By Marc Livitz reporting from San Antonio, TX: Historic Market Square in downtown San Antonio is always a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Fresh off yesterday’s public press conference in Los Angeles to promote their upcoming July 12 bout, Mexican boxing superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Cuban cum Houstonian Erislandy "American Dream" Lara visited the Alamo City this afternoon. Today’s presser was the second stop of the promotional tour which will move on to New York City and finally Puerto Rico. Very few in the boxing world have in any way slighted Alvarez for the way he handled his first professional loss last September when he was taken to pugilistic school by the great Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Two months ago, Canelo (43-1-1, 31 KO’s) returned to the ring with a resounding cracker of a performance as he pummeled feared compatriot Alfredo "El Perro" Angulo en route to a tenth round TKO victory in Las Vegas.
In just about eight weeks’ time, the red headed ring celebrity from Guadalajara, Jalisco, MX will once again find no easy road back to the top when he faces the hard-hitting Erislandy Lara (19-1-2, 12 KO’s) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in a non-title light welterweight clash. Both Lara and Alvarez share knockout wins over the previously mentioned Angulo as well as decision wins over Austin "No Doubt" Trout. Although no confusion was left in regard to Canelo’s loss to Mayweather, the same cannot be comfortably said about the lone defeat on Lara’s boxing resume. His July 2011 loss to former multi division champion Paul Williams was universally looked upon with contempt after Erislandy appeared in complete control throughout the majority of the bout.
The bout has been tagged "Honor and Glory" and both competitors will look to seize the moment and grab a signature win which is sure to be the type of bout that can change the casual fan to a regular one of the sweet science. Leather will fly for sure and there (probably) will be blood. The bout will air on Showtime Pay per View on Saturday, July 12. Selected highlights from today’s presser are listed below.
Oscar De La Hoya, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions: "We’ve been waiting for a fight like this. It’s "honor and glory". The honor of being a world champion and trying to be the best. Lara and Canelo are the best in the 154 pound division. I commend Canelo for this dangerous opponent he has chosen. Both fighters stopped "El Perro" Angulo and Austin Trout. There are many similarities. I think this will be a terrific fight. Golden Boy has once again set a high standard with our undercard. It will stacked from top to bottom. You’ll see some great fights. Thanks to the matchmakers and all the staff at Golden Boy."
Chris DeBlasio, Showtime Network: "A big part of our success at Showtime over the past two years has been due to great nights of boxing. We’ve wrapped up our eighth and ninth Emmy awards. We’re putting together the absolute best bouts in all of boxing. Marquee fighters taking the toughest fights is part of our success. Canelo never backs down from any challenge at just 23 years old. Erislandy Lara came here from Cuba and he’s become one of the most difficult fighters in boxing today."
Ronnie Shields, legendary trainer (Erislandy Lara): "Thanks to Oscar for not just being a great fighter, but also staying in the sport. His company puts on the best fights. Now to why we’re here. Two of the best in the world will be fighting each others and this is what it’s all about. Not everyone wants to fight the best, but these guys do. There should be some fireworks. They say that Las Vegas is the capital of boxing, but I think it’s San Antonio. You saw 40,000 show up last year to see Canelo fight Trout and you can’t get that anywhere else."
"Canelo is one of the best 154 pounders in the world. Even Floyd Mayweather knows that he’s the future of boxing. I’ve trained Lara for four years. I made a deal to train him when we were at at a bar in Chicago. We’re a team and we’ve fought hard to get here. Erislandy knows the next eight weeks will be tough. We’ll win in July. Lara has the skill to beat everybody. This will be very exciting."
Erislandy Lara: "Good afternoon to everyone here. Thanks for coming out. Thanks to Golden Boy, Al Haymon, Showtime and team Canelo for this fight. On July 12, we’ll take Canelo to Cuban school. He never went to school, so we’ll have to take him there."
Chepo Reynoso, Manager, Canelo Alvarez: "Canelo will have a gift for everyone in July. He’ll beat Lara in Las Vegas."
Eddy Reynoso, Trainer, Canelo Alvarez: "We’ll be ready as always on July 12 to give a great fight. There are great Cuban fighters, but Mexico has the best fighters. We’re going to give this guy a beating."
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez: "Thanks to everyone here; it’s an honor to be here. Any promotion for me in boxing includes San Antonio. I feel at home here. I’m very gracious for all of this. I’ll be ready 100% on July 12. There will be no exception in my preparation. I’ll be ready for a great victory."
"I would love to fight here once again in San Antonio. Hopefully, later this year."
May 7, 2014