When you think of fighters that are avoided in the 154 pound division there are two names that stick out most, Carlos Molina and Erislandy Lara. Molina has been building recognition with performances against Lara, Kirkland and Smith and has since gone on to win a world title while Lara has kept his self in the spotlight with wins over name opponents (though not always in crowd pleasing fashion).
Lara has been in search of a fight with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez who is a red hot fighter for quite some time but the very skilled Cuban has been left in the cold when it comes to landing big fights. But why has he been passed by from so many fighters? Could it be a lack of action? It’s a possibility but it depends on the opponent that is in the ring with him. The biggest factors are Lara’s popularity and the risk he poses for any fighter he steps in the ring with.
Former world champion Paulie Malignaggi believes that Lara is a big threat to not just Canelo but Floyd Mayweather but Lara’s popularity may be what’s holding him back from landing those types of fights.
“Lara is probably the most dangerous guy to Floyd and to Canelo in and around those weight classes,” said Malignaggi. “But you know how the business of boxing is. You have to be popular enough to get those kind of fights because you’re a big risk and it’s not always the most deserving guy as much as it is the most popular guy. Life is about being in a popularity contest sometimes.”
So what would Lara have to do to make himself popular enough to land the fight? Does the popularity even matter? Antonio Margarito wanted a fight with Mayweather while Margarito was at the height of his popularity but he did not get it.
“Lara has to just keep winning. You don’t know what for sure will secure you a Mayweather fight. It’s sort of a lottery at times but if Lara keeps winning he will keep positioning himself and hopefully for his own sake create more of a demand.”