By Jason Schott - @JESchott19
Canelo Alvarez's next fight will be against Erislandy "The American Dream" Lara at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on July 12th, it was announced at a press conference at the Hard Rock in Times Square on Thursday afternoon.
Lara holds the WBA World Junior Middleweight World Championship, which he originally won against Alfredo Angulo on August 8, 2013, and defended it with a win over Austin Trout at Barclays Center on December 7th. Lara has 19 wins, including 12 by way of knockout, 1 loss, and 2 draws.
Lara was originally scheduled to defend his WBA title against Ishe Smith on Friday, May 2nd to kick off Cinco de Mayo weekend which featured the Floyd Mayweather fight. He withdrew from that fight to set up this battle with Canelo.
Alvarez has 43 wins, with 31 knockouts, 1 loss, and 1 draw. Canelo's last win came by TKO over Alfredo Angulo on March 8th in Vegas. His two fights in 2013 were a win over Trout on April 20th, and a loss to Floyd Mayweather on September 14th.
Alvarez said of this upcoming battle, "This fight against Erislandy Lara is very important for my career because it's an opponent with vast experience in both the amateur and professional field, and I am sure our fighting styles will provide an explosive battle and great atmosphere that night. Lara, the media, and the fans around the world wanted this match to take place, and here I am fulfilling their request since I have no doubt that everyone will be completely satisfied."
Lara said, "I give Canelo respect for accepting this fight, and even though it took him a while to step up, we're going to give the fans a great performance on July 12th. I'm coming to show the world I'm the best fighter at 154 pounds. This is the biggest fight of my career, and beating Canelo will get me closer to my ultimate goal, a showdown with Floyd Mayweather."
Alvarez spoke directly to the fans on hand at the Hard Rock, "These fans motivate me to keep training and to get up in the morning and run. I want people to say that I came from Mexico to the boxing world. It's a big responsibility for me because in Mexico, there are a lot of legends. But our legends cannot be compared to any others. No two Mexican legends are alike.
"Lara has talked a lot, to [the fans] you guys asked for the fight, and here it is. What you guys ask from me, I will give you. A lot have asked me, 'Why did you take this fight?' I say, 'Why not? I will fight anyone. Style doesn't matter. The reality is that a year ago the fans didn't really know Lara. Nobody really knew him. But he's been talking so much that now it's built up and the fans asked for it so I wanted to give them what they wanted.
"He disrespected me. But not only me, he disrespected all Mexicans. For him to be saying that he's going to give me a boxing lesson and he's going to take me to school...that's very disrespectful," said Alvarez.
Lara responded by saying, "I came from Cuba, where I fought the best. I earned this in the ring, fighting the best in the division, not on a Mexican street corner. July 12th the best is going to win.
I've always done my job against the best fighters in the division. I've faced a lot of hard punchers so I'm not worried about his power. Canelo knows, just like everyone else in the division knows. No one wants to fight me because I'm dangerous and I beat everybody. He took this fight because of the pressure I put on him," said Lara.
Oscar De La Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions, said, "Canelo has always been a true warrior who insists on fighting the best, and this is just another example. Beating Erislandy Lara is a huge challenge for any fighter, but if anyone is up to the task, it's Canelo."
The fight will be produced and distributed on Showtime Pay-Per-View, just as they did for Alvarez's last fight on March 8th. Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Showtime Sports, said, "Canelo vs. Erislandy Lara, a fight between the two best junior middleweights in the world, is yet another great example of the competitive, highly compelling and star-studded marquee matchups that Showtime has become famous for. We are proud to see Canelo Alvarez continue his quest to take on the best boxers in the sport today. Lara, one of the most skilled boxers in any division, is highly motivated by his own quest for a career-defining victory. I commend both Canelo and Erislandy for stepping up to the challenge and delivering the fight that boxing fans want."