Former world title challenger and current boxing trainer Ronnie Shields has two of the most talented junior middleweights in the world, as both Erislandy Lara and Jermall Charlo are in Shields’ stable of fighters. Lara and Charlo hold three of the major belts in the division as Lara is the IBO/WBA belt holder and Charlo is currently the IBF champion. Both fighters have their eyes set on the division above them and the world champion of that weight class Gennady Golvokin.
In part 1 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Ronnie Shields I discuss with him Erislandy Lara’s upcoming fight this weekend and his thoughts on the opponent Yuri Foreman. Shields also talks about Lara’s issues securing big fights and why he thinks Lara can compete with Gennady Golvokin. Additionally, Ronnie gives his thoughts on Jermall Charlo’s future and who he thinks in his stable has the best chance to beat ‘GGG’. Here is what Ronnie Shields had to say.
Jenna J: Erislandy Lara has a fight coming up against Yuri Foreman. Can you tell me about the preparations you had with Erislandy?
Ronnie Shields: Lara is a kid that loves to train hard. He wants to always be at his best, he wants to look great for the fight. He requires a lot of attention and he requires everyone to be at their best to get him in great shape. He’s in great shape and he’s ready to go.
Jenna J: Yuri Foreman has had a lot of inactivity in his career, what are you expecting from him?
Ronnie Shields: We expect him to be at his best. Yuri is a former world champion and he’s one of those guys that if you’re not ready for him, he can surprise you and beat you, so we definitely want to stay away from that. We have been doing everything we possibly can to get Lara in the best shape and Lara knows that he can’t take Yuri lightly and he definitely didn’t do that. Lara is going to prove that he is still one of the best 154lb fighters in the world today.
Jenna J: Lara is the IBO and WBA 154lb champion but he hasn’t gotten those big fights that he’s always wanted. Do you think in 2017 he will finally get those fights that he wants?
Ronnie Shields: Absolutely, that is one of the goals. The goal is to put him in with the best that’s out there. As you know, he’s been calling out ‘GGG’ for a while now and still hasn’t gotten a response from him yet but at the same time he’s still doing everything that he possibly can such as winning so those fights to be demanded. He fought Canelo and everyone thought he beat Canelo — we certainly thought he did — and we’d love to get a rematch there but they don’t want to fight again because they know he didn’t beat Lara. Lara just wants to fight the best guys.
Jenna J: Many people still think that Lara got the short end of the stick in the Canelo fight. Ever since that fight, he’s had trouble getting big fights. What particular thing about that fight do you think had turned off potential opponents?
Ronnie Shields: That Erislandy Lara is a good boxer, that’s what he does. He sits on the outside and he picks you apart. He makes you look bad, he makes you miss. He made Canelo miss terribly, he was making him fall all over himself and people are afraid that they’ve been in the sport for so long and had all these different fights but still this guy makes you look bad. That’s what people are afraid of, they are afraid that Lara is going to make them look terrible. They are really afraid to get in there with him.
Jenna J: Lara has been calling out Golovkin for some time now. Why do you think Lara will do good against someone like Golovkin?
Ronnie Shields: Golovkin is a great fighter, you can’t take anything away from him, but Lara is the kind of guy that tests his skills against the best that’s out there. Lara knows that ‘GGG’ is the best at 160lbs, so he wants to match his skills against the best guys that are out there. This is what this sport is supposed to be about, the best fighting the best. Lara is definitely one of the best fighters out there, so he wants to match his skills against other guys that are potentially the best in the world.
Jenna J: You also train Jermall Charlo who looks like he wants to move up to 160lbs himself. What is his future looking like?
Ronnie Shields: We’re still contemplating on whether we’re going to go to 160lbs. We haven’t announced anything yet but right now we’re looking to get Jermall back in the mix probably in April or May. I believe that he’s going to try to fight at 160lbs and see what it feels like, and if he feels that that’s the right move then we’re going to make that move. It definitely is going to be a team decision but of course Jermall has the last say.
Jenna J: Between Jermall Charlo and Erislandy Lara, who do you think has the best chance of beating Gennady Golovkin?
Ronnie Shields: I think they both have a great chance. With Lara being on the outside using his boxing skills he would definitely give ‘GGG’ a lot of problems. With Jermall, the strong jab and the power that he has, he would definitely get the attention of ‘GGG’ also. It’s two different styles but I think both of them have the capabilities to win.