In between rounds 8 and 9 Ronnie Shields can be clearly heard telling Lara (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYVELJAWc6k 50.18) “we don’t want any close rounds . . . the jab, one, two, it’s there all day”, as he explicitly appeals for Erislandy Lara to do more work.
This, if ever there was, was a call to be more active otherwise suffer the possible consequences of a close fight combined with possible hometown scoring favoring the current champion.
As it all took place Lara looked vaguely off into the distance and failed to acknowledge his trainer’s requests and/or instructions.
To me, it was a clear sign that Lara was not comfortable with the kind of pressure Alvarez (or his Lara’s trainer’s instruction’s) brought and as such he didn’t want to both; fight any other way than he already was (where he could catch his breath when he wanted and appear in control) and/or engage Canelo in a way that he may otherwise had of if he was not so concerned about punch resistance and stamina.
Then, after a not so crash hot round 9 for Lara where, in my opinion, he failed to really capitalize and meaningfully follow up on the few left crosses that landed cleanly on Alvarez because in my humble opinion Lara was thinking defence too much and running off sometimes almost before his offence has completed its natural course; during the break between rounds 9 and 10 Ronnie Shields again appeals to Lara to do more in the context that he just gave Alvaraez a 10-8 round.
But, again Lara doesn’t change tactics or fight with a sense of urgency.
And during that round Lara also sustained a deep cut under his left eye from one of Canelo’s punches (Alvarez sold the right cross and lunged in with a left uppercut lead, I think) that itself actually warranted the Doctor looking at Lara’s face and advising that it required monitoring.
That decisive factor alone should have motivated Lara to listen up and step things up for the world title fight and American dream that his whole life had apparently been for.
This is championship level fighting and he, uninvited and unannounced, called Alvarez out on the podium - we have all seen the footage and occasion that gave way to Lara V Alvarez.
In round 9 Lara looked to escape from Saul so much that he slipped in one of the corners and the justifiably respected commentator Al Bernstein (giving Lara the benefit of the doubt) suggested it was due to water on the canvas.
However, at point 55.00 of the above-mentioned video it can be reasonable clearly seen that Lara’s slip was more due to his escape velocity and balance than any additional deficiency of the coefficient of friction pertaining to the canvass.
Coincidentally, at the 54.52 mark (overhead camera shot) it shows a dark spot on the canvas, but that was just the shadow of the corner ring apron, and most likely the origin of any concerns about any fluid on the canvass that wasn’t red.
Throughout the fight Canelo allowed himself to become frustrated and therefore was not loose and relaxed - it matters when you're trying to time someone, even if they're not a runner.
But when they're a runner, as Lara was, it’s probably three times as hard.
Once it was clear that Alvarez was not overly concerned with eating a few of Erislandy’s best straight lefts to get into position, Lara seemed like he wasn’t sure what else he could do (Shields certainly didn’t give him any brilliant tactical advice, not that Shields is himself incapable of it).
Looking at all this in combination with the almost total absence of any body fat on Lara, I am a little tempted to say Lara looks like someone not confident about his off-cycle fitness; he certainly didn’t want to stand and trade at any point of the fight and that’s unusual in a championship bout - even if you didn’t call Canelo out and talk so much before the bout.
Anyway, perhaps I shouldn’t read too much into Lara’s physique, instead let’s just say his style has not completely transitioned from amateur to professional yet.
It had better happen soon, as for all its efficiencies and silent purposes it’s certainly not a crowd pleasing style.
I have no problem with the split decision for Canelo.
Happy to hear your views.
Last edited by stormcentre; 07-14-2014 at 11:17 AM.