By Rick Reeno
Cosmopolitan Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas - WBA junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara (22-2-2, 13KOs) is not surprised with Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez's decision to vacate the WBC middleweight championship.
Lara fought Canelo in a very close fight back in 2014, when the Cuban fighter saw himself on the short-end of a twelve round split decision. Tomorrow night, Lara gets the opportunity to avenge a 2012 technical draw with Vanes Martirosyan, when the two fighters collide in a Showtime televised rematch.
The World Boxing Council had ordered Canelo (47-1-1, 33KOs) to make a mandatory defense against Gennady 'GGG' Golovkin (35-0, 32KOs).
According to Canelo, he vacated his belt because of the WBC's looming purse bid on May 24th in Mexico City.
The industry is split on the reasoning. Some believe Canelo is simply giving himself more breathing room with the terms - like requesting a catch-weight and a modified split of the revenue. Others feel Canelo is looking to postpone the fight with Golovkin to a later date, like May or September of 2017.
Lara on the other hand believes Canelo is doing everything possible to avoid the fight.
"He showed his fear by dropping the title. He didn't want to fight Triple G, that's what it's all about. I'm not surprised [he did that]. It's very clear. He's a middleweight and fighting at 155 - that's all you've got to know about that fight. Mayweather-McGregor will happen before Golovkin-Canelo, because it's an easier fight to make," Lara told BoxingScene.com.
Lara has been calling out Golovkin for over a year. If everything goes as planned on Saturday, he is ready to move up to face Golovkin for the WBA/WBC/IBO/IBF titles.
"100% [I'll fight him next at 160]. I didn't come here to [America] to pick and choose opponents. I'll fight anybody," Lara said.
Canelo, and his promoter Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions, are still actively in talks for a fight with Golovkin.
Lara's veteran trainer, Ronnie Shields, is not moved by their words. In his opinion, Canelo is pulling a swerve with his promise of continued negotiations to make the fight.
"That's all a front. Canelo just don't want to fight Triple G. That's all that is. They say that they're still negotiating - that's all a bunch of BS. You can fool some people some of the time, but you can't fool everybody all the time - and that's just the way it is," Shields told BoxingScene.com.
"They keep saying they've got to build it up and build it up. What is there to build up? Build up for what? You can only make so much money in the sport of boxing. And right now they are both hot. Why not right now? Right now everybody wants to see that fight, but [Canelo, Golden Boy] don't want to fight. Suppose one of them take a loss - then you've got nothing. While both of them are hot, this is when you've got to do it."