By: Hans Themistode
Erislandy Lara remembers the blood, sweat and tears that were shed training side by side with WBC middleweight titlist, Jermall Charlo. For a number of years both fighters trained closely under the tutelage of Ronnie Shields. However, in late 2019, the Cuban star replaced Shields with Ismael Salas. Although they no longer stablemates, Lara (28-3-3, 16 KOs) remains extremely close to the Houston native. With that said, their paths may ultimately collide.
“Jermall is like family, more Jermall than Jermell,” said Lara. “We did work for a lot of years but this is boxing. I’m pretty sure NBA players are good friends but they got to play so if we got to fight then we got to fight.”
The thought of facing Charlo (31-0, 22 KOs) never came across Lara’s mind until his recent move up in weight. The crafty southpaw opted to ditch the 154-pound division in order to make one more run in a second weight class.
With WBO titlist Demetrius Andrade, along with WBA champion Ryota Murata and IBF belt holder Gennadiy Golovkin wearing different promotional outfits, Lara knows good and well that a matchup with them could be out of his reach. In the case of Charlo, however, he could present the Cuban native with the easiest path to a world title since they both compete under the Premier Boxing Champions banner. Before Charlo mulls any decision of whether he would face Lara, he first will have to deal with John Montiel as the two are slated to face off on June 19th.
Although Lara will now face bigger and stronger men, if his last outing was any indication, he’ll seemingly breeze through the competition. This past Saturday night at Dignity Health Sports Park, in Carson California, Lara took on fringe contender, Thomas Lamanna, in his middleweight debut. It took the Cuban star just over one minute to take care of business, dropping and stopping his man with a straight left.
At the age of 38, Lara has abandoned his once defensive approach as he now looks to plant his feet and exchange on the inside. While he might be getting up there in age, Lara is unconcerned with the dust piling up on his birth certificate.
“I feel great. I don’t believe I’ve taken a lot of punches or punishment in my career. I believe I have at least another three years of prime boxing left.”