By Sean Crose
“I feel better than ever,” Erislandy Lara said on a Wednesday conference call to promote his Saturday night fight with colorful Massachusetts native Greg Vendetti. “I’ve been training hard and working well heading into this fight,” said the fighter known as The American Dream. “I feel stronger than I did a couple of years ago and I’m totally ready for this fight on Saturday.” Lara, 26-3-3, is one of the most highly regarded practitioners in the sport. Currently the WBA’s World Super Welterweight Champion, Lara will also earn the vacant IBO World Super Welterweight Title should he pull off the win this weekend.
“I’m not focused on my legacy yet,” Lara said. “There is a lot to accomplish still and I want to bolster my standing as one of the best Cuban fighters in history with more important wins.” Although Lara appeared to possibly be a fighter whose time had come and gone when he stepped in the ring to face Ramon Alvarez last August, Lara nevertheless walked away with the WBO belt that night…after he had knocked Alvarez out. For a fighter known to be a slickster, Lara put an exclamation point on his win by stopping Alvarez within the distance.
“The difference people have seen in my last few fights isn’t about my fighting style or even about trying pleasing the fans,” Lara said. “I just do what is needed inside of the ring. I have to see what each fight requires me to do. If it pleases the fans, then that’s great. But I’m always focused on doing what I have to do in each situation during each fight.” It should be said that the unheralded 22-3-1 Vendetti is also focused on what he has to do this Saturday. Although far from the favorite, the engaging underdog is exuding confidence in the lead up to the biggest fight of his career.
“My trainer has been saying for years that I have a good style to face Lara,” the thirty year old Vendetti said on Wednesday’s call, “and once I got the call, I took it as a real sign. I’m really motivated to show everyone what I can do and put on my best performance.” How zeroed in on Lara is Vendetti? Enough to ignore other matters that pertain to his ring career for the moment. “I just have to prepare the best and I can and perform the best I can,” he said. “I can’t control anything else. Could this be my only title shot? Maybe, but thinking about that won’t change anything in the ring. I just have to give myself the best shot to win.”
Saturday’s card, which will be aired live on Fox from the Microsoft Theater in LA beginning at 8 PM Eastern Time, will also feature popular fighters Alfredo Angulo, 26-7-0, and Caleb Truax, 34-1-2, facing off in a scheduled 12 round super middleweight affair.