Erislandy Lara can’t help but roll with his former training stablemate in one of the biggest fights of 2020.
Opinions remain divided on whom will prevail in the three-belt junior middleweight unification clash between Jermell Charlo (33-1, 17KOs) and Jeison Rosario (20-1-1, 14KOs). The two collide on September 26 as part of a stacked six-fight, split-bill Showtime Pay-Per-View event, where the winner will gain universal recognition as the king of the 154-pound division.
“That’s going to be a good fight,” Lara told BoxingScene,com ahead of his own upcoming fight, as he faces Massachusetts’ Greg Vendetti this weekend (Saturday, Fox, 8:00pm ET). “Rosario will not back down to Charlo and that makes for an exciting fight because we all know Jermell is a powerful puncher.
“I have to give the edge to Charlo because of his experience.”
Lara (26-3-3, 15KOs) and Charlo used to train under Ronnie Shields in Houston before both going their separate ways. The former junior middleweight champ—and current secondary title claimant—has since resurfaced in Las Vegas, returning to renowned coach Ismael Salas who will man his corner this weekend versus Vendetti (22-1-1, 13KOs) against whom he enters as a massive favorite.
Not quite as easy to predict is who emerges in one of the most anticipated bouts of the year.
Charlo enters the fight nine months removed from regaining his WBC junior middleweight title, scoring an 11th round stoppage of Tony Harrison in their sensational rematch last December. The feat came four weeks prior to Dominican Republic’s Rosario scoring the first significant upset of 2020, stoppage Julian Williams inside of five rounds in Williams’ Philadelphia hometown to become a unified junior middleweight titlist.
The upcoming unification bout marks the first attempted title defense for both Charlo (of his second reign, having made three defenses in his first run) and Rosario. It remains a coin-flip fight to both, a sentiment echoed by Lara who hopes to remain relevant atop the junior middleweight division long after this weekend.
Whether or not he will land a shot at the winner of the September 26 PPV headliner remains to be seen, though an opportunity he will certainly welcome with open arms.
“That is a question for [manager Luis DeCubas Jr. and adviser Al Haymon] as I’m just a fighter, fighting whoever they put in front of me,” insists Lara. “Of course, I want the winner of Charlo-Rosario because I want to fight the best. I’m ready to face anyone in the world.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox