ThaBoxingVoice.com caught up with rising Junior Middleweight star Erislandy Lara (19-1-2) to ask about his up-and-coming fight against Saul “Canelo” Álvarez and his journey to the top of boxing as a whole. Lara hails from the Cuba, and like many Cuban fighters, Lara was a stand-out amateur with a slick and defensive style. Lara’s advanced technique has earned him some impressive victories, but also made him someone to be avoided at 154.
Also at the top of his game is Álvarez (43-1-1), who was a champion at 154 until facing ring legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. last September. Lara lobbied long and hard on twitter to get this fight made. Canelo being a bigger name, with more promotional dollars behind him, combine with Lara’s reputation as a difficult opponent made the fight seem unlikely, but on July 12th, Erislandy Lara will have the moment he has been waiting for. Simply put, this will be the most exposure and money ever netted by the soft-spoken Cuban.
Lara displays his typical calm in front of our cameras as he fields questions about what he is experiencing in the lead up to the huge media event which will be his fight. Despite all the fanfare and press coverage, Lara assures us that he is focused and ready, and that the cameras have not made him forget what he has worked so hard for.
Lara isn’t some hayseed opponent built up to be knocked down by the fan favorite, Canelo. He made it to where he is on his own merit, as many Cuban boxers do. The American lifestyle and culture contrasts starkly with the reality for many Cubans, and Lara poignantly states in this interview what the opportunities afforded to him by boxing have meant. While it may seem funny for a Cuban interim champ to call himself “The American Dream”, Lara, at this stage in his career, represents exactly that type of promise. He is driven by the adversity in his background to assert himself on the world of boxing. Lara is a tough and slick guy, who will no doubt eventually master English, and when he does well all see him for the clever competitor he is.