Speaking Out: Saul Alvarez and Erislandy Lara On Their July 12th Bout in Las Vegas



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Saul Alvarez and Erislandy spoke earlier today via conference call to promote their pay-per-view clash on Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Q
When you came to America to pursue your professional dream to fight, was this everything that you thought it would be, to get into these kinds of fights? I know it took a little while to get here, but you’re here now, how do you feel, looking back, about the way things have gone over the past few years getting to this point?

Erislandy Lara

One hundred percent. That’s what I wanted to do, that’s the reason I came to this country was to fight in these types of fights, and to fight at this level.

Q
And when you came here Canelo wasn’t a big name or anything at the time, but were you thinking not only world titles and those types of fights, but significant opponents and pay-per-view level fights? Did he even know what pay-per-view was? They don’t have that in Cuba.

Erislandy Lara

Yes. One hundred percent, that’s exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to come to this country and fight the best. That’s what I wanted to do since my seventh professional fight. I was asking to fight for a world title. And championships come and go, but these are the types of fights that will leave history, so that’s what I plan on doing on July 12th.

Q

You and Canelo have a couple of common opponents, you both have fought Austin Trout, both have fought Angulo … one was easy for one guy and one was tough for the other guy. I’m curious, do you put any stock into the fact with the way that those went down, or is this just a totally separate situation?

Erislandy Lara

No. They have nothing to do with each other, basically all styles are different. And I’m focused on Canelo and I don’t think it makes a difference who he fought in the past. What makes a difference is how our styles mesh, and I plan on dominating Canelo Alvarez on July 12th.

Q
Erislandy, why is this a good style match up for you? Why do you feel comfortable going into this fight?

Erislandy Lara

It’s a good style matchup because I know Canelo’s going to try to press forward and press for action, and that’s a style I like. I like guys that come and fight, and I pick them apart, like I’ve done to several guys coming up. These are the fights I like. I like guys who come to fight, and I like to put them in the dirt, and that’s what I plan on doing.

Q
One of your countrymen, Yuriorkis Gamboa, lost, and I wonder if you feel any patriotism to step up for the Cubans in the wake of his loss?

Erislandy Lara

Gamboa is Gamboa, and in the Cuban system there are teams; here, this is an individual sport, I’m focused on what I’ve got to do. It has nothing to do with my game plan or changes what I’ve got to do. My main focus is beating Canelo Alvarez, and that’s what I plan on doing July 12th. And obviously I always want to stand up and show why Cuban boxing’s the best, and that’s what I’m going to do on July 12th. And it has nothing to do with Gamboa. Obviously we have completely different styles and we’re completely different fighters. Other than being Cuban, that’s the only thing we have in common.

Q

Mr. Lara a lot of popular fighters would go the easy road and avoid you. Do you feel you owe Canelo some debt of gratitude for actually agreeing to meet you in the ring?

Erislandy Lara

Absolutely not. I don’t owe him anything other than left hands. I forced this fight. It wasn’t because he wanted to take this fight. We’ve been after this fight for two years and I’ve been putting pressure on social media and interviews and jumping on stage. That’s what pressured him to take this fight. I know he didn’t want this fight and on July 12th you’re going to see the reason why he didn’t want this fight.

Q

The question was basically, given the political situation in Cuba, have we missed a lot of great fighters that haven’t made it to the U.S.?

Erislandy Lara

Absolutely. Obviously Cuba’s a very strict country, it’s a country that you’ve got to do a lot of things to get over here to be free, and there are a tremendous amount of fighters in Cuba that would be world champions or very good fighters over here that are never able to make it.

Q

I’m just curious, Erislandy, if you’ve had a chance to view the fight that Saul Alvarez had with Alfredo Angulo. I wanted to know if you thought that he looked good in that fight, or if he was facing a lesser version of Angulo?

Erislandy Lara

Yes, I was there in person, and I didn’t see the same Angulo, the same fighter that I saw in my fight. I thought that it was a decent fight, nothing special, and I don’t think that that benefits either of us either way.

Q

Do you feel any extra pressure because Canelo is the star and do you think you can get a fair decision?

Erislandy Lara

I’ve got no pressure to score a knockout; the knockout comes along. My main focus is dominating Canelo Alvarez. We have three great officials with the Las Vegas commission that we know are going to do their job, and I’ve got to do my job.

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Q

You mentioned that you’ve chosen opponents, more dangerous opponents than both Manny Pacquiao and Mayweather. Do you think that’s going to put you even at a higher plateau, at a higher level in the future?

Saul Alvarez

No, the question was asked to me about being in a position to pick opponents similar to Floyd and Manny and my response was, Look, I pick the most dangerous, the best fights, because at the end of the day I fight for the fans and I want to give them the best fights out there. As far as … reaching new heights, you know, by fighting the toughest fights, by fighting the best fighters out there, that’s how I fulfill myself, taking on the biggest challenges. And time will tell.

Q

What now do you expect to see in what you learned from Mayweather, building off the momentum from Angulo, what do you expect to show us tactically against Lara that shows your improvement?

Saul Alvarez

Lara and his camp have their strategy and they’re working their game plan. But I’m comfortable with mine. I’m working very hard. I’m working for this fight. Every fight is different. You prepare for every opponent differently. And I’m very confident that come July 12th once we’re in the ring all the other stuff goes out the window and it’s just him and I up in the ring. And that’s what I’m preparing for, and that’s what’s going to take care of business on the 12th.

Q

Canelo, Erislandy says that the Angulo that you fought was a lesser Angulo than the one he fought. Tell us, was that an improved Canelo Alvarez, or a lesser Angulo, as Lara said?

Saul Alvarez

It doesn’t matter what they say. They can say whatever they want. I’m not going to lose sleep over that. I know what I did. I know I did a very good fight. But that fight’s behind us. That fight’s in the past. Now I’m preparing for the next fight and for the future.

Q

I’m wondering, given that it’s going to be a little bit over the Junior Middleweight limit, as was the fight against Angulo, is it just as the fights go along, is Canelo … thinking that with each passing fight that his future is really going to be as a middleweight? Is he having trouble making 154, and does he see big things as a middleweight in the future?

Saul Alvarez

No, I feel very comfortable at 154, and I’ll be here for the next few years, if not the rest of my career. I don’t know yet. It’s when my body tells me otherwise that it’s time to move then we’ll do it. But I’m very comfortable right now at 154.

Q

I don’t think that Canelo has a lot of experience against left-handed fighters at this point, so I’m wondering, when he thinks about it or when he’s been training for the fight, what are his views of what kind of issues that stance could cause him, if any, because Lara’s such a technical guy anyway.

Saul Alvarez

Definitely, he’s a very good, slick southpaw, a very tricky southpaw, a good one. But I’ve never had problems with southpaws, I’ve been able to adapt. And this won’t be the exception. Thank God, I’ve always been good with southpaws.

Q

Is this opponent anything like Trout … are there similarities between the two? And in the Trout fight did he learn anything about how to fight against that kind of fighter?

Saul Alvarez

No, definitely we’ve seen improvement. Obviously, I improve on every fight and I gain experience, I get better, and, without an exception, this isn’t going to be anything different. We feel very confident and very comfortable.

Q

Is the winner of this fight the best fighter in the world as a junior middleweight?

Saul Alvarez

Yes, without a doubt he’s one of the best fighters out there in the world in this weight division. So the winner of this fight will, without a doubt, be the best fighter in the division.

Q

Because you complained about his attitude throughout the promotion for this fight, do you feel his attitude is genuine, or do you think he’s just trying to get inside your head? In other words, do you think he doesn’t like you, or is he just trying to psych you out before fight time?

Saul Alvarez

I’m not going to get into his games. If I didn’t want the fight, the fight wouldn’t be happening. The fight is here because I wanted the fight. And on July 12th we’re going to see who hits whom.

Q

Throughout the promotion of this fight, Canelo, you’ve said in the press that this fight has become personal with the comments that Lara has made. And I have to ask you, is that just promotion, or do you generally have a dislike towards Erislandy Lara?

Saul Alvarez

No, this is real. This is very personal. You guys know me. That’s not my character to be promoting and be talking for promotional issues. This is personal. He offended me. He offended my person. He offended Mexican boxing. So, yes, it’s very personal.

Q

How does it make you feel that you’re now in the talks and the names with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao as the top Pay-Per-View stars in boxing?

Saul Alvarez

No, I’m very happy. I’m very proud, because we have to show the world that us as Latinos, us as Mexicans, we can be at the top as well. So, yes, I’m very happy for that.

Q

I just want to get your official prediction for the fight. Do you see this fight going the distance?

Saul Alvarez

Yes, exactly the fight is near. And you know what, we’re ready, we’re prepared. I can’t really tell you if the knockout comes, but I can guarantee you this: that we’re going to come out with our hand raised.

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This transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Tags: Erislandy Lara Saul Alvarez