Erislandy Lara got under Canelo Alvarez's skin, which may have played a big role in getting him the Showtime pay-per-view main event with Alvarez this Saturday night, but when asked on a conference call this week whether or not he thinks he owes Alvarez a debt of gratitude for giving him the opportunity, the Cuban southpaw was defiant in response.
"Absolutely not," said Lara. "I don't owe him anything other than left hands. I forced this fight. It wasn't because he wanted to take this fight.
"We've been after this fight for two years and I've been putting pressure on social media or 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 12th you're going to see the reason why he didn't want this fight."
Lara (19-1-2, 12 KO) has a "bad" combination of talent and no fan base that often leads to fighters like him being passed over for major bouts, as they are considered high-risk and low-reward for money-generating fighters like Canelo (43-1-1, 31 KO). But Alvarez has been in a similar spot before, too, and he demanded that Golden Boy make a fight with Austin Trout for April 2013.
Whether or not Lara feels he owes anything to Canelo -- and his stance is certainly fair -- boxing fans may owe Canelo a little bit for being willing to take on the toughest fights out there, rather than lesser matchups that may have brought similar money and interest from the general public.