Lara: I do want to go up or down a division to fight Spence Jr. or rematch Canelo

Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara knocked out Ramon “El Inocente” Alvarez in the second round (2:03) to capture the WBA Super Welterweight title Saturday night from The Armory in Minneapolis.

“Having this belt back on my shoulder feels great,” said Lara. “It means the world to be champion again. I felt like in my past fights I didn’t lose, and that stings a bit, but to come back and win the title feels great. I’m back.”

Lara applied pressure early and in the second round he landed a flurry of punches that sent Alvarez halfway through the ropes, causing the referee to rule it a knockdown. Once Lara had Alvarez hurt, he didn’t hesitate to finish the bout.

“Once I had him against the ropes, I knew I had it won and I didn’t want to give him another power punch to hurt him,” continued Lara. “We expected him to be a little more durable. I thought it was a good stoppage. I hurt him with a lot of shots before I put him down the first time. I hit him real flush with one and I would have gone in for the kill. It was a great job by the referee.”

Alvarez didn’t disagree with the timing of the stoppage saying, “I respect the referee’s decision. I’m going to keep working. It is what it is. I fell down, but I will get up again.”

Lara went on to say, “I’ll fight anyone in the division. I do want to fight the best boxers out there in the division, or go up or down a division to fight Errol Spence Jr. or rematch Canelo Alvarez.”

Watch highlights of Lara vs. Alvarez HERE and HERE

Photo: Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions

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Alvarez: ‘The Alvarez brothers are going to make more history for Mexico when I win this title’

Ramon Alvarez might be older, but he is not the most famous Alvarez brother. Those honors go to unified middleweight champion, Canelo Alvarez. However, Ramon Alvarez(28-7-3, 18 KOs) has an opportunity to make a name for himself when he battles former world champion Erislandy Lara(25-3-3, 14 KOs) on Saturday from The Armory in Minneapolis for the WBA’s vacant secondary world title at 154 pounds.

In 2014, Lara lost to Canelo by a controversial split decision, but according to Ramon, no matter what happened, that’s old news.

“I’m not worried about what Lara’s mindset is,” Alvarez said. “I’m prepared and ready to go. I’m here to write my own story as I’ve been doing by working hard since day one.

“What happened between my brother and Lara was years ago, and you can’t change history. I’m only focused on what I have to do.”

Lara, 36, has not tasted victory since 2017. However, Alvarez knows that beating Lara won’t be easy.

“I don’t put too much thought into Lara’s last two fights not being wins,” Alvarez said. “He’s changed his mentality and attitude, and he’s fighting and not boxing as much as he did before. I think that shows that he still has a lot left in the tank to give.”

When it’s all said and done, Ramon Alvarez expects to capture another belt for the Alvarez family.

“I’m not just thinking about making history, but I will make history on Saturday night. The Alvarez brothers are going to make more history for Mexico when I win this title.”

Photo: Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions

Lara-Alvarez, Quillin-Truax 2 set for August 31

Former world champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara looks to get one step closer to returning to the world championship ranks when he battles Ramon Alvarez in a 12-round bout for the Interim WBA Super Welterweight title in the primetime main event of FOX PBC Fight Night on FOX and FOX Deportes Saturday, August 31 from The Armory in Minneapolis.

In the co-feature, former world champions Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin and Minneapolis-native Caleb “Golden” Truax will settle their unfinished business in a rematch as they again meet in an IBF Super Middleweight Title eliminator. In the TV opener, a pair of sensational young super welterweights collide as Sebastian “The Towering Inferno” Fundora takes on Jamontay “The Quiet Assassin” Clark in an eight or 10-round attraction. 

The slick southpaw who was born in Guantanamo, Cuba and now lives in Houston has faced off against some of the most accomplished boxers at 154-pounds, including champions Saul Alvarez and Austin Trout. Lara reigned for four years after becoming the full world champion in 2014 and leading up to the fight against Hurd.

 “I’m very excited to be headlining another great PBC event, this time on FOX and FOX Deportes,” said Lara. “This fight against Ramon Alvarez is personal for me, as I have history with the Alvarez family. Expect another great fight and a spectacular performance. I can’t wait to perform at this tremendous venue in Minneapolis. Don’t miss this fight, because I’m going for the knockout.”

 The 32-year-old Alvarez (28-7-3, 16 KOs) is the older brother of middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and will be fighting for just the second time in the U.S. In his first fight in the U.S. last November, the fighter from Guadalajara, Mexico lost to former world champion Brandon Rios. He bounced back from that loss with a decision victory over Jose Carlos Paz in his last fight on April 6.

 “I am very excited for this opportunity to fight for a chance at the world title,” said Alvarez. “I’ve worked hard my whole career for a fight like this and I’m going to take advantage. My brother beat Lara a few years back and I’m going to be the next Alvarez to beat Lara.”

 Quillin (34-1-1, 23 KOs) thought he was on his way to a victory when he met Truax in their first fight on April 13 in an FS1 PBC Fight Night main event. He had taken the first two rounds on all three judges’ scorecards before the action was halted when a deep cut over Truax’s right eye, caused by an accidental head butt, brought an end to the fight and resulted in a no-decision.

 The 36-year-old Quillin, who was born in Chicago and now lives in Brooklyn, heads back to Truax’s hometown looking to secure his world title shot at super middleweight. Quillin is a former world champion at 160-pounds, having won a middleweight title against Hassan N’Dam in 2012 before defending it successfully three times.

 “I’m going to finish what I started this time,” said Quillin. “I’m treating this like any other fight and working hard to put on my best performance August 31. I was in control of the first fight and ready to go for it. I’ll be ready again for a dominant statement when we get back in the ring.”

 The 35-year-old Truax (30-4-2, 19 KOs) said post fight that he had planned to wear Quillin down in the later rounds of their April clash that was cut short. He will have the opportunity to implement his plan and earn a shot at becoming a two-time world champion in front of his hometown crowd on August 31.

 Truax went to England and upset James DeGale for the IBF title by majority decision in one of 2017’s biggest upsets. He lost the title in a close unanimous decision in the rematch in 2018. A former college football standout from St. Michael, Minnesota, Truax turned pro in 2007 and has faced some of the best boxers at middleweight and super middleweight in his career, including Quillin, DeGale, Daniel Jacobs and Anthony Dirrell.

 “I’m ecstatic to have the opportunity to run it back against Peter Quillin at home again at The Armory,” said Truax. “The ending of the first fight was a huge buzzkill to what had shaped up to be a great night. We obviously have unfinished business and I am again confident I will get the job done.”

 The 6-foot-6 Fundora (13-0, 9 KOs) has begun to display tremendous power and has stopped his last five opponents inside of the distance. The 21-year-old southpaw from Coachella, California typically has a height and reach advantage over most of his opponents and makes the most of it. His last two fights have seen him knockout previously unbeaten fighters in Hector Manuel Zepeda in June and Donnie Marshall in February on FOX.

 “I’m very focused right now on training hard, taking it day-by-day and giving a great performance on August 31,” said Fundora. “I’m preparing for an experienced fighter and a good chess match. This is one of the tallest guys I’ve fought as a pro, plus he’s a southpaw. I’m ready for a challenge and following my team’s guidance to be at my best.”

 The 24-year-old Clark (14-1, 7 KOs) suffered the only loss of his pro career when he dropped a unanimous decision to Jeison Rosario at The Armory in Minneapolis on August 24. The Cincinnati-native bounced back from that loss with a unanimous decision victory over then unbeaten Vernon Brown in his last fight on March 24. He returns to The Armory for the tallest order of his career against Fundora, with the winner set to shoot up the 154-pound rankings.

 “I’m feeling really strong right now and ready to show the new Jamontay Clark on August 31,” said Clark. “I’m going to show everyone how the shorter fighter can out box a taller opponent. I know he’s got length and throws a lot of punches, but I’ll be ready for everything he brings. This is the start of a new beginning. I’m bringing the pressure and pain for this one.”

Castano: ‘I’m ready for whoever they put in front of me; Hurd or anyone else’

Former 154-pound world champion Erislandy Lara and WBA(Regular) Super Welterweight Champion Brian Castaño fought to a highly competitive split-draw Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.  With the draw, Castaño retains the WBA belt in what was the toughest test of his career against the longtime top 154-pounder in Lara. The judges scored the fight 115-113 (Castaño), 115-113 (Lara) and 114-114.

Castaño (15-0-1, 11 KOs), who was fighting in his first U.S. main event, held a large advantage in power connects (181-103) while Lara (25-3-3, 14 KOs) found success landing his left hand down the middle on his way to a 34 percent to 27 percent advantage in power accuracy.

In the final two rounds, Castaño ramped up the pressure and connected on 44 punches, while Lara landed only 24 punches across the championship rounds. Castaño won the final three rounds on all three judges’ scorecards. Without doing so, the Argentine would have lost his belt.

After the hotly contested fight, both fighters have options, including a rematch, in the talent-rich super welterweight division.

“I know I won the fight. I feel I was robbed,” a disappointed Castaño told SHOWTIME’s Jim Gray. “If he wants the rematch, I’ll give him the rematch. I waited for him this time so I can wait for him again if he wants the rematch. I would give him the rematch if he wants. I can also go ahead and fight any other champion that wants to fight me. I’m ready for whoever they put in front of me. (Jarrett)Hurd or anyone else.”

Lara, on the other hand, felt he did enough to claim the belt: “I thought I won the fight by landing the more accurate and effective punches. Castaño came to fight but he never hurt me and I hurt him.  All I can do is give the fans great fights and that’s what I’ll continue to do.  I have a lot of fight left in me and I’m not going anywhere.

Castaño-Hurd would be an exciting because both fighters like to come forward, which could make for another great fight, and it makes sense since Hurd is the WBA’s “Super Champion” at 154.

Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime

 

Lara: ‘I’m going to take a big step in cleaning out the division on Saturday’

Former world champion Erislandy Lara and WBA Super Welterweight Champ Brian Castaño went face-to-face Thursday at the final press conference before they headline action this Saturday live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center, the home of BROOKLYN BOXING™, and presented by Premier Boxing Champions.

Lara, 35, is looking to regain his title after losing it to Jarrett Hurd last April, and while Lara lost to Hurd, he was excited to be apart of an action-packed fight.

“I had a great fight against Jarrett Hurd,” Lara said at a press conference on Thursday. “There was a height and weight difference on fight night, but that whole experience is history now. My focus is on Castaño and making this another great fight. It’s great to be a part of awards like Fight of the Year, but now I have to move on to what is next.”

At his advanced age, Lara does not have much time left in the sport, so all he wants at this stage of his career are the biggest and best fights out there.

“I just want the biggest fights. There are a lot of great fighters at this weight and around it,” Lara said. “I’m going to be ready for anyone who steps up to the challenge.

“I’m here to win and show everyone that I’m the best 154-pounder in the world. I’m going to take a big step in cleaning out the division on Saturday. I’m going to be at my best and bring home the victory.”

If he beats the tough Castaño, Lara will be right back in the mix at 154. If he loses, it should be interesting what he does next.

Photo: Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME

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

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