Lara: ‘This is one of the better camps I’ve had the last few years’

Former super welterweight world champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara will look to reclaim a piece of the 154-pound crown when he challenges WBA champion Brian Castaño on Saturday, March 2 live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

“Brian Castaño is coming into this fight with an undefeated record, but it’s nothing I haven’t seen before,” said Lara. “This will be my third fight in a row versus an undefeated fighter. I’m taking this very seriously.  Stylistically, I feel I’m the superior fighter, but he’s a very strong champion. I will be prepared to take back a title in this great division, then look to the biggest fights that are out there.”

One of the big fights that could be out there for Lara is a rematch with unified 154-pound champion Jarrett Hurd. Lara dropped a split-decision to Hurd in a unification showdown on SHOWTIME that was the consensus 2018 “Fight of the Year”, having been recognized by the BWAA, ESPN and Sporting News, amongst others.

“The fight against Hurd was a great fight for the fans, but I felt I won seven or eight rounds that night,” said Lara. “To be on the wrong end of another close decision left a bad taste in my mouth. That fight being recognized as ‘Fight of the Year’ shows my versatility as a fighter. I was on the ballot before with Alfredo Angulo, so it was good to get recognized for being a warrior, not only a craftsman. I will always give the fans my all and come March 2, it will be no different.”

Lara is continuing to to work with longtime trainer Ronnie Shields in Houston, where Lara has prepared for his matchup with sparring that includes going up against top prospects in 18-year-old Joey Spencer and 24-year-old Eimantas Stanionis.

“Ronnie and I are working great together, and we have an excellent game plan in place.,” said Lara. “This is one of the better camps I’ve had the last few years.  Having young fighters like Spencer and Stanion is in camp with me is refreshing because I know they are hungry.  When we spar, I feed off their energy, because I know they are trying to take take their game to the next level, which makes me better. This is a demanding sport and they are definitely pushing me.”

March 2 also gives Lara a chance to share the stage with another one of Cuba’s best fighters, as Luis Ortiz is set to take on Christian Hammer in the co-main event, making the night a celebration of Cuban boxing.

“Luis Ortiz and I go way back and I’m happy that my brother is fighting on the same card as me,” said Lara. “We’ve gone through a lot since leaving Cuba to pursue our dreams of becoming world champions here in the U.S. Like myself, I know he’s going to be ready to entertain the fans on fight night and make this a memorable night for Cuban boxing!”

Photo: Hosanna Rull/Team Lara
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Castaño: ‘I want to make a statement to the American audience against one of the best fighters in the world’

WBA super welterweight titlist Brian Castaño is nearing his first U.S. main event and talked about how training camp has gone so far as he prepares to face former world champion Erislandy Lara on Saturday, March 2 live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Castaño is trained by his former pro boxer father Carlos in the bustling city of Isidro Casanova in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After a long and successful amateur career leading into his pro debut in 2012, Castaño has a chance on March 2 to make a lasting impact with an impressive performance against Lara.

“I’ve been boxing since I was a small child and now this is my opportunity to prove myself on the biggest stage,” said Castaño. “This fight is the moment I’ve been waiting for and the kind of tough challenge that I love. I want to make a statement to the American audience against one of the best fighters in the world.”

In recent years, Argentine fighters such as Marcos Maidana, Jesus Cuellar and Lucas Matthysse have become champions and stars in the U.S. with their relentless styles they bring into the ring fight after fight. Castaño specifically has spoken to another Argentine great in Sergio Martinez for inspiration as he continues his journey.

“I have a great admiration for the Argentine champions that have made statements and become big names in the U.S. in recent years and I know how difficult that is to achieve,” said Castaño. “I’ve sat and had great conversations with Sergio Martinez not long ago and I was able to learn a lot from a fighter like that.”

The 29-year-old first won an interim title with a knockout of Emmanuel de Jesus in 2016, before winning tough 12-round battles against Michel Soro, and most recently a final round stoppage win over Cedric Vitu to capture the belt he will defend on March 2. These were the first two times Castaño fought into the 12th round as a pro.

“I learn new things each time I fight,” said Castaño. “When you are a world champion, there are no easy foes. The opponents come stronger and stronger each time. I’ve learned that I have to double my effort every time I get into the ring.

In Lara, Castaño faces a challenging former amateur world champion who was the longest-reigning titleholder in the 154-pound division before he lost to fellow champion Jarrett Hurd last April on SHOWTIME in 2018’s Fight of the Year. Castaño is aware of what Lara brings to the fight and is preparing to negate it.

“On paper we know that Lara is a slick fighter that can be difficult to catch, while I’m more like a demolisher that goes after you all fight,” said Castaño. “Lara moves around the ring very wisely and has great timing on the counterpunch. In the ring, you never know how it can play out though. I probably haven’t faced someone like him before, so I have to cut off the ring in an even smarter manner.”

On March 2, Castaño will be looking to take his career to the next level with his performance, knowing that chances at the highest level are hard to come by.

“I’ve taken my career quietly to this point, but I know that I have to make myself known by putting up a great performance in this tough fight,” said Castaño. “I’m prepared to do just that. This is the opportunity that I’ve dreamed of ever since I was a little kid and I have to be ready to rise to the occasion.”

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Erislandy Lara wants Canelo or GGG

Former WBA super welterweight world champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara (25-3-2, 14 KOs), felt inspired by the state of boxing after watching last Saturday night’s main event between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (50-1-2, 34 KOs) and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin fought an amazing fight, it was a true classic.” said Lara. “I want to congratulate both of them for putting together such a tremendous effort to bring the spotlight back on boxing. It would be a great honor to fight either fighter, and I would love to challenge myself against them.”

Erislandy Lara has been training in Houston, Texas for his next fight with trainer Ronnie Shields, as he is working hard in the gym, getting ready for his next fight date.

“I am ready to make a statement and to challenge either fighter at middleweight, whether it is Gennady Golovkin or Canelo Alvarez in a rematch…I am ready!”

In 2014, Lara lost to Alvarez by split decision, which some believe Lara won.

The last time we saw the 35-year-old Lara was in April when he lost to Jarrett Hurd by split decision.

 

Photo by Stephanie Trapp – Showtime

Hurd unifies 154 with split-decision victory over Lara (Photos)

LAS VEGAS (April 7, 2018) – Jarrett Hurd unified the 154-pound division with a 12-round split-decision victory over Erislandy Lara in an all-action fight Saturday on SHOWTIME before a sold out crowd of 2,579 at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Hurd (22-0, 15 KOs), who entered as IBF Champion, dethroned WBA Champion in just the seventh unification in division history. The difference in the Fight of the Year candidate was a short left hook that floored Lara in the final minute of the fight. Had the 27-year-old Hurd not scored the knockdown, the fight would have been ruled a majority draw.

Following the thrilling bout, SHOWTIME Sports reporter Jim Gray asked Hurd if he’d like to face WBC 154-pound champion Jermell Charlo, who was ringside, to further unify the division.

“‘Swift’ isn’t ducking anyone,” Hurd responded. “I’m No. 1 now.  We’re calling the shots.”

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Photos: Credit: Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME

Lara to Hurd: ‘You’ve never been in a big fight’

WBA super welterweight champion Erislandy Lara is the longest reigning champion at 154.  The 34-year-old Cuban star has not lost a fight in almost four years.

On Saturday, Lara(25-2-2, 14 KOs) will have a huge challenge ahead of him as he challenges IBF super welterweight champion Jarrett Hurd(21-0, 15 KOs) in a unification fight from Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Hurd is big, strong and has stopped his last seven opponents, but Lara is not concerned:

“Everyone knows I love to fight his style. I’ve fought better and taller fighters than him and you’ve seen me dominate them,” Lara said at the final press conference on Thursday. “It’s going to be nothing different on Saturday night.

“I want him to come forward. That’s what I’m prepared for. I’m going to give him a lesson on Saturday night.”

“I have to give Hurd credit for taking the fight. It’s been hard to get fighters in the ring with me. There’s no need to talk because on Saturday we will find out everything we need to know.

“Everyone here talking from Hurd’s team can’t get in the ring with him. It’s different once you’re in the ring with me. You’ve never been in a big fight. We’ll find out what you have Saturday night. Right now, you’re all talk.

“I’m absolutely ready for this fight. This is going to be a great battle for the fans on SHOWTIME. I’m excited to get in the ring and finally unify the decision. I’m preparing to make history.

“I haven’t watched much video on Hurd, but as we saw from the Trout fight, he’s very hittable. Come Saturday night, he better have worked on some defense or it won’t last very long.”

According to Lara, if he beats Hurd, he’s going after WBC super welterweight Jermell Charlo:

“I don’t want to hear anything about Jermell Charlo, because Jarrett Hurd is the one who stepped up. On Sunday, Charlo can sign the contract and we can get ready to rumble.”

Photo: Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME

 

 

Hurd: ‘Lara is the top guy, but after Saturday night, it’s going to be me’

LAS VEGAS (April 5, 2018) – World champions Erislandy Lara and Jarrett Hurdwent face-to-face Thursday at the final press conference for their 154-pound world title unification this Saturday, April 7 live on SHOWTIME® from Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

WBA Champion Lara and IBF Champion Hurd will meet for just the sixth unification bout in division history in a fight that will help define the future of the 154-pound class. The winner of Lara-Hurd will join Hall of Famers Terry Norris, Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya and Winky Wright, as well as Canelo Alvarez, as the only fighters to unify 154-pound titles.

Hurd wants to be the king at 154, and he is very confident that he will be the man at 154 after Saturday night:

“Lara has been the longest reigning champion and he was on top when I first turned pro. We’ve studied him a lot. I didn’t get into this sport to be anything but number one,” Hurd said. “Lara is the top guy, but after Saturday night, it’s going to be me.

“It’s been a great training camp. We’re well prepared. This is the fight I’ve been asking for. After I beat Tony Harrison, Erislandy Lara had some words on Twitter for me. So I’ve wanted the fight since then. Somebody has to pay for that.

“This fight is coming at the right time for me because my confidence is very high right now. He’s a little older so I’ll be the younger and fresher fighter. I just feel like it’s my time. I’m going to be relentless. I’m not stopping until I get what I want.

“Lara is a veteran with a lot of experience. He knows how to win rounds and he can make you look bad no matter how good you are. I’m going to use my own awkward style and do what I do best.

“With my power and skill set, I can stop any fighter in the division. That definitely includes Erislandy Lara.

“Lara has great discipline in his game plan. No matter if he’s up on the cards or down or anything, he’s not going to switch it up. It’s hard to break a fighter when they’re disciplined like that. We have a plan for everything though and we’re confident that we’ll come up with something that will get us the victory.

“Lara is a guy who can’t take pressure fighters well. I have some of the best pressure in the game. I’m younger, stronger, taller and longer. He’s not going to be able to run for 12 rounds.

“Nobody wanted to fight this guy. I stepped up to the table because I know what I can do. He’s living the ‘American Dream’, but my dream has just begun. Saturday night I’m going to show you why nobody can survive 12 rounds with Jarrett Hurd. There’s a storm coming.”

In the opening bout of the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, super welterweight contenders Julian Williams and Nathaniel Gallimore will face off in an IBF 154-pound world title eliminator.

Also on the the card, IBF Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb Truax and former champion James DeGale will meet in an immediate rematch of what was the near-universal upset of the year in 2017.

Photo: Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME

Lara on Hurd: ‘I’m not worried about what he brings’

WBA junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara(25-2-2, 14 KOs) had a media workout in Las Vegas on Wednesday as he prepares for his 154-pound world title unification bout against IBF junior-middleweight champ Jarrett Hurd(21-0, 15 KOs) on Saturday at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas(SHOWTIME).

Here is what Lara had to say Wednesday:

“Everything in training went how it was supposed to. We did our job and now it’s time to fight,” Lara said. “I did everything in the gym that I needed to prepare for anything that Hurd can bring.

“All of my opponents are taller than me. His size means nothing to me. I have the experience and I’m the best boxer in the division. He’s never seen anything like me.

“He has to beat me to get the top spot in this division. I’m here to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“I’ve earned everything in this sport the hard way. I’ve fought the tough fights for no money. I think everyone knows how talented I am and that I belong up there with the best in the sport.

“I don’t watch film in training camp. A fighter can look one way on video, but totally different in the ring. He has to prepare for what I’m doing. I’m not worried about what he brings. I saw a little bit of his fight against Trout while I was warming up to fight Terrell Gausha, but that’s about it.”

Tickets for the show, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Mayweather Promotions, are on sale now and available by visiting AXS.com or the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Box Office.

 Photo: Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME

Lara-Hurd, Truax-DeGale II set for April 7 in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (March 9, 2018) – Erislandy Lara, the longest reigning world champion at 154-pounds, will clash with IBF champion “Swift” Jarrett Hurd in a highly-anticipated super welterweight title unification live on SHOWTIME (10 pm ET/7 pm PT) as part of an exciting card presented by Premier Boxing Champions Saturday, April 7 from The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

In the co-main event, Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb Truax will make the first defense of his IBF title against James DeGale in a rematch of one of the biggest upsets of 2017 that saw Truax wrestle the belt from DeGale on his home turf in London last December.

Tickets for the show, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Mayweather Promotions, will go on sale Friday, March 16 and be available by visiting AXS.com or the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas Box Office.

“This is an action-packed card from top to bottom. The televised card features boxers who all have something significant to gain with a victory,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “The winner of Lara-Hurd will be one step closer to becoming the undisputed 154-pound world champion. In a rematch, Truax gets to re-affirm his position as champion and DeGale has a chance to regain his world championship status. This is the kind of show that keeps fans on the edge of their seats.”

“We take pride in promoting quality events that our audiences always want to see,” said Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. “This card is going to be another line-up that the fans won’t want to miss. With Lara and Hurd looking to unify their titles and guys going head-to-head in rematches on the undercard, this is sure to be a night of non-stop action.

Lara vs. Hurd is a classic contrast in styles that could force each fighter to raise their game to another level. Lara is a crafty southpaw who relies on his superior boxing skills to confound opponents, while Hurd is a pure pressure boxer-puncher that stalks his opponents and isn’t easily frustrated.

Lara, a Cuban whose nickname is “The American Dream”, is coming off a unanimous decision victory on SHOWTIME over Terrell Gausha in October. Hurd was on the same card and defeated former champion Austin Trout when Trout’s corner stopped the fight in the 10th round. That paved the way for this unification showdown.

The 34-year-old Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs), who lives and trains in Houston, Texas, won his world title with a TKO victory over Alfredo Angulo in 2013 and has successfully defended it seven times, which includes wins over Trout, Ishe Smith and Vanes Martirosyan.

“I’m very excited and motivated for this fight and to once again be headlining on the best network in boxing on SHOWTIME, is truly a pleasure,” said Lara. “I look forward to adding another belt to my collection on April 7 and to proving that I’m the best 154-pound fighter out there. Everyone tune-in because you don’t want to miss this unification. It’s going to be a legendary night and one for the history books.”

The undefeated Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) is coming off a career-defining TKO victory over the former champion Trout in his last fight on Oct. 14. It was the first defense of the title for the 27-year Hurd of Accokeek, Maryland, who won the championship with a TKO victory over Tony Harrison on Feb. 25, 2017.

“I plan on being the aggressor for the entire fight, so I’ve been doing some exercises and working on techniques to improve my foot work so that I can stay on top of Erislandy Lara,” said Hurd. “We are not trying to go to the scorecards, so hopefully, I can be the first man to stop him, which I hope to do in the later rounds.

“I called him out, and now, it has come to pass that I get to become a unified champion against the man everyone considers to be the best and most feared in the division, and that’s Erislandy Lara.”

They call 34-year-old Truax “Golden”, and he punched his ticket to world title gold while on a trip to London in December, when he defeated DeGale by majority decision. Truax (29-3-2, 18 KOs) of Osseo, Minnesota was on a two-fight win streak heading into the match against DeGale. Before that his only losses came against former champions Anthony Dirrell, Daniel Jacobs and Jermain Taylor.

“They made the right call on the decision in England, and I expect to be even more dominant this time around,” Truax said. “I am planning to really just beat up James Gale and get the job done in more efficient fashion this time.’

“Fighting in Las Vegas for the first time will be a very cool experience and I expect it to be friendlier than it was in London. There is a lot of pride on the line for me, being that I’m the first boxing world champion from Minnesota in a long time. So there is a lot on the line for me and I plan to keep that going, especially as a means for supporting my family.”

The 32-year-old DeGale (23-2-1, 14 KOs) was the first British boxer to win a Gold Medal in the Olympics (2008 Beijing Games) and a world championship as a professional. He won his world title with a unanimous decision over Andre Dirrell in 2015 and made two successful defenses before fighting to a draw against Badou Jack on Jan. 14, 2017. It was a brutal standoff between two world champions, but neither man had his hand raised in victory. DeGale, who was coming off of an injury, had his home town crowd behind him but couldn’t deliver a win as Truax scored a stunning upset with the majority decision victory.

‘I’m happy to have the opportunity to rematch Truax and regain my IBF title,” said DeGale. “I am not going to make excuses for my poor performance, actions speak louder than words. I am excited to be boxing in Vegas and on SHOWTIME again. The real JD will be back on fight night!”