Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez is set to face Erislandy Lara at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on July 12 in his second successive non-title fight, and his trainer, Jose Reynosa, has declared that he wants his man to inflict some punishment on his opponent.
The popular Mexican is still rebuilding his career following the defeat to Floyd Mayweather last year, having dominating Alfredo Angulo on his return to action in March after a lengthy absence from the ring. The 23-year-old has been taunted by his upcoming Cuban opponent, though, in the build-up to their showdown in Vegas.
Lara initially badgered Canelo to try and tempt him into fighting him before stating that the Mexican has faced a lot of weak fighters which flatters his 43-1 record, instead of stepping it up and taking a fight against him.
This has seemingly angered both Alvarez and his trainer, who have taken the comments personally, and now they are out to prove to Lara just how good a fighter he is by causing some prolonged damage.
“We’re working so hard so that we can punish Erislandy Lara,” Reynosa said to RingTV.
“We’re working on trying to punish Lara. We want to really punish him. He was talking too much and those comments were not welcome. It was blah, blah, blah and Canelo took it very personal.”
It isn’t the first time he has been said to be fighting guys that are arguably below his own talent. His previous contests include victories against Matthew Hatton, Alfredo Angulo, Shane Mosley, Alfonso Gomez, Austin Trout, Josesito Lopez, Kermit Cintron and Ryan Rhodes - not exactly stellar names.
The one good opponent Canelo has fought during his career was Mayweather and he was beaten comfortably over the 12 rounds. So perhaps it is the truth behind Lara’s pernicious comments that have angered their camp so much, as it certainly isn't the worst with heard come out of a boxer’s mouth pre-fight.
Lara, who also has a late stoppage victory over Angulo in his locker, was - like Alvarez - taken the distance by Austin Trout with the WBA's 'regular' light-middleweight title on the line on both occasions.
Angulo did have his moments against Lara, whereas Canelo had a relatively easy time, but styles make fights, and whereas Angulo has the style to trouble an out-and-out boxer like Lara, Canelo’s slugging is unlikely to make Lara break sweat.
The 31-year-old Cuban has been highly rated throughout his career and largely avoided by the big names as a result, so Alvarez - regarded by some as having a 'padded' record - should be praised for taking what appears to be the difficult option.
He is certainly out to prove a point and nothing but a victory will do that. Lara had been due to defend the belt against Ishe Smith on May 2, but that fight has been called off.
The southpaw has a record of 19 wins (12 KO’s) and one defeat and has been said to be the Mayweather of the junior middleweight division. As we saw in the Canelo-Mayweather fight, the Mexican is light years away from the talent level that the American possesses.
He will hope that Lara doesn't present quite as many problems, although his speed and agility will prove difficult to deal with for the heavy-hitting South American.
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