By Jake Donovan
If Erislandy Lara is involved in a fight, chances are that he wasn’t selected by his opponent but rather appointed through means of obligation. The top-rated super welterweight has quickly developed a reputation as a fighter few are in a hurry to face, which made it a bit surprising that he surfaced as the opponent of choice by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez for the Mexican’s latest pay-per-view event.
The non-title fight, which takes place at a catchweight of 155 lb., will headline live from the MGM Grand, airing live on Showtime Pay-Per-View. The event marks Alvarez’ second fight back since his points loss to Floyd Mayweather last September, a bout that shattered box office records in terms of revenue generated.
It also meant the end of an unbeaten run for Alvarez, who has since bounced back with a 10th round knockout of Alfredo Angulo this past March. That fight was the first of an announced three-fight plan for 2014, all of which is slated to appear on pay-per-view, although those plans aren’t yet written in stone for a tentatively scheduled fall ring appearance should he get past Lara.
Given the intention to market Alvarez as his own attraction without having to depend on the sport’s other superstars to carry an event, few industry experts expected the 24-year old to take on such a big risk like Lara. But just because nobody else was in a hurry to fight him, don’t expect the Cuban southpaw to do backflips over Alvarez agreeing to fight him.
“I don’t owe him anything but a bunch of left hands,” Lara (19-1-2, 13KO) responded when asked during a recent conference call if he feels a level of gratitude towards Alvarez is in order.
If anything, the 31-year old feels like the opportunity is overdue.
“I was after this fight for two years, chasing him from fight to fight and on social media, before he was pressured to finally taking this fight. I’m going to make him pay,” Lara promises.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox