Lara Explains Why He Is "The American Dream," As He Counts Down To Canelo Clash

BY Michael Woods ON June 13, 2014
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Erislandy_Lara

I admit, I kind of like the nickname Erislandy Lara has been using, "The American Dream."

The 31-year-old Cuban native, who takes on his stiffest challenge as a pro when he collides with Canelo Alvarez at the MGM in Las Vegas, on July 12, turned pro in 2008, after an extensive amateur career repping the Cuban fight factory. He attempted to defect in 2007, and made it to Brazil but was snagged by the Cubans. He succeeded in 2008, making his way to Mexico.

The fighter, who sports a 19-1-2 mark, told me that he is proud to use that American Dream nickname, because this nation has allowed him freedom to flourish. "America gave me freedom" he said, through manager/translator Luis De Cubas. "Coming from a Communist country, you were not able to do nothing. Here, I can achieve goals, become a world champion, feed my family."

Lara's last outing was perhaps his best as a pro. He soundly outboxed AustinTrout on Dec. 7, 2012 at Barclays Center, and with that, was owner of the interim WBA junior middleweight title. Pretty much the first thing he did after that was buy his mom, still living in Cuba, a house. She had been living in what amounted to a shack, with a metal roof, which as you can imagine wasn't too inviting during warm weather months. The hitter has two children in Cuba he hasn't seen in six years, so of course, that tears at him. But he is looking forward to a new addition to the clan, he said, informing TSS that the missus is due to birth a baby girl the day after the Canelo clash. Lara has two children, boys, currently living in the US.

Many fight fans are looking at this pair-up curiously, wondering why the Mexican young gun wants to attempt to get the better of such a technical wizard, when he has immense power to pick and choose his foes. Well, I say heavy props to Canelo for walking the walk…

Anyway, Lara told me, when I asked what sort of fight we will see, that he's ready for anything. "It all depends on how it plays out. We could stand and trade or I could box his ears off."

Lara sees himself as among the best boxers in the world, right there with the Mayweather and Ward…he'd love a crack at Floyd, and said he's confident he could lure Money into a scrap much the same way he did Canelo, if and when he takes care of the Mexican July 12. He sees a Lara-Mayweather fight as being a version of the Sugar Ray Leonard-Wilfred Benitez bout, "chessmaster versus chessmaster.

"Floyd has never seen anyone like Lara," De Cubas told me.

The manager acknowledged that Lara, like so many of these Cubans who have so much experience, can sometimes fall into autopilot mode. He's amped for this fight, but really, doesn't see Canelo as anything too special. "It's just another gig," De Cubas said.

What say you, fight fans. Is this just another gig? Can Lara exploit a perceived technical edge and give the 43-1-1 Canelo a lesson in pugilism? Or does Lara's chin get checked by the 23-year-old Mexican, who had an easier time with common foe Alfredo Angulo than the Cuban did. Talk to me, in our Forum...

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Comment on this article

oubobcat says:

When I first saw this fight made, I thought that Canelo may be in a bit over his head against Lara.

However, I then reviewed some tape of Lara. The fights against Alfredo Angulo and Carlos Molina.

Lara is very vulnerable to a left hook, particularly to the body. He also has no defense for a straight right hand. These are two punches that Angulo and Molina landed at will against him. I see Canelo doing much of the same.

Canelo also has a hand speed advantage. I think this is going to cause Lara issues as well. I see Canelo landing combinations to the head and body before Lara is able to attempt to respond.

Of course, Canelo also hits harder. And Lara was dropped multiple times. I think Canelo's power is going to get to Lara and discourage Lara from opening up with more than one punch at a time with the fear of being countered on his mind.

I think Canelo is going to dominate and his power eventually will get to Lara. I am going to say Canelo by mid round KO.

The Shadow says:

I love the Cuban school. But Lara is quite annoying at times. That American Dream name is a joke and so was the press release that came with the announcement.

Who does he think he is, Dusty Rhodes?

That said, he has surgical precision and anticipation in that ring. He utilizes his stiff legs and flat feet to perfection, which speaks to his amazing footwork technique.

He has a much more boring style than his Cuban captain Rigo Ortiz. Dandy Landy is a well-schooled boxing expert who lives and dies not by stick-and-move but his trademark "strike-and-flee." (Rigo, by comparison, is the physical embodiment of the sweet science.)

He also looks like he has mental stamina issues; a susceptibility to fold under extreme pressure. Not just pressure but extraordinary pressure.

Not sure Canelo can bring that, though. Canelo is a great boxer, not a pressure fighter. People forget that outboxed Austin Trout in scientific fashion -- a Trot who had just out-skilled reigning middleweight champion Miguel Cotto and would likely do so again.

But he is not a guy who will come forward like an Perron Angulo; it's not in his temperament. In his mind, he's a boxer-puncher in the mold of Ricardo Lopez and a super feather Floyd Mayweather -- two guys he idolizes -- not Chavez Sr. and Joe Frazier.

So box he will. Which may indeed play into Dandy Landy's [grotesquely huge] hands.

If Lara can establish control and fight on his terms, he wins in a landslide because Lara has seen Canelo's style more than Canelo has seen Lara's.

However if Canelo can pin El Dandy on the ropes, where he is prone to get caught, he will do some serious damage. That's where Canelo is dangerous. That may close the talent gap in the center of the ring.

It's a fascinating match-up. I can see a #CubanClinic UD but I also see a mid-to- late round stoppage for the Mexican youngster.

While Lara has the experience, Canelo says he will seize the moment:

"Ay waz born wedy!"

The Shadow says:

DeCubas sounds like a jabroni. Floyd never seen anything like Lara? Not only has he seen something like Lara, he's beaten it as an inexperienced teenager.

Perhaps DeCubas should go to The Cuba and holla at Lorenzo Aragon. (I'm sure that name's been barred in the Lara camp.) He's a guy with a style like Lara, only he's better than Lara in all aspects of boxing.

Mayweather may struggle with Rigo but certainly not with Erislandy Lara. On the record and off the record are two different conversations entirely.

DeCubas is right though -- it would be an interesting chess match.

stormcentre says:

DeCubas sounds like a jabroni. Floyd never seen anything like Lara? Not only has he seen something like Lara, he's beaten it as an inexperienced teenager.

Perhaps DeCubas should go to The Cuba and holla at Lorenzo Aragon. (I'm sure that name's been barred in the Lara camp.) He's a guy with a style like Lara, only he's better than Lara in all aspects of boxing, as evidenced by losing to him every time they ever were in the ring, which may have been every day.

Kinda like what the Lakers were to the Kings.

Mayweather may struggle with Rigo but certainly not with Erislandy Lara. On the record and off the record are two different conversations entirely.

DeCubas is right though -- it would be an interesting chess match.


Spot on.

Lara better get in shape to fight 3 minutes of every round otherwise that pretty face . . .

Lara has the skills (not sure about professional experience) to beat Canelo, but . . . .

The beating Canelo laid on Angulo and also how Angulo (with absolutely no defence but his face) walked Lara down; still resonates quite audibly with me whenever I hear of Lara V Canelo.

Skibbz says:


While Lara has the experience, Canelo says he will seize the moment:

"Ay waz born wedy!"


That has quickly become my favourite line in boxing coming from the young Mex.

This is a great match up but I fancy Canelo doing it, then going on to smash Cotto. 2014 will be Canelo's year, watch this space!

deepwater2 says:

Lara beat up Angulo and made him turn his back and quit which is not an easy thing to do. Lara softened up Angulo for Canelo.

Whenever an individual escapes communism for liberty it must be applauded . If Lara can have freedom and obtain the American dream then more power to him.

Lara would give Floyd some problems , more so then Garcia ,Bradley, or Khan. Mayweather beat his Cuban opponent by one point in the Olympics so he has seen Cuban boxing up close. This is the pro game which is much different the the amateur league. Just ask VL.

I favored Lara heavily when this fight was made but Canelo gets major props for making the fight when he didn't have to. Canelo has a chance. I want to check out the money line when the fight gets closer. I still favor Lara but as the fight approaches I might rethink the bet. The winner of the fight might get Cotto or maybe a go at Floyd ,it's a very big fight.
Lara would have a chance to beat Floyd if he wins this bout for sure.

Skibbz says:

Lara beat up Angulo and made him turn his back and quit which is not an easy thing to do. Lara softened up Angulo for Canelo.

Whenever an individual escapes communism for liberty it must be applauded . If Lara can have freedom and obtain the American dream then more power to him.

Lara would give Floyd some problems , more so then Garcia ,Bradley, or Khan. Mayweather beat his Cuban opponent by one point in the Olympics so he has seen Cuban boxing up close. This is the pro game which is much different the the amateur league. Just ask VL.

I favored Lara heavily when this fight was made but Canelo gets major props for making the fight when he didn't have to. Canelo has a chance. I want to check out the money line when the fight gets closer. I still favor Lara but as the fight approaches I might rethink the bet. The winner of the fight might get Cotto or maybe a go at Floyd ,it's a very big fight.
Lara would have a chance to beat Floyd if he wins this bout for sure.


Lara would try to out think and out fox Floyd... And that ain't happening! Floyd will take Lara the full 12 and make him look cheap. If Angulo caught him then you can bet your house that Floyd will too.

I think Canelo will beat Lara anyway, if he doesn't hang about and takes the fight to Lara then the Cuban will get uncomfortable and will be knocked off his rhythm. Without that he will be a sitting duck for whatever Canelo throws. Who knows the ref might jump in and add to the red head's hype..

thegreyman says:

Lara would try to out think and out fox Floyd... And that ain't happening! Floyd will take Lara the full 12 and make him look cheap. If Angulo caught him then you can bet your house that Floyd will too.

I think Canelo will beat Lara anyway, if he doesn't hang about and takes the fight to Lara then the Cuban will get uncomfortable and will be knocked off his rhythm. Without that he will be a sitting duck for whatever Canelo throws. Who knows the ref might jump in and add to the red head's hype..


Red headed hype... And that's all he is!

Only joking of course. I really think that this is the fight where Canelo will make his name among the elites of the middleweights- I definitely think he's got it in him to take Lara.

Angulo showed that Lara struggles with strong, forward moving agressive guys that don't let him box his own way- knock him off his rhythm as you rightly point out.

Canelo's far superior boxing skill should allow him to hit Lara even more frequently than Angulo did, and I reckon Canelo's shots will bang that bit harder than Angulo's too. I don't think Canelo will knock him out necessarily, but only time will answer that.

I would be cautious of basing Canelo's performance on his work against Angulo- I believe Lara broke the man, and the Angulo that turned up to the Canelo fight was not the same Angulo that faced Lara. Not to take anything away from Canelo- he fought a great fight: destroyed the guy, but I reckon it'll be a tough fight, and a victorious night, for the Mexican.

Skibbz says:

Red headed hype... And that's all he is!

Only joking of course. I really think that this is the fight where Canelo will make his name among the elites of the middleweights- I definitely think he's got it in him to take Lara.

Angulo showed that Lara struggles with strong, forward moving agressive guys that don't let him box his own way- knock him off his rhythm as you rightly point out.

Canelo's far superior boxing skill should allow him to hit Lara even more frequently than Angulo did, and I reckon Canelo's shots will bang that bit harder than Angulo's too. I don't think Canelo will knock him out necessarily, but only time will answer that.

I would be cautious of basing Canelo's performance on his work against Angulo- I believe Lara broke the man, and the Angulo that turned up to the Canelo fight was not the same Angulo that faced Lara. Not to take anything away from Canelo- he fought a great fight: destroyed the guy, but I reckon it'll be a tough fight, and a victorious night, for the Mexican.


Angulo couldn't believe his luck, being paid all that money just because Canelo was ONE lb over the contractual limit... It was not being broken by Lara but being blinded by $$$$. He was in camp fine, he was working his body to it's limits and nothing was going wrong. When he was faced with the baby faced red head infront of all his fans he was simply star struck. It happens. I wonder how he will fare in his next bout, hopefully well because I do like watching Angulo fighting his opponent but if he is indeed a broken man then it will be a sorry affair..

The Shadow says:

That has quickly become my favourite line in boxing coming from the young Mex.

This is a great match up but I fancy Canelo doing it, then going on to smash Cotto. 2014 will be Canelo's year, watch this space!


I believe in him as well! If he takes this and stays focused, we could have a force on our hands for the next 10-15 years!

brownsugar says:

I agree TheGrey,. whether it was the beating he took from Lara, ... the effects of being detained by the immigration department (I mention this because Angulo has looked very beatable even when he was winning after his deportation experience), ....or the rumors of Angulo not being comfortable at the weight, the Angulo that Canelo fought was looked like a ripe Georgia peach ready to be plucked.

Canelo's handlers have been very savvy matchmakers. From his early outings with smaller, but well known challengers, like Hatton and Lopez, to his walkovers against retreads like Cintron and Angulo,..... to a very live dogs like Trout, who I believe would have taken Canelo to school had the fight taken place earlier. Canelo has improved significantly over the last 2 years. He's actually a thick, squat middleweight boiling down into a junior middleweights body. He's a beautiful combination puncher and he's finally learned how to box.

I followed Lara for his first dozen or so fights and would have had no reservations choosing Lara to beat Canelo by a wide decision several years ago. Success in Boxing is so much about timing as it is skill, some fighters continue to grow physically while reaching their peak skill-wise, while their competition is either declining or merely maintaining.

Lara showed a lot of promise in many of his fights particularly against Angulo and Paul Williams. But I cannot comprehend why Lara struggled with Carlos Medina and Vanes Martyrosian. Both of those fights were horrible to watch and was nearly devoid of any meaningful offensive action. His fight against Trout was so calculatingly technical I had to record it and watch the finish later. (he wont win against Canelo throwing 5 punches around from his bicycle)

He redeemed himself against Trout by landing a sickeningly perfect straight left hand that almost relieved the judges from their obligation to render a decision. But it took him 9 rounds, of lateral movement and painfully slow deliberation before he finally let it go. And Trout has never been classified as a heavy hitter.

Lara while being a skilled tactician is simply too tentative and too defensive minded to win a fight against Canelo on his home turf. touching Canelo one or twice a round is not going to win him the fight.

Lara's ace in the hole is his incredibly skilled sparring mates at the Plex Gym. The Charlo twins are simply the most sublimely skilled junior middleweights in the world today. the way Charlo turned his confrontation with the rugged and well schooled Rosado into something that resembled a routine sparring exhibition/clinic. It was the most thorough defeat of Rosado's career this since he was stopped by GGG.

There is an old saying .... : "Iron Sharpeneth Iron", The fact that Lara is working with two of the smoothest most mellifluous boxers in the junior middleweight division maybe the one saving grace that allows Lara to overcome the popular Mexican.
Good preparation always yields good benefits.

Lara finally has what he's been asking for.... does he have the resolve to take it... in hostile territory? Can he turn it up once again like he did for Paul Williams? That's the real question.
I don't believe that he can. but I'll reserve my final decision until the day before the fight..

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