SAN DIEGO, July 11, 2014 – Showtime and Golden Boy Promotions are doing their best to get fans interested in Saturday’s pay per event in Las Vegas featuring Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Erislandy Lara of Cuba.
Millions paid good money to see Alvarez fight Floyd Mayweather last year. Far fewer paid to see him win in a dominating tenth round TKO over Alfredo Angulo in March. Once again, fans have to think twice about what their budget can absorb. With Floyd Mayweather scheduled to fight a September rematch against Marcos Maidana, and the potential of a Manny Pacquiao vs. Chris Algieri fight, perhaps a Gennady Golovkin PPV match-up, this fight may be hard for fans to justify.
Alvarez (43-1-0, 31 KOs) remains a huge star among Mexican fans, which was evident at Friday’s weigh-in with shouts of “Viva Mexico!” and El Tri flags waving. Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs), a Cuban now living in Texas, got a cool reception both for being OTM (Other Than Mexican), and for having trash talked Alvarez in the past few weeks.
Alvarez remains wildly popular among Mexican and Mexican-American fans. He’s a draw with them no matter who he faces. Lara is the one who really wanted this fight. He pursued Alvarez, showing up at his post-fight news conference after he beat Angulo, and calling him out on social media. So Alvarez told his camp to make the fight.
Lara is a southpaw, which presents a challenge for orthodox fighters. He is smart and patient. He will try to make himself a frustrating target to hit, and wait for his opportunities to do damage. Alvarez says he’s well prepared for Lara’s style thanks to working with good sparring partners.
Alvarez has an extremely high overall connect rate of 52 percent; Lara’s opponents to date have a connect rate average of only 20 percent. If Alvarez can’t hit Lara, and Lara shows effective boxing skills, Alvarez may be frustrated and throw caution aside. Lara may not have the punching power to take Alvarez down, but he can still win it if he can avoid serious punishment. A boring fight won’t be good for the reputation of either man, something they both need to think about.
Outside the ring, Lara has said he will take Alvarez to “Cuban boxing school,” that he likes picking apart aggressive guys who come to fight. Since this describes the Mexican approach to boxing, Alvarez and his fans took Lara’s comments as insults to them personally as well as their country.
After the weigh-in, Alvarez and Lara engaged in a serious staredown; the dislike between the two is very real. Lara told Showtime’s Jim Gray “I’ll break his face right here in front of everybody. Viva Mexico, Viva Mexico!” Alvarez responded calmly, saying This is what I work hard for, to give Mexico victories, this is what keeps me motivated. One more day to go, what else can we say? We’re here tomorrow, we’ll see who takes who to school.”
Scheduled on the undercard at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas on the Showtime PPV starting at 9 p.m. ET, junior welterweights Johan Perez (19-1-1, 13 KOs) of Venezuela vs. Mauricio Herrera (20-4, 7 KOs) of Riverside, California will fight in the co-main event for Perez’s interim title. Herrera won a lot of new admirers after his fight with titleholder Danny Garcia in Puerto Rico in March. Many observers thought Herrera beat Garcia, and he’s eager to show it wasn’t a fluke.
The remaining fights present two fan friendly Mexico vs. Puero Rico matchups. Featherweights Abner Mares (26-1-1, 14 KOs) and Jonathan Oquendo (24-3, 16 KOs) will go 10 rounds. Mares was a rising star when he suffered his first loss a year ago to Jhonny Gonzalez. He needs to get back in gear with this fight, an important bout for his future.
Junior lightweights Juan Manuel Lopez (34-3, 31 KOs) and Francisco Vargas (19-0-1, 13 KOs) will fight 10 rounds. Lopez is a two time world champion; if he wins, it will be his third weight class title. Vargas is a 2008 Olympian coming off two good decisions over Jerry Belmontes and Abner Cotto. This could be the barn burner fight of the night.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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