Erislandy Lara: Now or Never


World Amateur Champion and Gold Medalist Erislandy Lara (17-1-2, 11 KO), has lost significant steam in the hearts of boxing fans. Once considered the most feared in the Jr. Middleweight division is now becoming the forgotten member of the said division.

The problem stems from his newfound lack to engage his opponent that we seen in the lackluster performances in both the Freddie Hernandez and Vanes Martirosyan fights, fans are discontent and for good reason. This slump that Lara is in cannot be accredited to stepping up the level of opposition, as we’ve seen him fight with true grit and heart against Paul Williams.

Some would say it’s to be expected from Cuban fighters, but Lara in the past and (Guillermo) Rigondeaux as well as (Yuriorkis) Gamboa are a new crop of Cubans and have been bringing excitement and showing extreme superiority to their counterparts.

Erislandy Lara must take this opportunity and capitalize on it. This fight is the perfect style matchup to make Lara look like the fighter we remember soundly outclassing Paul Williams in his HBO debut, only to be robbed on the scorecards. “Obviously, the most important thing is for me to win, but I want to put on a great show for all the fans,” said Lara.

Lara is a crisp and savvy southpaw with good power and long arms, a recipe for disaster for the much slower plotting slugger in Angulo. This fight is a bit of a curve ball for me, outside of the fact that on paper it looks to be a great match up. You have your classic counterpuncher versus brawler which defines for a great battle in the ring. From the outside looking in one could only assume what’s on the minds of the executives in Golden boy promotions office. “Style-wise, this is a perfect fight for me because Angulo likes to come forward. It’s the classic boxer versus the puncher. I expect to put on a boxing clinic, so you can expect a smart fight from me,” added Lara.

A win for Angulo can only mean the obvious, a potential Mexican versus Mexican clash in September against the cash cow of the Jr. middleweight division, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on Mexican Independence Day. For Lara, it’s the same, yet less likely for numerous reasons. Lara is a technically skilled, crafty, counterpuncher that doesn’t engage. It sounds like what Canelo just faced in Austin Trout, a fight Canelo pushed for but his handlers advised against.

Outside of the hard-core boxing fan, Lara also doesn’t have much of a fan base to speak of and if the rumors are true Canelo is looking to do a pay-per-view event in September. “There’s always a lot at stake when I fight, so I know I can’t look ahead or take Angulo for granted. He is my total focus now. After I win on June 8; I can start thinking about a world title shot again, “expressed Lara.

On June 8th, it will be 8 months since Lara will have seen the inside of a ring. Can you say “Ring Rust” anyone? Well possibly but Ronnie shields, the head trainer for Lara actually has a good stable of fighters in Houston, Texas. You have both up and coming Charlo brothers along with middleweight contender Brian Vera, super middleweight contender Edwin Rodriguez, as well as anyone they may acquire to give Lara the proper work for this fight.

On the other hand, Angulo looked horrible against a Jr. Welterweight that was blown up to Jr. Middleweight and made to give Angulo a tune up, except Jorge Silva gave Angulo a fight. Lara is the fresher guy and Angulo looked done in his last outing. The counter puncher should always beat the brawler unless that brawler has 79% knockout ratio, something Angulo possesses. “The fact that I’m favored to win means nothing. Once the bell rings, it doesn’t matter what the odds are. It’s what you do in the ring that counts,” explained Lara.

“Angulo is a good fighter. I give him a lot of credit. He always comes to fight. I’ve worked very hard and am preparing for the best Angulo possible.”