Slick Cuban southpaw Erislandy Lara is seen by many in and around boxing as an extremely dangerous matchup for cash cow Canelo Alvarez, with the two meeting this Saturday night on Showtime pay-per-view from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Lara and trainer Ronnie Shields are outspoken and confident that indeed, Lara's crafty style can give Canelo major problems.
"The most important thing is style, and he's one of these guys that, Canelo, I think is who's in front of you that makes a big difference in any fight, some guys are hard to get out front, some guys are not," said Shields. "But obviously I think Canelo Alvarez is one of the guys that you know you have to be at your best, and I think that's what you're going to see on July 12th."
The trainer didn't mince words, either, saying that while Canelo is good, he believes Lara is simply better.
"I think that Lara is just a better fighter, period, than Canelo," he said. "You can't take anything away from Canelo, he's a really good fighter, you can't take anything away from that, but understand this, Erislandy Lara has a better amateur career and he's having a better pro career. It's just as simple as that. And Erislandy Lara is one of the best fighters and anybody and everybody who will invite him, so Lara doesn't have a pick-and-choose career. If you take Canelo's career, his career has been pick-and-choose."
Lara (19-1-2, 12 KO) dismissed any talk of past common opponents Austin Trout and Alfredo Angulo, saying that styles make fights, as the old saying goes, and that what matters is how these two "mesh" on Saturday night, not how they performed against Trout or Angulo.
"It's a good style match up because I know Canelo's going to try to press forward and press for action, and that's a style I like," Lara said. "I like guys that come and fight, and I pick them apart, like I've done to several guys coming up. These are the fights I like. I like guys who come to fight and I like to put them in the dirt, and that's what I plan on doing."
Shields sees some similarities between the two, but ultimately feels that Lara's counter punching ability will be the difference.
"it's a good style match up because if you look at Canelo, he's one of these guys that, he's a good puncher with both hands and he's an arrogant guy, in a great way, because he talks a lot, but he backs it up. And Lara is basically the same way," said Shields. "But when you look at the styles, if you look at Canelo, he's a guy, he likes to throw combinations. And that's perfect for Lara, because Lara's a perfect counter puncher. So, as far as style match up goes, this is going to be a great fight. It's going to be a great fight because I know both guys are in great condition, and that's what the people want to see."