Erislandy Lara and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez are now only 2 weeks away from entering the ring with each other. Lara, now 31, has managed to become a world champion at light middleweight, but is still in search of the fame and notoriety that a win over one of the top stars can help him achieve.
I recently had a chance to speak with Erislandy Lara during a press Q & A to discuss the upcoming event. Lara shared his thoughts on Alvarez’ win over shared opponent Alfredo Angulo, and also talked about whether or not he feels he needs a knockout to win. Additionally, Lara’s trainer Ronnie Shields spoke on his fighter’s improvement over the years. Here is what Erislandy Lara & Ronnie Shields had to say.
Jenna J: Erislandy, did you get a chance to view the fight between Saul Alvarez and Alfredo Angulo. Did you think Canelo looked good in that fight or was Canelo facing a lesser version of Angulo?
Erislandy Lara: Yeah I was there in person and he didn’t see the same Angulo that I saw in my fight. I thought it was a decent fight, nothing special. I don’t think that fight benefits either guy.
Jenna J: Do you feel any pressure because Canelo is the big star headlining the card that you have to end this fight without going to the scorecard, or do you feel you can get a fair decision from the judges?
Erislandy Lara: I don’t have any pressure to get a knockout, the knockout comes alone. My main focus is bombing Canelo Alvarez. We have great officials with the Las Vegas commission who we know are gonna do their job and I got to do my job. My focus is on dominating Canelo Alvarez.
Jenna J: This question is for Ronnie Shields. When you got Erislandy Lara he was already an experienced fighter. Through your time working with him, what do you believe you’ve improved in him the most?
Ronnie Shields: Well if you look at him, everything has improved. I think we’ve improved on him being a pure boxer. He’s probably one of the best counter punchers out there, you’re not gonna find anybody else that’s better, that’s number one, and he had that already.
The most important thing is the task that they put in front of you. He’s beat everybody that they’ve put in front of him and what else could you expect from a guy like Erislandy Lara? The kid trains as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen and this is every day. I think it is what it is and it all depends on who’s in front of you.
ADDITIONAL ERISLANDY LARA Q & A HIGHLIGHTS
Do you think Lara is has the better technique and speed? Will that be the difference in the fight?
Ronnie Shields: Yes without a doubt, but also I think that Lara is jut the better fighter, period. Look, you can’t take anything away from Canelo, he’s a really good fighter, you can’t take anything away from that. Understand this, Lara had the better amateur career and he’s having the better pro career, it’s as simple as that.
Erislandy Lara has fought the best fighters out there, everybody and anybody who invited us. Lara doesn’t have a pick and choose career, if you look at Canelo’s career, his career has been pick and choose.
What needs to happen to make sure Erislandy Lara performs at his best?
Ronnie Shields: I think it’s who’s in front of you that makes the big difference on every fight. Some guys are hard to get off on, some guys are not. Obviously I think Canelo Alvarez is one of the guys that you know you have to be at your best. I think that’s what you’re gonna see on July 12th.
Both you and Saul Alvarez have fought similar opponents in Austin Trout and Alfredo Angulo. Do you put any importance on those fights or is this a separate situation?
Erislandy Lara: No it has nothing to do. Our styles are different and I’m focused on Canelo. It doesn’t make a difference who we’ve fought in the past, what makes a difference is how our styles mesh. I plan on dominating Canelo Alvarez on July 12th.
Your countryman Yuriorkis Gamboa recently lost. Do you feel any pressure to step up for Cuba in the wake of his loss?
Erislandy Lara: Gamboa is Gamboa. In a Cuban system there are teams, here it’s an individual sport. I’m focused on what I have to do, it doesn’t change what I have to do. I always want to stand up and show why Cuban boxing is the best and that’s what I’m going to do on July 12th. It has nothing to do with Gamboa, we are completely different fighters.
Why do you think this is a good style match up?
Erislandy Lara: It’s a good styles match up because Canelo is gonna press forward and press the action and that’s the style I like. I like guys that come and fight and I pick them apart like I’ve done to my past opponents.
Do you feel you owe Canelo some debt of gratitude for agreeing to meet you in the ring?
Erislandy Lara: Absolutely not, I don’t owe him anything other than left hands, that’s the only thing I owe him. I forced this fight, it wasn’t because he wanted to take this fight, we’ve been after this fight for two years.
We put pressure on social media, interviews and jumping on stage, that’s what pressured him to take this fight. I know he didn’t want this fight and on July 12 you’re going to see the reason why he didn’t want this fight.
Do you think Canelo made a mistake in fighting you?
Erislandy Lara: Yes he made a mistake, he doesn’t know the problem that he got himself into. He doesn’t know who I am yet. He can watch all the videos he wants, the videos don’t matter.
I can’t sit back and worry about anything else other than doing the right things that we’ve been working on for the last six weeks in camp, he’s showing it off real good in training. Everything is great, the sparring has been really great. We’re looking forward to it and we’re gonna follow our gameplan on July 12th.