Josh Warrington’s career was dealt a huge blow earlier this month when he was shockingly stopped inside nine rounds by Mauricio Lara at Wembley and now the man from Leeds has said that if he was to lose his proposed rematch with the Mexican then he’d have to consider calling it a day.
Lara, while earmarked as a potential banana skin for Warrington pre-fight, was largely unheralded going into the bout. Considered a stepping stone for the Brit in his pursuit for featherweight megafights against either WBA holder Can Xu and WBC champion Gary Russell Jr, Lara instead ended his 30-fight unbeaten run, fractured his jaw, perforated his eardrum and thoroughly outclassed the 30-year-old from the opening bell.
Having not fought for 15 months was clearly detrimental to Warrington’s preparations and he believes that his first fight with Lara was just an off-night and that he would beat him “99 times out of 100” but says a second defeat in a rematch, which is yet to be officially confirmed, could prompt him to hang up his gloves for good.
"There's no point in hanging about if I can't mix it with this guy," he told reporters.
"What's the point? Maybe I could step up to super-featherweight for a pay day. I'm not prepared to do that as the sport is hard.
"For my own mental self I don't think I would be able to settle if other people go in there and blast this guy out. I need to know I can get over this hurdle. Whether it be 12 rounds of being dominant or me knocking him out. I need to do it for myself. If I can't then I'm calling it a day, simple as that."
Warrington, with his legion of Leeds fans, is one of the best followed British boxers since the days of Ricky Hatton and a lack of fight night atmosphere, thanks to the Covid pandemic, might have had an impact on his preparations and mindset as he stepped into the ring.
"When I walk to the arena normally, the heat and adrenaline hit you," added Warrington.
"I was stood on the stage and it was like I was too relaxed, like it was a sparring session with a novice.
"I was winking at Lara and stuff. I've never had that mindset. I look back now and think 'why were you in that mindset?' By the time the fight day came I'd gone through every emotion and thought the fight was probably a given."
Elsewhere, Warrington’s former promoter Frank Warren has said that his ex-fighter should avoid the Lara rematch for the time being. Speaking to The Lowdown he said, "It was a shame... Everything went wrong. Fights like that are very difficult to come back from. They're talking about a rematch - he don't need a rematch with him right now. Absolutely not."