This Saturday night on FOX from Minneapolis, former junior middleweight titleholder Erislandy Lara returns to action looking for his first win in nearly two years, as he takes on Ramon Alvarez, brother of Canelo.
The show will also feature another 154-pound fight between “The Towering Inferno” Sebastian Fundora, who is 6’5” or 6’7” depending on the day and whom you ask, and once-beaten Jamontay Clark, plus heavyweights Frank Sanchez and Victor Bisbal.
The fighters spoke on Thursday at their final presser.
”Training has been really good. We’re strong and I just wish Alvarez luck. We changed things up in our training and are back with Ismael Salas now. Alvarez is about to find out how hard we’ve worked.
”I think after the sixth round, you will see all the training that I did and the game plan that we have, start to break him down. After that, the knockout is going to come.
”My goal has been to get back to the top of the division. I’ve been at the top of the division all of these years and regaining a title is huge. It’s part of my history and my legacy. I’m super excited to be back in another big fight.
”I’m just focused on getting my title back. I want to look spectacular in this main event Saturday night on a big stage. Then I can move on to the biggest fights in the world.
”Going back to my original pro coach Ismael Salas has been great. Ronnie Shields is a great trainer and we had a great run together, I just had to change atmosphere. I’m very comfortable in Las Vegas. The sparring was perfect and we’re ready to rock.
”I come well prepared for this fight. The fight with Canelo was a long time ago, so now I’m just looking forward and toward being in bigger fights.”
”I’m not worried about what Lara’s mindset is. I’m prepared and ready to go. I’m here to write my own story as I’ve been doing by working hard since day one.
”What happened between my brother and Lara was years ago and you can’t change history. I’m only focused on what I have to do.
”We had a very good preparation for this fight. It’s a big fight for both of us. We’ve been completely focused on what’s in front of us.
”I don’t put too much thought into Lara’s last two fights not being wins. He’s changed his mentality and attitude and he’s fighting and not boxing as much as he did before. I think that shows that he still has a lot left in the tank to give.
”I’ve prepared very hard and I can only show it in the ring with my performance and my fists. We can both talk, but on Saturday night it will all be decided.
”I’m not just thinking about making history, but I will make history on Saturday night. The Alvarez brothers are going to make more history for Mexico when I win this title.”
”When I come to fight at different venues I’m able to block everything out and just focus on the fight. But I do have some fans here in Minneapolis and I’m pretty sure they like me here since it’s my third time fighting here. It helps builds up my confidence a little bit more.
”The only adjustment we made for this fight was for the southpaw stance of Clark. I’ve fought tall guys before. My last opponent was 6’1”. So this won’t be much of a change for me.
”We’ll see what Clark comes with on Saturday. We’ll be prepared to box from the outside but also adjust depending how he fights me. I work hard to be an all-around fighter.
”I’m just excited to keep fighting on this stage and displaying my skills for everyone. I’m only focused on getting better and I believe fights like this will show what we’ve worked on.
”People look at my height, but I can fight on the inside too. I think people expect me to box but showing all that I can do gives people even more to worry about.”
”I don’t think too much about his height. This is a big opportunity and a new start for me. We’re going to pull off the upset Saturday night.
”I sparred with a lot of tall guys including some heavyweights, so I’m all the way ready for this fight. I have a good jab and I’m going to use it a lot in this fight.
”I think I fight better against taller opponents. I don’t think he’s going to be able to out box me or fight me on the inside. I feel that I have all the advantages. He can take it wherever he wants to go.
”I see my loss as a lesson. We learned from it and we’re here now. It’s a blessing. I’m going to keep showing my heart and my hunger.
”This win is going to mean everything to me on Saturday night. I’m calling it my new beginning and it starts with this fight.”
”I want people to know that there’s going to be a new Cuban heavyweight champion. I’m going to put a show on and everyone can see it on Saturday night.
”My team has made adjustments and we’re ready to fight for 10 rounds my first time as a pro. If it was a 12 round fight, I’d be ready for that as well.
”I’ve made some technical changes that will make it easier for me to go the whole distance and go into deep waters.
”My opponent is experienced and it’s another chance for me to display my skills. I’m definitely going for the knockout and a big statement.”
”This is a fight that I’ve been waiting for. I’ve turned down other fights for a chance like this and I’m going to take advantage. My plan is to end Saturday night with a victory.
”I know that the Cubans are always great fighters and they have great training. He’s powerful and experienced, but at the end of the day, I know what he’s brining into the ring.
”There’s a good chance this fight ends in a knockout but I’ll be prepared to go the distance and win every round if I have to.”