By Rick Reeno
As the big fight approaches on Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, most experts are fixated on the two common opponents for Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (43-1-1, 31KOs) and Erislandy Lara (19-1-2, 12KOs). They will collide on Showtime Pay-Per-View in a bout scheduled for a catch-weight of 155-pounds.
Last June, Lara survived a grueling war, and two knockdowns, to stop Alfredo Angulo in the tenth round. This past March, Canelo easily dominated Angulo for his own tenth round TKO win. Last April, Canelo struggled to win a twelve round decision over Austin Trout. Later that year, in December, Lara easily outboxed Trout for a unanimous decision win.
Lara's trainer, Ronnie Shields, views the performances against Trout as the true indicator that his fighter is the better man. He feels Angulo took an enormous amount of punishment against Lara and never recovered from the damage. Against Canelo, most ringside observers felt Angulo was slower than usual and lacked any real pop on his punches.
"Canelo is not as aggressive as Lara, not at all. Angulo was on that night. He was a beast that night. He came to fight, Lara did also. We got caught with a couple of shots and went down, but as usual Erislandy Lara comes to fight. It doesnt make a difference who it is. He got dropped, got up and won the fight by stopping Angulo, and that is a very hard thing to do [to surivive two knockdowns to stop your opponent]," Shields told BoxingScene.com.
"I think by the time Canelo got to Angulo, Angulo was no longer the same. You've got to look at what Lara did to him. Lara took some hard shots too, but Lara really beat Angulo up a lot. He hit Angulo with everything. And sometimes when you get hit that much it takes everything out of you and I think it took everything that Angulo had left. You saw Angulo when he fought Canelo, he didn't have anything. And I think that was a result of Erislandy Lara."
"And with Trout, he gave Canelo a very tough fight, a very close fight. He dropped Trout, and Lara did too - but Lara schooled him."