By Rich Cheney: WBA Super World junior middleweight champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs) says he wants to fight middleweights Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. If Lara, 34, can’t get either of those fighters to face him, he’ll stay at 154 and clean out the division of all the top fighters.
Lara believes that he was robbed of a victory in his fight against Canelo on July 12, 2014. The judges gave Canelo a 12 round split decision win, but it was HIGHLY controversial with many boxing fans believing that Lara out-boxed Canelo the same way Floyd Mayweather Jr. did, but he wasn’t given a victory. The judges scored the fight 115-113, 117-111 for Canelo, and 115-113 for Lara. Boxing News Results scored the fight 115-113 for Lara. It was clearly not a win for Canelo, as he landed only 31 head shots in the entire fight. Canelo was eating jabs all night long from Lara, and too slow and short to reach him.
Lara will be defending his WBA title this Saturday night against unbeaten American Terrell Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs) in a voluntary defense of his belt. Lara vs. Gausha is the main event in this tripleheader at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Also on the card is WBC light middleweight champion Jermell Charlo defending against #1 Erickson “The Hammer” Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs), and IBF 154lb. champion Jarrett Hurd fighting former light middleweight champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout.
“I’m going to clean out the whole 154-pound division,” said Lara via Fight News. “The Canelo rematch is there. The Golovkin fight is out there. I have unfinished business that has to be settled. Canelo knows who the true winner of our fight was, and he doesn’t want to do that fight again,” said Lara.
I don’t think it’s realistic for Lara to think he’s ever going to get another fight against Canelo as long as he lives. Canelo and his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions want no part of a second fight against Lara. The Cuban fighter made Canelo look bad in that fight, tying him in knots by avoiding his shot and hitting him with jabs all night long. Lara gave Canelo a boxing lesson in that fight. Canelo was angry because Lara wouldn’t stand and slug it out with him the way he needed and wanted. The funny thing about this fight is Canelo used the same game plan that Lara did in his recent fight against Golovkin on September 16. Canelo moved the entire fight, trying to avoid Golovkni’s pressure. So, it was okay for Canelo to fight defensively but not okay for Lara to do it to him. It just goes to show you that Canelo can be a bit of a hypocrite. He’s quick to criticize his opponents when he lacks the talent to beat them.
“I would love to move up to 160 and Canelo and Golovkin are the top guys,” said Lara. “But 154 is much deeper. Those are the two guys we want, but if we can’t get them then we have to stay at 154 and clean it out, like I said. There are just better fights at 154.”
I think what it comes down to for Lara is he doesn’t want to give up being a world champion at 154 to move up and take smaller paydays as a contender while trying to get a fight against Canelo or Golovkin. It’s obvious that’s the sole reason why Lara doesn’t move up to 160. He’s got a good thing going by staying at 154 and defending his WBA title against largely over-matched and undeserving contenders like Yuri Foreman, Vanes Martrosyan, Jan Zaveck, Delvin Rodriguez and Ishe Smith. Lara hasn’t taken on a good fighter in his prime since he won the WBA title in early 2014. It seems clear that Lara is milking his World Boxing Association title with easy opposition in voluntary defenses. With Lara getting nice paydays each time he fights, there’s no real need for him to move up in weight and take smaller paydays as a contender while waiting for a world title shot to materialize in 2 or 3 years’ time.
“If you look at Canelo’s record there are three marks,” said Lara. ”There’s Mayweather, me and Golovkin. Great fighters fix the wrongs on their record, and Canelo and his team will have to do that sooner or later.”
I agree with Lara. Canelo has been beaten 3 times in his career, not just once, as his record would have you believe. Canelo lost to Mayweather in 2013, and he was beaten by Lara in 2014 and then Golovkin on September 16. The fact that Canelo isn’t being given defeats is more of a product of how much he means to boxing in North America in my opinion. Canelo is now the most popular active fighter in the U.S, and he’s not going to be beaten by a decision by anybody. If Golovkin doesn’t knock Canelo out in the rematch, then he’d better be ready to either lose or get another 12-round draw. I sure as heck don’t see Golovkin ever getting a decision win against Canelo. I don’t see that happening.
To beat Canelo, you’ve got to knock him out, and that’s hard to do because he moves his head so much, and he rolls away from the punches. You’ve got to jump on Canelo, throw nonstop punches, hit him to the body and don’t let him breath. Golovkin showed briefly in the final seconds of the 12th round how to knockout Canelo, when he was attacking him all out at the end of the fight. Unfortunately, Golovkin doesn’t fight like that anymore. If you look at Golovkin’s earlier fights against the likes of Kassim Ouma, he would throw nonstop punches to get his knockouts. Now what we’re seeing from Golovkin is him standing more on the outside, jabbing and throwing occasional pot shots. That’s not going to get Golovkin a knockout win over Canelo. When Canelo and Golovkin fight again next year, I see Golovkin losing if he fails to KO Canelo.
Lara is hurting his own career by his decision to stay at 154. He could make big money by moving up in weight, but instead, he’s satisfied staying at 154. He’s not going to get a rematch with Canelo by calling him out while still at 154. Lara lacks the popularity to get Canelo to agree to fight him a second time. GGG won’t fight Lara either, because there’s no money in that fight.