The Spanish-speaking boxers are fighting for racial and national pride on Saturday.
Canelo Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 KOs) is once again the darling of Mexico after a ten-round ass-pounding of Alfredo Angulo (22-4-0, 18 KOs) in March, and he is ready for more. Erislandy Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs) is rolling after wins over Austin Trout (26-2-0, 14 KOs) and Angulo (lol), and the 31-year old Cuban defector is ready to kick some ginger ass. The fight this Saturday, July 12th at around 9PM EST is not for a title, and should be a relative snoozer (compared to the rest of 2014) as the best fighter Lara has ever faced is pissed.
Señor (pinche jué) Santos Saúl Álvarez Barragán is essentially tired of El Guantanamo’s shit. Lara, in a weak attempt to get in Canelo’s dome, has talked some smack talk which has apparently offended the Latino redhead. In what feels like a somewhat futile gesture, we go to the film to see how these fighters match up.
Look for a decisive victory by Alvarez on Saturday.
Against Austin Trout, Lara was fairly unimpressive. The southpaw throws a mean straight left, but has a weak jab presence to set it up, instead preferring to stay conservative and wait for an opportunity. This strategy will not work against the aggressive Canelo, who will chase Lara all night looking for a knockout. Lara needs to utilize the jab to keep Alvarez at bay, find his range, and follow up with that straight. Don’t get me wrong – Lara is a great technical fighter who has made it this far for a reason. He is simply stylistically at a disadvantage.
Defensively, Lara is very mobile and moved his head well in both of his most recent wins – I don’t see Canelo getting an early knockout, if at all. However, if Lara stays on the move all night and gets tired or sloppy, he could be in trouble.
On film, Canelo is very thick and solid. He keeps his hands up, isn’t afraid of getting in close, and his punches hurt. I would be very surprised if at any point in the fight he is on the ropes having to withstand a flurry from Lara. Watch for a bit of a boring bout early as Canelo keeps his guard up and ominously stalks Lara, who will be low and circling, but things should get heated later on – particularly if Canelo lands that killer hook and draws blood.
Don’t get scared off by this preview; Canelo/Lara will be an entertaining night and Lara could very well pull off the upset. I just think the fight will be one-sided.
The entertaining Abner Mares (26-1-1, 14 KOs) was knocked out in the first in his last fight.
Abner Mares (26-1-1, 14 KOs) fights Puerto Rican Jonathan Oquendo (24-3-0, 16 KOs) in a “co-Main Event” (it’s an undercard) 10-round fight. Mares is looking for redemption for his ugly first-round exit last year against Jhonny Gonzalez – that’s not a typo, folks – where he was knocked down twice in a shocker. Nearly a year has passed since the Guadalajaran lost that fight, and he has gone through quite a journey to get back to the big stage. His opponent Oquendo is riding high after beating Avila Guillermo by unanimous decision in a 12-round fight four short moths ago.
On film, Abner throws potshots and is quite dangerous in close range. His limited reach worked against him in that fight against Gonzales, but the similarly small Oquendo will not have that advantage. Watch for Abner’s stretchy lightning left hook which put Daniel Ponce De Leon on the ground in May 2013. Featherweight fights are fun to watch because of the fast and furious combinations, and Abner definitely has the boxing knowledge to string them together. Oquendo is less technical and less defensively savvy, but has a strong chin and demonstrates great use of the uppercut. I’ll give the edge to Mares in this fight but I’m not sure how he’ll fare after nearly a year off after a first-round knockout.
Juan Manuel Lopez (34-3-0, 31 KOs) faces off against undefeated Francisco Vargas (19-0-1, 13 KOs) with a title at stake.
The winner of this super featherweight match will garner the WBO International and NABF super featherweight belts. 29-year-old “El Bandito” Francisco Vargas (19-0-1, 13 KOs) fights Puerto Rican Juan Manuel Lopez (34-3-0, 31 KOs) Saturday night, and I fully expect a bloodbath ending in a knockout. “Juanmo” is a monster hitter with precision and aggressiveness you like to see out of a super featherweight. Francisco Vargas hasn’t seen a fighter quite like Lopez yet, and I’m betting Lopez breaks him in quickly.
Mauricio Herrera (20-4-0, 7 KOs) is in for a tough fight on Saturday.
The sole 12-round undercard features an intriguing matchup between veteran Mauricio Herrera (20-4-0, 7 KOs) and Johan Perez (19-1-1, 13 KOs). Herrera was robbed earlier in 2014 when some corrupt Puerto Rican judges gave the fight away to Danny “Swift” Garcia. He’ll get a shot at revenge against “El Terrible,” whose resume is questionable but who looks promising on tape. Neither fighter is a big knockout artist (Perez, who seemingly has the upper hand as far as knockouts go, hasn’t knocked out an opponent since 2011), so expect the fight to go the distance. I’ll give the win to Herrera here – that laughable judgment last bout has to serve as prime motivation for Saturday night.
MUSINGS AND RAMBLINGS
Deontay Wilder (31-0-0, 31 KOs) has not let a single opponent go to decision, and has knocked out 18 fighters in the first round.
Boy oh boy, I cannot freaking wait for Bermane Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs) vs. Deontay Wilder (31-0-0, 31 KOs). Both heavyweights are truly knockout artists, combining for 52 knockouts (a 94.5% KO percentage). Stiverne was incredible in his last fight, taking everything Arreola had and knocking him out with what looked like a love tap to the temple. Wilder’s fight was less close, but similar – a quick left to the temple had Malik Scott falling the other way in Puerto Rico.
I implore all who read this to release your inhibitions about heavyweight boxing and watch this fight, whenever it is announced. Wilder is the best American heavyweight fighter to come around in a long time, and reminds me of a taller, more athletic Lennox Lewis – if a bit on the raw side and not as polished or experienced. Don’t bash him for his resume; Lewis fought plenty of cab drivers before he turned 28.
On a similar note, Chris Arreola (36-4-0, 31 KOs) is recovering from elbow surgery and should be back in the ring by October. He is a very likeable person and a tough fighter, but a few temple shots from Stiverne was just too much to overcome in the April title bout. I’m curious to see who he fights next.
It’s looking like Marcos Maidana is going to get rematch against Floyd Mayweather, Jr., which is somewhat disappointing to me. Amir Khan (29-3-0, 19 KOs) fought a tough bout against Luis Collazo and in my opinion has earned the right to fight Money. I don’t think Mayweather, Jr. would have a tough time against Khan, but he certainly should give Khan the opportunity to prove otherwise. Maidana freaking lost to both Khan and Money.
Rumors are also mounting for Adrien Broner to fight either Zab Judah or Andre Berto on September 6th, a week before the Maidana/Money rematch. Either would be an interesting card, although I’m confident Broner would beat either handily.
For bettors, here are my predictions for all televised fights on Saturday:
Canelo Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 KOs) vs. Erislandy Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs) by knockout
Abner Mares (26-1-1, 14 KOs) vs. Jonathan Oquendo (24-3-0, 16 KOs) by split decision
Francisco Vargas (19-0-1, 13 KOs) vs. Juan Manuel Lopez (34-3-0, 31 KOs) by knockout
Mauricio Herrera (20-4-0, 7 KOs) vs. Johan Perez (19-1-1, 13 KOs) by unanimous decision