Following his sensational stoppage win over Alfredo Angulo, Canelo Alvarez was addressing media when Erislandy Lara approached him and threw down the gauntlet. Canelo, never one to back down from a challenge, accepted through Instagram after Lara campaigned on every platform he had available. Lara cancelled his scheduled fight with Ishe Smith to jump at the opportunity of a career high payday against one of the stars of the sport.
Lara had chased a big fight for 2 years and had been turned down by just about everyone. Reasons were something along the lines of too much risk and too little reward. The truth is nobody outside the hardcore fans knew Lara. Lara’s name wasn’t never yielded thoughts of excitement. Now, Lara has his chance. He’s got his stage. He also has a 23 year old budding superstar who’s shown tremendous growth every time he steps in the ring.
Canelo Alvarez is 23 years old from Juanacatlan, Jalisco, Mexico. He’s built a following on his boyish good looks, red hair, freckles, and crowd-pleasing style. He’s got a daughter and at one point was engaged to Miss Mexico herself. The early boxing career of Canelo Alvarez isn’t well documented and there are conflicting stories. Some say he turned pro at 15 and fought triple threat matches in the basements of Mexican bars for cartel members, others say he amassed a very impressive 50 fight amateur career before turning pro. All we know is that he’s learned on the job and has become one of the sports superstars. At 23 he’s accomplished more than most 30 year old champions and has a resume of full of former world champions.
Erislandy Lara is a 31 year old former world amateur champion who defected from Cuba in 2008. In 2007 Lara, along with current super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux, made his first attempt at defection. The two were stopped weeks into their voyage in Brazil and returned to Cuba. The Cuban government would ban Lara from boxing. The following year in 2008, Lara tried yet again to get to America, this time through Mexico and he was successful. Free from communist Cuba, Lara was free to not only resume boxing, but to earn money for his talent. The defection came when he was ranked one of the top amateur welterweight talents in the world and a lock to win gold at the Beijing Olympic games.
Lara turned pro on the July 4th, 2008 (fitting for a guy who’s nickname is the American Dream) in Turkey. He won an easy points decision. He made his TV debut in his 3rd professional fight against Rodrigo Aguiar which was an easy stoppage win in the 1st round. Lara would be a staple of Friday Night Fights for 3 years scoring wins over guys like Darnell Boone and Willie Lee before making the move to HBO against Paul Williams. It was a bizarre fight that many thought Lara had won, but ultimately Williams was granted the decision.
Lara currently resides in Houston, Texas where he’s trained by Ronnie Shields.
Lara is currently the interim WBA “regular” champion at junior middleweight. During the negotiation, Canelo chose not to fight for the title at 154. Instead, the 2 will be fighting at a 155 pound catchweight. The reason being that Canelo probably doesn’t want to struggle with making weight come fight night. He struggled in the Angulo fight and looked entirely drained when he faced Floyd Mayweather at 152. Thus, the WBA title is not on the line and this fight is being contested purely for honor and glory.
As a teenager, Canelo was drawing ratings in Mexico that were on par with Monday Night Football or the BCS title game.
Juan Manuel Marquez says Canelo can beat Lara by knockout if Canelo “comes in there with speed, closes Lara’s exits and connects with hard punches.” He also said, “when he [Canelo] attacks he must do so with a certain amount of caution and be aware that a response [from Lara] will always be coming. Canelo must fight smart.”
Canelo has a sponsorship deal with Under Armour and has, in the past, designed his own ring gear.
Lara used Luis Arias (168 lber, currently 9(4)-0) and DonYil Livingston to prepare himself for Canelo. These are 2 fighters that Floyd Mayweather used to prepare for Canelo.
At one point, Canelo Alvarez was set to challenge Vyacheslav Senchenko for the WBA welterweight title that ultimately Malignaggi won, lost to Broner, lost to Maidana, and now currently belongs to Floyd Mayweather.
Lara was used as a sparring partner by Ricky Hatton in 2009 to prepare him for his disastrous bout with Manny Pacquiao.
Before Top Rank signed the 3rd fight between Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao, Golden Boy attempted to keep Marquez under contract by offering him a match with Canelo Alvarez for the junior middleweight title. Marquez would pass.
Lara predicted Gamboa would beat Crawford in 4 or 5 rounds…
Canelo turned pro at 15. Mostly because there weren’t enough amateur opponents his age.
Lara has already made it clear that he wants Floyd Mayweather if he wins this fight… then Cotto… then Gennady Golovkin.
When Canelo faced Carlos Baldomir, there was a 151 lb catchweight in place. Baldomir failed to make the weight and had to pay Alvarez a penalty. Always prideful, Canelo refused to receive the penalty.
What does Canelo like to do outside of boxing? I like good company, I like to talk a lot. No drinking or partying. I like racing cars, I like motor racing. http://ringtv.craveonline.com/news/346637-qa-canelo-alvarez#/slide/1
Junior Middleweight Division
Lineal Champion of the World: Floyd Mayweather Jr. (Mayweather Jr became the lineal champion by unifying his 154 pound titles won from Miguel Cotto with Canelo’s WBC title. Mayweather is on leave from the division while he is fighting at 147. He holds the WBA ‘super’ and WBC titles.)
1. Canelo Alvarez
2. Erislandy Lara (holds WBA ‘regular’ title)
3. Demetrius Andrade (holds WBO title)
4. Carlos Molina (drew with Lara, holds IBF title)
5. James Kirkland
6. Austin Trout (lost to both Lara and Alvarez)
7. Jermell Charlo
8. Jermall Charlo
9. Ishe Smith
10. Vanes Martirosyan