By Rick Reeno
WBA 'regular' junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara (19-1-2, 12KOs) sat down with BoxingScene.com to discuss the biggest fight of his career, scheduled for July 12th against Mexican superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (43-1-1, 31KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The fight will headline a Showtime Pay-Per-View event.
Lara has been chasing down a fight with Canelo since 2012. He confronted the Mexican star last month, at the post-fight press conference following Canelo's tenth round TKO victory over Alfredo Angulo. Now Lara gets his wish.
BoxingScene.com: What are your thoughts on Canelo selecting you for his next fight?
Erislandy Lara: I believe if Canelo wanted to be considered a true fighter he had no choice but to fight me. Don’t forget, I was the one who flew out from Houston to jump on stage and demand this fight, not him. I was the one who called for this fight, not him. I want to thank the fans and the media because they pushed for this fight as well. This is the fight the fans wanted and I'm happy we will give it to them. Fans are number one.
BoxingScene.com: Does it bother you that Canelo has no interest in having your title at stake in the fight?
Erislandy Lara: I’m here to fight regardless if the title is on the line or not. I worked very hard for that title and its a great honor to me so it will always be with me When he fought Trout it was a unification bout while [Floyd] Mayweather was the super champ but I guess it was a real title at that time. I think he needs an extra pound so that’s why he doesn’t want to fight for the title. One pound won't bother me, I was willing to go up six and fight [Gennady] Golovkin. Canelo and his team made the biggest mistake of their careers and they are going to pay dearly.
BoxingScene.com: Were you bothered at all about the extra pound when the terms were presented?
Erislandy Lara: No…I don’t care what weight he wants. We can fight at heavyweight if he wants to. It doesn’t matter to me because I’m going to make him look silly regardless of the weight. He just needs to show up and I'll do the rest.
BoxingScene.com: What are you thoughts on Canelo's performance against Angulo?
Erislandy Lara: He looked really good against Angulo. But that was after taking a beating in his last fight. Canelo did what he had to do and looked good. On July 12 we are going to see how he looks.
BoxingScene.com: Compare your performances against your two mutual opponents - Austin Trout and Angulo.
Erislandy Lara: Well as everyone knows, I dropped Trout in my fight with him and it wasn’t even close. Canelo had a tough fight with Trout and some people thought he lost that fight. Against Angulo, Canelo performed better but he was also fortunate to fight him after I already put a beating on him. It wasn't the same Angulo I fought. I feel I really hurt him not only physically but mentally and on July 12 Canelo will know what I'm talking about.
BoxingScene.com: How do you see the fight with Canelo playing out?
Erislandy Lara: I'm going to dominate him in front of the world. Everyone wants to see who will win this fight and soon everyone will see I'm one of the best on the planet
BoxingScene.com: What would you like to say in closing?
Erislandy Lara: I want to thank my wife Yudi who’s been by my side forever. My team - Al Haymon, Luis Decubas Jr, Bob Santos, Ronnie Shields, Edward Jackson, Richard Schaefer and everyone else who has helped. On July 12 we will be prepared. Tags: Saul Alvarez , Erislandy Lara , Canelo-Lara , Canelo vs. Lara