Erislandy Lara: “Jermall Is Like Family But If We Got To Fight Then We Got To Fight”
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.”
Erislandy Lara Moves to Middleweight for One Last Run
By: Hector Franco
This upcoming weekend, one of boxing’s more underappreciated pugilists will be moving up the weight scale to join the middleweight division.
Two-time WBA junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara (27-3-3, 15 KOs) will make his middleweight debut against New Jersey’s Thomas Lamanna (30-4-1, 12 KOs) for a vacant version of the WBA middleweight title.
Lara, 38, is just a couple of years from reaching 40. Meaning, the move to middleweight was likely an opportunity for the Cuban stylist to maximize any remaining opportunities that will be available to him in his career.
Throughout the years, Lara has been in some significant matches, most notably in July 2014, losing a controversial split decision to Canelo Alvarez. His last two noteworthy bouts came in 2018 and 2019.
In 2018, he took on Maryland’s Jarrett Hurd in the Boxing Writers Association of America fight of the year. A knockdown in the 12th round made the difference in a split decision loss for the WBA and IBF junior middleweight titles.
The following year, in 2019, Lara challenged current WBO junior middleweight titleholder, Brian Castano. On the line was the WBA 154-pound championship. While he would build an early lead, a second-half surge by Castano saw their showdown end in a draw.
The move up in weight will give the aging fighter a less strenuous time on the scale.
“I feel like I’ll be a bigger puncher at middleweight, and that will be the main difference,” Lara stated to Boxingscene.com. “Having an extra six pounds behind my punches might not seem like a lot, but it is a big difference.
“Not having to lose those extra pounds has me feeling like a monster.”
Lamanna, Lara’s upcoming opponent, will be one of the biggest of his career. Although the 6’1 New Jersey fighter is the underdog and not as well known, he is coming off two straight stoppage victories in Mexico.
Against Lamanna, Lara finds himself in a situation where how he wins will be just as important as winning. A dominant stoppage victory will only help Lara in getting a big fight at middleweight.
“Thomas Lamanna is a tall middleweight with a lot of experience, and I’m taking this fight very seriously, like always,” Lara said. “I arrived weeks ago for training camp, and Ismael Salas immediately got me working on the fundamentals of boxing.
“At this stage in my career, I’m all action, fighting on the inside and letting my hands fly. I’m going to make a statement in this fight with a knockout.”
At middleweight, the landscape seems to be open although fractured, with more fights being discussed rather than made. The division has four champions with Gennadiy Golovkin (IBF), Jermall Charlo (WBC), Demetrius Andrade (WBO), and Ryota Murata holding another version of the WBA title.
When Golovkin was holding court at the top of the division in the mid-2010s, Lara was one of the few fighters that called for a fight with the Kazakhstani puncher. Unfortunately, Golovkin is currently tied to future fights with Murata and Jaime Munguia.
The fight that has the best chance of happening would be against Jermall Charlo. The Texas native, since moving to middleweight, hasn’t faced elite competition on a consistent basis.
Both men used to be trained by Ronnie Shields, giving the bout a natural storyline. If Lara comes out victorious against Lamanna, it would be a unification bout.
At this point, Lara has arguably done enough to make it on the International Boxing Hall of Fame ballot after he retires. Being inducted, however, is something else entirely. The move to middleweight for Lara is motivated to be mentioned with some of the greatest boxers to come out of Cuba.
“I think I’ve done enough to be considered one of the best Cuban boxers of all time,” Lara stated. “Winning a world title at middleweight will certainly help me get closer to the top of the list. Every fighter wants to be remembered for what they accomplished in the ring, and I’m no different.
“I’m fighting for my legacy and want to be remembered as one of the best to ever do it.”
The country of Cuba’s boxing legacy reverberates throughout amateur and professional boxing. Fighters like Luis Rodriguez, Jose Napoles, Kid Gavilan, Sugar Ramos, and Kid Chocolate are names that Lara wants to be mentioned with.
The last run of Lara’s career at middleweight will give him that opportunity.
Erislandy Lara-Thomas Lamanna will take place on May 1 at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA, as the main event on FOX leading up to the Andy Ruiz-Chris Arreola PPV.
Erislandy Lara Moves Up To The Middleweight Division, Takes On Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna On May 1st
Cuban star and WBA Super Welterweight Champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara will seek a third world title in a second weight class when he faces veteran contender Thomas “Cornflake” LaManna for the WBA Middleweight Title in the main event of FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes Saturday, May 1 as part of a stacked night of boxing from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
The broadcast begins at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT and precedes the FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View event headlined by former unified heavyweight world champion Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz Jr. battling all-action heavyweight Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola, which tops a stellar boxing extravaganza all taking place at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
The FOX PBC Fight Night co-main event will see top featherweight contender Eduardo Ramírez take on hard-hitting Isaac Avelar in a 12-round fight for the vacant interim WBA Featherweight Title.
The event is promoted by TGB Promotions. Tickets go on sale Friday, March 26 at 10 a.m. PT and can be purchased at AXS.com for the event that includes an action-packed lineup of FOX PBC Fight Night and FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View fights. Dignity Health Sports Park will be open to fans in a limited capacity, with all guests remaining socially distanced and subject to local and state health guidelines throughout the event.
“Erislandy Lara has had a long reign as an elite 154-pounder and now has his sights set on a new challenge in the star-studded middleweight division,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “He will bring his renowned skills and style to this tough matchup against the young and rangy Thomas LaManna. With fast-rising Mexican contender Eduardo Ramírez squaring off against the young exciting Mexican brawler Isaac Avelar in the co-main event, this primetime lineup is an ideal way to load up an already stacked night of boxing at Dignity Health Sports Park, leading up to the return of Andy Ruiz Jr. against Chris Arreola live on pay-per-view.”
Lara (27-3-3, 15 KOs) was the longest reigning 154-pound world champion before he lost a tough split-decision to Jarrett Hurd in a title unification match in 2018 that was the unanimous “Fight of the Year”. Lara returned from that fight and battled current 154-pound world titleholder Brian Castano to an exciting draw in another narrow fight that could have gone Lara’s way. Lara has since scored back-to-back triumphs with a knockout of Ramon Alvarez in 2019 to capture his current title, and a decision over Greg Vendetti in August 2020. Lara has faced a slew of the top 154-pounders in the sport, including Canelo Alvarez, ahead of his middleweight debut.
“I’m excited to be making my 2021 debut on a huge platform live on FOX,” said Lara, who was born in Guantanamo, Cuba and now trains in Las Vegas. “Thomas LaManna is a tall middleweight with a lot of experience and I’m taking this fight very seriously, like always. I arrived weeks ago for training camp and Ismael Salas immediately got me working on the fundamentals of boxing. At this stage in my career, I’m all-action, fighting on the inside, and letting my hands fly. I’m going to make a statement in this fight with a knockout.”
The Belleville, New Jersey-native LaManna (30-4-1, 12 KOs) was riding an eight-fight unbeaten streak, which included seven wins plus a draw against Gabriel Bracero, before losing to Jorge Cota in January 2020. He won back-to-back middleweight fights in January and October entering this showdown, knocking out Jorge Pimentel and Juan de Jesus Gonzalez. Prior to his two most recent knockouts, LaManna dropped a narrow decision to Brian Mendoza in August 2020.
“It’s been a long time coming and now I’m finally getting my chance to accomplish my ultimate dream of becoming a champion,” said the 29-year-old LaManna. “This is the land of opportunity and I’m getting mine on May 1. I’ve put my heart, blood and soul into this game. I’m the definition of the ‘American dream’. People can write me off if they want, because at the end of the day, there’s no doubt that I’m coming to win. This is my time.”
Billy Joe Saunders May Share A Similar Style To Erislandy Lara And Floyd Mayweather But Canelo Alvarez Isn’t Concerned: “I’m Way Better”
By: Hans Themistode
At one point, the blueprint to defeating unified super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez was clear as day.
Keep your distance, incorporate a lot of movement and pot shot him all night long. In short, the Mexican star could be thoroughly outboxed.
Floyd Mayweather was the first to give users the key to open the door to beating Alvarez in 2013. Despite the suspect scorecards, Mayweather won in lopsided fashion. Erislandy Lara attempted to use the same tactics when they fought one year later. But while Alvarez was given the nod, the vast majority of the boxing public believes that he was given a huge gift when the Judes ruled their bout in his favor.
With Alvarez announcing that he will be taking on WBO belt holder Billy Joe Saunders on May 8th, many are under the assumption that Alvarez could be in true danger of picking up the second loss of his career.
While the skills of Saunders did at one point open the door to defeating the Mexican star, at this stage, Alvarez has changed the locks.
“I’m way better. Way better,” said Alvarez following his win over Avni Yildirim.
Alvarez, 30, made things look entirely too easy at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Florida last night. Yildirim, his WBC mandatory challenger, was thoroughly beaten down over the course of three rounds. Although it was impressive, supporters of Saunders will point to the pure boxing style of Saunders as opposed to the plodding, come-forward style of Yildirim.
The British native is fresh off a one-sided unanimous decision victory over former title challenger Martin Murray in late December. Following the win, Saunders did what he always does, meaning, he dared Alvarez to step up and face him.
For years now, Saunders has insisted that the pound-for-pound star built his resume on the backs of great fighters who were no longer at their peak by the time Alvarez got his hands on them.
At 31, Saunders is smack dab in the middle of his prime. That, along with his tricky style, is the reason why he believes Alvarez was always hesitant to face him.
Those sentiments however, were always considered laughable to Alvarez. If Saunders, or anyone else for that matter, believes that he has the same weaknesses that he had as a young fighter, they must not have been watching his progression all of these years.
“I’m a more mature fighter, I’m more a complete fighter. I have much more experience. I’m in my best moment.”
Erislandy Lara Eyeing Another Title Opportunity: “I Want The Winner Of Charlo-Rosario”
By: Hans Themistode
Erislandy Lara has always found himself in the most intriguing matchups in the Jr middleweight division.
Two years ago in 2018, Lara (26-3-3, 15 KOs) and former unified champion Jarrett Hurd gave fight fans their money’s worth when the two went head to head. One year later, Lara and his dance partner in Brian Castano gave one helluva performance.
Even Lara’s most recent ring appearance against Ramon Alvarez brought a bit of buzz seeing how Ramon is the older brother of pound for pound star Canelo Alvarez.
This Saturday however, the buzz is relatively low for what many expect to be a truncated night the moment Lara lands a significant punch against Greg Vendetti (22-3-1, 12 KOs).
Taking a backseat is something that the Cuban born fighter isn’t accustomed to, but even he knows there is a much more significant contest taking place in the very weight class that he’s presided in seemingly forever.
On September 26th, a pair of title holders in Jermell Charlo and Jeison Rosario will meet up in a Fox Pay-Per-View unification bout. Lara, 37, believes he knows who the winner will be, but that won’t stop him from tuning in on the night with popcorn in hand.
“That’s going to be a good fight,” Lara told BoxingScene,com. “Rosario will not back down to Charlo and that makes for an exciting fight because we all know Jermell is a powerful puncher. I have to give the edge to Charlo because of his experience.”
Lara’s choice of Charlo stems from both respect for his skills and a once close friendship. The two formerly trained under the guidance of trainer Ronnie Shields until Charlo abruptly left to partner up with Derrick James.
The move proved to be a sagacious one as Charlo went on to become a world champion two times over and developed from a pure boxer, to a jaw breaking knockout artist.
While working under the same umbrella, a matchup between the two seemed as likely as Tyson Fury taking on Floyd Mayweather. But now that they haven’t worked together for years, both fighters have been more than receptive to the idea of a showdown.
In a perfect world for the former title holder, he’ll blast out Vendetti in short order then sit back and wait for the winner on September 26th.
“Of course, I want the winner of Charlo-Rosario because I want to fight the best. I’m ready to face anyone in the world.”