round, Lara stepped inside and slammed a long left down the pipe. It landed flush. Zaveck froze briefly before stumbling back, using all his might to retain his balance.

A similar shot landed approximately 30 seconds into round three. Zaveck had his back to the ropes, and the force of the blast – which landed just below the chin – rocked his head back. The 39-year-old, clearly hurt and confused, went to touch gloves with Lara only to be greeted by a two-punch volley that caused him to turn away in clear distress. The fight was called off after 41 seconds of the session.

Zaveck’s claims that a shoulder injury curtailed his challenge were verified by the doctors who said a punch to the neck was responsible.

“I knew I could try to fight on and land a lucky punch, but that was a small possibility,” Zaveck said. “It was probably better to to the stop and fight another day. I have never been injured like this before. It is very strange. The pain is surging.”

Lara, who lost a controversial decision to Alvarez in July last year, is keen to snare a big name next year as he plots a route to the cream of the middleweight crop.

“Canelo doesn’t want to see me because he knows I beat him in the first fight,” Lara said. “And GGG [Golovkin] can come get it if he wants as well. I’m ready to fight anybody at 154 to 160 pounds. Bring on the best.”