While Floyd Mayweather may have a reputation for choosing his fights carefully, budding star Canelo Alvarez does not.
Despite Golden Boy CEO Oscar de la Hoya advising his star client to avoid this dangerous matchup with Erislandy Lara, Alvarez went against that advice, saying he wants to take on the best competition.
And that’s exactly what Alvarez gets with Lara when they square off on Saturday at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas in a junior middleweight non-title bout.
Even without a title on the line, both fighters have something to prove when they step onto the canvas.
Alvarez is primed to be boxing’s next superstar once Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao decide to hang up their gloves, and a loss to Lara would certainly put a damper on his fight reputation. As for Lara, at 31 years old, he is fighting in his first PPV event of his career and needs to showcase he is worthy of a main event to gain future big-time fights/pay days.
Fight Break Down
Canelo-Lara is the marquee fight of the summer and that’s telling given that no title is up for grabs.
Each fighter is coming into the bout with some momentum.
Saul Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 KOs) rebounded dominantly from a September loss, the first of his young career, to pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather with a Technical Knock Out victory over Alfredo Angulo.
The fight had to be stopped in the 10th round after Angulo’s eye was swollen shut from a heavy beating by Canelo.
Now with the Mayweather loss behind him, Canelo’s focused on arguably one of the toughest opponents of his career in Lara.
Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs) is coming off two straight wins, topping Angulo and Austin Trout, also both recent victims of Canelo.
Lara also beat Angulo with a TKO in the 10th round, and then got a unanimous decision victory over Trout to retain the interim WBA junior middleweight title.
While Lara hadn’t received much recognition until his wins over Angulo and Trout, the Cuban southpaw had a notable amateur career in Cuba, winning the 2005 amateur world championship at welterweight before becoming pro.
Although it might seem like this fight is in favor of Canelo, who has 45 fights under his belt despite being just 23 years old, due to his star power, this bout will likely go the distance.
Both boxers are cerebral fighters who are very skilled and technical inside the ring.
It will come down to Alvarez’s power and maneuverability, and if he can catch Lara in the wrong position.
But, don’t count out Lara’s experience, who has just 22 fights, but an extensive career in Cuba that he can utilize to prepare for Canelo.
Lara has a refined boxing style and that showed in his wins against Trout and Angulo, although he didn’t receive the same credit that Canelo got for beating the same exact duo.
Erislandy and Canelo are the same height, but Lara will have a massive four-and-a-half inch reach advantage, to go along with the edge of being a southpaw.
Canelo is eight years younger than Lara and utilizes his strength and ability to stay out of trouble to outpoint his opponents. While Mayweather was able to beat Canelo with his counterpunching, Alvarez will look to limit that by keeping Lara close. Canelo is motivated and one of the best young boxers on the planet, possessing the confidence he can beat Lara.
Lara can be inconsistent at times and is nowhere near as durable as the rock solid Canelo. If Canelo can land one big knockdown, he could take advantage of Lara’s inconsistency.
Still, if Lara can maintain a safe distance and use a similar strategy to Mayweather, he has the skill to pull off the upset.
This fight has will be about the super-clever tactician in Lara taking on the aggressive-minded Alvarez.
Canelo is a man on a mission, looking to become the biggest superstar in the sport of boxing.
While Lara is a tough opponent, Alvarez will use his power and savvy in the ring to come out on top in 12 rounds.