Can Erislandy Lara, shown crushing Angulo, continue his “dream” by conquering Alvarez?
For Erislandy Lara June 12 represents continuation of his American Dream or it could be turned into a nightmare by the fists of Saul “El Canelo” Alvarez.
The two meet in the long awaited “Honor & Glory” bout at the MGM Grand Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada. Lara’s also referred to as “The American Dream.”
This is a grudge match in the sense that Lara had been seeking this fight and was ignored by Alvarez. When Alvarez knocked out a common opponent, Alfredo “EL Perro” Angulo, Lara challenged him in front of the press, calling him a “coward”; and, in anger, Alvarez agreed to fight him to “shut” his mouth.
“Fights are negotiated behind the scenes and not in front of the public with insults”, Canelo told a very aggressive Lara, who then responded: “then fight me and stop hiding”.
After the fighters were separated by cooler heads present, Lara got his wish to fight Canelo. It’s a 12 round Showtime pay-per-view non-title fight although Lara is the recognized W.B.A. Junior Middleweight Champion.
Canelo Alvarez, 43-1-1, 31 knockouts, and former 2-time world champ is the new Golden Boy and although Mexican born (Guadalajara) is now known world-wide.
Who is Erislandy Lara, who boasts a 19-1-2, 12 k.o.’s, record?
Lara, Cuban born in Guantanamo, defected in 2007 before the Pan American Games with another Olympic Gold Medal winner, Guillermo Rigondeaux, who now is a world champ. Lara escaped after winning many world amateur titles including Olympic gold.
Unfortunately the pair was caught by the Brazilian authorities and returned to Cuba where they were placed under house arrest and banned from the National Boxing Team.
Lara indicated to me that he knew he had to escape again because of the oppressive and restrictive living conditions in Cuba. He wanted a better life for himself and of course his family, and, he wanted to fight professionally which is banned in Cuba.
“Training Camp was para-military, you had to win your fights at all cost and you were pushed to train hard no matter how young you were,” he told me, at the last press conference. “There was no future on the team, some of the older fighters wound up alcoholics and on drugs with no jobs, much less a future.”
In 2008 he boarded a speed boat with 25 others and landed in Mexico despite choppy and shark filled waters and then continued on to Hamburg, Germany joining another Cuban Olympic defector, Yuriorkis Gamboa.
Although happy that this time he had succeeded, his main heartbreak was leaving his family behind. He settled in Houston, Texas, and he now has his family with him and is expecting a new child and much to his delight because his first 4 children were boys, the 5th will be a girl. She is expected July 14, two days after the Canelo fight.
Lara started training under the tutelage of famous trainer Ronnie Shields who also lives in Houston and made his pro debut on July 4, 2008. “It has been a blessing, and I think I will settle in Houston, because I love the tranquil family life here”, he says.
Because of his good fortune, Lara changed his nick-name from “El Oro de Guantanamo”, The gold from Guantanamo, to the “American Dream”.
“I have so much to be thankful for especially now that I have my family with me and I am now finally getting a mega money pay-per-view fight with a super star like Canelo Alvarez who was avoiding me, and I don’t know why. That’s why I had to challenge him,” he says.
Of course, Alvarez being the ring super star, akin to Floyd Mayweather, who beat him, recognizes that he has a tough task ahead of him in fighting Lara who is a speedy southpaw with a punch and great ring generalship.
Alvarez has the difficult challenge to try to catch up to Lara who will be moving all of the time; Alvarez has a stamina problem in the later rounds which was exposed by Mayweather.
This fight is really a case of which fighter outsmarts the other and whether it comes down to mental or physical advantage.
Alvarez will have to try to slow Lara down with body punching attacks which he is good at; but can he catch the speedy counterpunching Lara, who moves fast and punches at the same time, making his opponents miss many times.
Of the two common opponents that they both fought and defeated, Austin Trout and Alfredo Angulo, Lara had an easier victory over
Trout; and although Lara k.o.’d Angulo in the later rounds, he was knocked down twice for nine counts.
So his chin is suspect and may not be able to survive a hard Canelo punch.
As for Canelo, he had a difficult time defeating Trout; I actually felt Trout beat him. Canelo was also able to knockout Angulo in the 9th round, after a tough slugfest.
So my dear Black Star News readers, your guess is as good as mine.
Yet I have a tendency of favoring the slick boxer with a pretty good punch; that is the American Dream, Erislandy Lara.
Canelo Alvarez has never been knocked down so the indication here is that he could take a punch; but in the long run, he tires as the fight progresses. So he has to knockout Lara in the early rounds.
Lara by unanimous decision.
He will then move on to a mega pay-per-view fight with Floyd Mayweather. He says he wants to continue his American Dream.