Erislandy Lara has said he doesn’t owe Canelo Alvarez anything other than left hands as he prepares to do battle with the Mexican superstar this weekend.
The Cuban light-middleweight takes on the dangerous Alvarez this Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, live on BoxNation, and despite being one of the divisions most avoided fighters says he isn’t indebted to the former unified champion for taking the fight.
“I don't owe him anything other than left hands. I forced this fight. It wasn't because he wanted to take this fight [that he agreed to fight],” said Lara. “We've been after this fight for two years and I've been putting pressure on social media and 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,” he said.
The 31-year-old has earned a reputation as a slick and polished competitor having honed his skills in the fabled Cuban amateur system. Having fled the Communist state and his home of Guantanamo to establish his career as a professional fighter, victory for Lara will see him fulfil a lifelong ambition of becoming one of boxing’s very best.
“I wanted to come to this country and fight the best. That's what I wanted to do since my seventh professional fight,” Lara said. "I was asking to fight for a world title. And championships come and go, but these are the types of fights that will leave history, so that's what I plan on doing on July 12th.
“I always want to stand up and show why Cuban boxing's the best - that's what I'm going to do on Saturday,” he said.
Lara, who has only lost one fight in his 22 as a professional, that being a controversial points loss to Paul Williams in 2011, has vowed to do a number on the cinnamon haired Alvarez, a fighter who he believes is the perfect style for him.
“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. I like guys that come and fight, and I pick them apart, like I've done to several guys coming up,” Lara said.
“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,” he said.
The much respected trainer Ronnie Shields, who has trained the likes of Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson, will be in Lara’s corner for the fight and agrees with his charge, though he says his power in this fight will compliment his skilled southpaw counter-punching.
“I think those guys with the come forward styles really complement Lara's style. But at the same time Lara punches harder than people give him credit for, and on Saturday July 12th you're going to see that,” said Shields.
“I think if you look at him - everything has improved. I think there's just an improvement in him being just a pure boxer. He's probably one of the best counter punchers out there. You're not going to find anybody else better.
“Lara, he fights anybody and everybody. Lara asked for this, he asked for every fight that he's been in basically because nobody wants to fight him. He only wants to fight the best fighters, and this is why you'll see him fight on July 12th with Canelo Alvarez,” he said.
Canelo Alvarez vs Erislandy Lara is live on BoxNation (Sky 437/490HD & Virgin 546) this Saturday night. Visit www.boxnation.com to subscribe.