Cuban defector Erislandy Lara will be squaring off against Freddy Hernandez, this Saturday in a bout scheduled for 10 rounds in the junior middleweight division. The fight is part of a Showtime tripleheader that includes highly touted prospect Gary Russell Jr. vs. Christopher Perez in the featherweight division; the featured bout of the night is Cornelius “K9” Bundrage vs. Cory Spinks in a rematch of their August 2010 fight and is for Bundrage’s IBF junior middleweight title.
Lara (16-1-1) has been the center of attention lately because of the lack of attention Golden Boy (Lara’s promoter) has been giving him in regards to the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez sweepstakes. With possible “Canelo” Alvarez opponents becoming slimmer by the week, it would seem as though Golden Boy would have by now at least considered giving Lara a shot at the WBC champion. However, that hasn’t been the case and in fact Lara’s name hasn’t even been mentioned.
Thaboxingvoice.com had Lara’s manger, Louis DeCubas Jr., as a guest on its radio show Thursday to discuss some of the issues surrounding Lara and the lack of consideration being given to him by his promotional company, Golden Boy
DeCubas said he was “baffled”, by the lack of courtesy Golden Boy has been displaying towards Lara. He said Lara is frustrated and had just recently spoken with Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez about why he was being overlooked for the Canelo fight. DeCubas said Gomez expressed to Lara that Canelo didn’t want the fight and that Gomez himself said he felt Lara deserved the fight, a sentiment DeCubas shares.
“Canelo Alvarez is terrified of the kid,” De Cubas said. Speaking on the matter further, De Cubas expressed his own frustration with the fact that Golden Boy hasn’t mentioned Lara by name and has done little to cement Lara as a fighter they believe to be a threat in the division.
“Mention the kids name, let everyone know he’s a top contender and he’s your own fighter and he deserves this fight,” DeCubas said.
It’s clear that Lara’s team will do whatever they can to get a meaningful fight but have been unsuccessful in their efforts, and they have even considered shifting through various weight classes to accommodate other fights outside the 154lb division. “We’ve tried to get the [Ricardo] Mayorga’s of the world and Shane Mosley, all the big names and it’s always the same excuses, they don’t want to fight or we can’t make the fight happen. We offered to fight Victor Ortiz, they thought I was crazy. We offered to jump up to [160lbs] to fight Pirog, Geale, Golovkin and Sergio Martinez, who we were after for a while,” De Cubas said. De Cubas made it clear that they reached out to Pirog’s team to make a fight in Russia and it was to no prevail.
Thaboxingvoice.com’s Nestor Gibbs recently did an interview with James Kirkland’s trainer, Anne Wolfe, and she said that even though she thinks Lara beats Canelo, she still doesn’t feel that Lara is a feared fighter. De Cubas responded by saying , “For Anne to say that, we can do Lara-Kirkland anytime she wants if she doesn’t think Lara is the most feared fighter and I guarantee you that Cameron Dunkin doesn’t take the fight.”
It would seem that Lara and his manager are stuck between a rock and a hard place; perhaps desperate times call for desperate measures. DeCubas laid claim to a very big move coming Saturday. “I think I’m going to have a nice surprise for the boxing world in the next few days, you guys will see on Saturday night and [Lara’s] going to get the big fights.”
Later in the conversation, Nestor Gibbs suggested to DeCubas that bringing in powerful boxing advisor Al Haymon might be a direction worth exploring. DeCubas made it very apparent that Gibbs’ suggestion would soon be coming to fruition, implying that maybe A Haymon-Lara connection is a done deal but not committing to it fully.
“Trust me you’ll see on Saturday night, I don’t want to speak on that right now but Saturday night you’ll see something you like. You’re a smart man [Nestor], on Saturday night you’ll see something real nice in the ring with us, we’ll see a nice little surprise for Golden Boy and for everybody.”
The benefits of a partnership with Al Haymon could mean big things for Lara. With Haymon in Lara’s corner, the big fights are much more of a possibility. De Cubas jokingly told ThaBoxingVoice team to look for him to wink into the camera on fight night, that it would be his way of saying I told you so.
It would seem that even though Lara never came away with the decision victory he deserved in the Paul Williams fight, he did take some of the mystic from Williams. Williams was long thought to be one of the most avoided fighters in boxing and with Lara’s performance in the Williams fight, Lara now appears to have taken the title of “most feared.”
Co-host of ThaBoxingVoice.com’s radio show, Victor Salazar, brought up an interesting point with De Cubas on the show, suggesting that if Lara would have gotten the victory he deserved over Williams perhaps things would be different right now. I tend to agree with Victor, but I also feel that because of the controversial nature of the Lara-Williams decision and the fact that it garnered much attention weeks after the fight, that maybe it helped Lara’s popularity a bit. It provided sympathy from fight fans for Lara and it also gave him the kind of attention that resonates with casual fans.
Regardless, if we in fact see Sam Watson in the corner of Lara this weekend we’ll know that the next fight for Lara won’t be anything but meaningful. If the “Twins” walk out with Lara it will give a new meaning to the boxing phrase “coming out party” for Lara.