by David P. Greisman
Ronnie Shields doesn’t just think he knows exactly what he’s working with — he believes he knows exactly what he’s working against.
Shields is the trainer to junior middleweight contender Erislandy Lara, but he also once trained the junior middleweight Lara will likely be facing this fall, Vanes Martirosyan.
Shields spoke with BoxingScene.com in early September about the bout, which takes place on November 10th at the Wynn in Las Vegas.
BoxingScene.com: What’s going on with Erislandy Lara right now?
Shields: “Well, Erislandy Lara’s supposed to fight Vanes Martirosyan Nov. 10. That’s the date they’re throwing at us. Both guys have signed the contract. And Lara’s in training right now. He’s looking great. We’re not working really hard right now, but he’s already looking sharp. I’m backing him down already because he’s so excited because he wants this fight so bad. He really wants this fight, and he just wants to show everyone that he’s not champion right now but he’s the best 154-pound fighter in the world.”
BoxingScene.com: You trained Vanes Martirosyan in the past. What are you teaching Lara about him right now?
Shields: “I’m not saying what I’m teaching him right now. But I know a lot about Vanes. We’re working on a few things right now that we can take advantage of. Vanes hasn’t changed any. So there’s a lot of things that we’re going to do, and some things that we’re going to put in, some things that Vanes has never seen Lara do before. So it’s going to be really interesting, and after Lara wins this fight, then people will see that Lara deserves to fight one of the champions to prove that he is the best 154-pound fighter in the world right now.”
BoxingScene.com: When you say Vanes hasn’t changed, what do you mean specifically?
Shields: “He still fights the same. Looking at him in his last few fights, I don’t see anything that he’s changed. I don’t see nothing different.”
BoxingScene.com: Do you think that he’s stagnated as a fighter, that he hasn’t gotten better?
Shields: “He’s been winning. That’s the only thing that’s better. But he’s never fought anyone like Erislandy Lara. He’s never fought anyone close to the skills of Erislandy Lara. Vanes is a tough guy, a great fighter, but he’s just going to get outclassed in this fight.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]