The Saul Alvarez-Erislandy Lara Prediction Panel

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The Cruelest Sport staff and a few special guest panelists offer their thoughts and picks on the Saul Alvarez-Erislandy Lara fight.

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Mauricio Salvador, Esquina Boxeo and The Cruelest Sport.

If Canelo tries to outbox Lara, we may see a scenario where Lara can win the fight on the scorecards. But if, on the other hand, Canelo manages to combine some of his defensive moves with a more physical style, then Lara might have to face the kind of pressure he has never seen before. Alvarez W12

 

Andrew Harrison, The Queensberry Rules and Boxing Monthly

In terms of talent, there’s little to split the flame-haired Mexican and the mercurial Cuban in a battle between the two best 154-pound fighters outside of Floyd Mayweather. Of the pair, Alvarez, Golden Boy’s flagship attraction, appears under less pressure to deviate from his usual method; it seems optimistic at best that Lara will be awarded a decision in Vegas based on his familiar one-two routine — which can be a tad anemic — regardless of how artfully he might carry it off. In 1999, Ronald “Winky” Wright — another knotty port sider deemed bothersome enough to overlook — faced a similar conundrum when pitched in against unbeaten star in the making Fernando Vargas. Compelled to force the action, Wright boxed with sufficient urgency to assert his hunger and command attention yet fielded more flak than usual in doing so to tilt a hotly-disputed decision Vargas’s way. Alvarez may get lost at times on Saturday but his steadiness, punch selection (his overhand right and left hook to the liver should be working overtime here) and willingness to engage can help pound out a solid victory. Alvarez UD12
 

Michael Nelson, The Cruelest Sport

Erislandy Lara is fast, talented, and looks dynamic against fellow southpaws, but he has a history of being bullied a bit by strong orthodox fighters. Carlos Molina and Alfredo Angulo especially produced more than a handful of shaky moments. Saul Alvarez fits the bill, except he’s not as spoiling as Molina or nearly as open to counters as Angulo. The action in the middle of the ring may well be tough to score, but I think Canelo will differentiate himself by what he does while Lara’s back is against the ropes. A year and a half ago, I would’ve considered this an even matchup. I suspect Canelo has grown from his experiences with Austin Trout and Floyd Mayweather, however, and like him to win in a competitive, but clear decision. Alvarez UD12

 
Bart Barry, 15Rounds and Ring Magazine

If Alvarez-Lara is a good fight, and there’s a very real chance it will not be, it will be made more intriguing by the squaring-off of an unlikely pair: Mexican housewives and boxing misanthropes. Mexican housewives, subjected to Alvarez’s myriad of devilish charms for years now on daytime television, believe fervently in their man. Boxing misanthropes, ignored by women of every kind for even longer, believe zealously in Lara. I’ll take Alvarez, UD-12, in a match the housewives score 120-108 for the Mexican and the misanthropes growl about on message boards for the rest of 2014. AlvarezUD12

 
Jimmy Tobin, The Cruelest Sport

If the price were but a grip of pesos after a mail-in rebate from Ojo Rojo, people would watch Saul Alvarez pummel a piñata on pay-per-view. Yet, he is imperilling himself again. Erislandy Lara is a southpaw who graduated summa cum laude from the Cuban amateur system—and a man with confidence befitting his boxing lineage. Lara whitewashed the same Austin Trout who troubled Alvarez; those touting Lara have practically erected shrines to this show of one-upmanship. Yet Alvarez has a counter: Alfredo Angulo dumped Lara twice before succumbing to an eye injury. Strangely, Angulo’s ability to hurt Lara has garnered more attention than both the bout’s outcome—Lara TKO10—and Lara’s role in tenderizing Angulo for Alvarez. This focus on Angulo’s success is pertinent however: it showed that Lara is not as elusive as his mold implies. Meanwhile, Angulo was mercilessly pasted by the pasty Alvarez, who left the ring with fewer scratches than a used 45lp. The thinking here is that Lara is not as good as his schooling of Trout asserts; nor is Alvarez the juggernaut he appeared against Angulo, Against Lara, however, Alvarez should prove less defeatist than Trout while as hurtful as Angulo. If Lara does not have some big moments early, Alvarez’ confidence will build (thereby keeping his stamina issues in check). To wrest control of the fight, Lara will then have to embrace an aggressiveness he has been programmed to exploit, not employ. Forced out of his comfort zone against a house fighter who is already his equal is no way for Lara to win. And he won’t. Alvarez by decision.

 

Corey Erdman, Co-host of Fantasy Sports Today, Contributor to Ring Magazine, and Analyst for The Fight Network

Lara appears to be the trendy pick amongst boxing writers and Boxingheadz who APPRECIATE THE SWEET SCIENCE MORE THAN YOU, BRO. Perhaps they’re overthinking things, however. This is the same Erislandy Lara who was in serious trouble against the plodding brute Alfredo Angulo. Though Canelo doesn’t exactly have a similar style, he likely has greater punching power, and most certainly is more accurate. The only thing holding Canelo back from winning this fight will be his identity problem in the ring. Cinnamon clearly fancies himself a stylish boxer puncher, and those delusions were only furthered when he was able to dance around a scarecrow like Angulo. Though he’ll never be the bullish pressure fighter the HBO and Showtime highlight packs will have you believe, the more Alvarez makes use of his true gifts at 154–strength, thickness, power–the better off he’ll be. Canelo TKO-11 Lara

 

Joel Stern, The Sweet Science and Assistant Coach of the UC Davis Boxing Team

Lara’s sharp counterpunching will keep Canelo from getting off his combinations. Canelo won’t be able to adjust and will tire with all the thinking. Lara via majority decision because Canelo starts the fight winning the first four rounds. Lara W12

 

Jason Karp, The Cruelest Sport

To the chagrin of many overly cynical observers, Canelo does possess considerable weapons that go beyond his puffed up Golden Boy press clippings. Two-handed power, complimented by at times impressive combination punching and solid defensive fundamentals present a puzzling conundrum for most any opponent. These attributes, however, are sometimes undermined by a lackadaisical pace and an offense that suffers from the absence of that allusive next gear. Unlike past opponents Williams and Angulo, Canelo will be able to make the adjustments necessary to neutralize Lara’s primary weapon, the overhand left. That will leave it to Lara to push a pace sufficient to make the Mexican uncomfortable. Whether Lara, a natural counterpuncher, is capable of this kind of activity is what’s at doubt, but is ultimately what will determine the outcome. Alvarez UD12 Lara

 
Oliver Goldstein, Bad Left Hook and Boxing Monthly

Canelo Alvarez continues to prove himself willing to fight proper competition when he takes on Erislandy Lara this Saturday night, an awkward southpaw with little hype and less clout who should nonetheless provide a far stiffer test than dear Alfredo Angulo did last March. Lara has at times flattered to deceive in his stop-start professional run, which has suffered both from his perceived tedium as a fighter and his inability to stir a significant support base, and his best performance remains a dubious loss to Paul Williams. Austin Trout is a common opponent, but his presence on both slates perhaps foretells more about what could become Canelo than it does Lara: Trout, a tall, languid southpaw, provided Alvarez a fair degree of strife when they met in April 2013, though the Mexican’s unwillingness to throw in abundance doubtless added to the perception that Canelo had struggled. Lara is something of an enigma, hot against Williams and cold against Carlos Molina, and Canelo stands as probably the most unknown known quantity in boxing, a capable draw who yet requires signature wins. Whether that will manifest in a good fight remains to be seen. But I expect Canelo to triumph after some difficulty in conclusive fashion. Canelo KO10 Lara

 

Andrew Fruman, The Cruelest Sport

Despite his stocky build, which suggests an inside banger, Alvarez is a patient mid-to-long-range counter puncher. This is great against a come-forward plodder, but against a fighter like Lara, it’s not the best of styles. We saw this against Mayweather, where Alvarez was simply too slow to put himself in a position to land much. Lara might not have all the skills Mayweather does, but he’s a crafty fighter with decent foot speed and a very long reach. And in a fight that’s almost certainly going to be fought at longer range, I’ll take those attributes over what Alvarez brings to the table. Lara by 116-112 scores is my pick.

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Tags: Erislandy Lara Saul Alvarez

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