By Sean Crose
Muhammad Ali. Hector Camacho. John L Sullivan. Tyson Fury. Boxers, both past and present, have been known to shoot off their mouths. It can be good for business on some occasions, harmful on others. The press conference to kick off Canelo Alvarez’ July 12th bout with Erislandy Lara, however, was most definitely not an occasion for showboating.
Photo: Golden Boy
Held in Plaza Park in Los Angeles, the conference featured both men looking like movie stars, but uttering as few words as gunfighters of lore. After thanking the Mexican fans who had gathered, Lara simply stated that there was “nothing more to say.” Hmm.
“July 12th,” he added, “we’re going to let the fists do the talking.”
Canelo was equally reluctant to shoot off with his mouth. “I wanted to give the fans this fight,” he claimed. “I was,” he went on, “offended on Twitter (and) social media. They said a bunch of things about me.” Lara, who had crashed a Canelo press conference, had clearly gotten under the Mexican superstar’s skin.
“He was talking so much shit on Twitter,” Canelo said of Lara to Showtime’s Mauro Ranallo after the conference had ended. “He offended me. He offended my character.” Lara’s quest to fight Canelo by using any means necessary had clearly paid off.
“Now,” Lara stated after the conference, “it’s time to do work.” Did the Cuban immigrant have Floyd Mayweather on his mind? “Floyd Mayweather’s who we want,” he admitted, “but first things first. Let’s take care of business.”
It was a wise way for him to look at things. For Canelo is looking to be boxing’s top star despite his loss last year at the hands – or, rather, gloves – of Mayweather. “It’s a goal of mine to be the best,” Canelo said, “and to fight the best.”
That’s something that makes Alvarez unique in this day and age of fighters cherry picking opponents. The man may be young, but he’s very old school. In other words. Canelo really, truly, wants to prove he’s the very best there is, that he can take on all comers. When’s the last time anyone felt that way about any of boxing’s current top stars?
His loss to Mayweather aside, Alvarez is a refreshing change to the humdrum that has become the practice of modern boxing. There’s a real possibility, a very real possibility, that he can lose to Lara on July 12th. He doesn’t seem to care, though. He wants to show the world who’s boss.
As for Lara, he’s proven himself so good it’s easy to see why he hasn’t gotten a major fight yet. “He’s been avoided by every top fighter in the world,” famed trainer Ronnie Shields said during the conference, “including Floyd Mayweather Jr.”
That Lara would be avoided by most of the sport’s biggest available stars isn’t surprising. He’s slick. Perhaps even Mayweather slick. He’s also not enormously popular, thanks perhaps to his frustrating Cuban style of fighting. Still, the man is one of the best. It’s good to see him getting the attention he deserves.
A title won’t be at stake during the July 12th bout. In fact, the fight has been appropriately named “Honor and Glory.” It’s a throwback name to a throwback kind of matchup, wherein two men put it all on the line for no other reason, really, than healthy competition. “Honor and glory,” Canelo said. “That’s what it’s about.” Along with the future and the answer to the question of who the better man is, of course.
Let’s face it – the sport could use a lot more fights like this one.