and IBA lightweight champion Juan Lazcano, 27-2-1 (20), bids for his 14th consecutive victory when he defends his titles against Julio Alvarez, 24-7-1 (18), this Saturday night on Showtime at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas.
The 26-year-old WBC No.3 realises that headlining on Showtime is the perfect opportunity to stake a claim for a shot at the world title and he has trained accordingly. “I take every fight very seriously. This is another tough fight and another tough fighter. I went to camp with the frame of mind of working hard and going in there and working on my game, my spiritual strength and my emotional control. I try to work on my all-around game,” said Lazcano.
“I know there is more room to grow, to be better and I think we achieved that. I think I will be that little bit better and that little bit sharper, that’s how it is, step by step. As humans we tend to want everything right then and there, but it takes time and it’s a process. I’m a late bloomer and I’m learning. I’m eager and I’m full of passion and I just have to control and aim it on September 1.”
Trainer Freddie Roach, who has worked with Lazcano for his last six fights, has been very impressed with his punching power and compares him to three time world champion Alexis Arguello.
“For fighters I used to work with, Alexis Arguello a great featherweight and lightweight champion of the world. I think Juan reminds me of him. Both have similar builds, similar abilities and punching power. For tall thin men, they punch very hard,” said Roach.
“Juan is a very hard worker, he is one of those guys you don’t have to baby sit. You have to watch that he doesn’t over train. His combinations and his punching power are improving all the time and the thing about Juan is he is always hungry to learn more and more.”
Lazcano feels that working hard in life can help you reach your goals no matter what you want to achieve. “I am a hard worker and I thank God for that. I believe in hard work, dedication and discipline. You can’t go anywhere without that no matter what you do in life. You have to have those qualities,” he said.
Julio Alvarez is no easy opponent and has had some impressive performances in his career says Lazcano. “He beat (Jose Luis) Castillo who is now the current (WBC) world champion, a couple of years ago. He knocked out Pito Cardona in the first round. Sure, he lost to Stevie Johnston, but he really gave Stevie Johnston a run for his money,” said Lazcano.
“It’s not a tune-up, I’m not taking it as a tune-up. I’m a man on a mission and this is the man they put in front of me. I take it with all glee and gladness and I am happy to step in there and fight the best. He’s a formidable threat and I am taking this man seriously.”
After his controversial close points decision win over Jesse James Leija in August 2000, Lazcano is very open to a rematch which he feels will give him the opportunity to settle the argument.
“Most definitely. That’s on the horizon. I think that’s a must, not only for me. I deserve it, he deserves it and it would be good for the sport. I think that it would be a great opportunity for me to put an exclamation point on that situation. I know it will happen eventually,” said Lazcano, who picks a fighter outside of the division when asked to name the best lightweight on the planet.
“I would have to say Mayweather. Floyd Mayweather is a great fighter. He is a junior lightweight, but he is going to come up any time soon. He is a great fighter,” said Lazcano.
“There is a few guys out there that can really light up the division. I am just doing my little part to not only further my career, myself and my game, but to give something to the sport of boxing which I respect so much.”
With an amateur career of over 100 bouts, Lazcano won Texas State titles a number of times and competed in the national championships. However, he feels his real learning took place in the many thousands of rounds he has sparred with top professionals over the years.
“I have sparred with a lot of pros and the sparring is what really has done it for me. Even as a kid I sparred with a lot of good solid pros. When I started as a pro in Las Vegas I sparred with champions like Sammy Fuentes and a number of fighters there,” said Lazcano.
“A few years later I had the opportunity and the privilege of being around fighters like Pernell Whitaker, Zab Judah and Arturo Gatti. I had the privilege to spar with them for weeks at a time and I learned a lot from them. I bring all that to the table plus my knowledge and I keep on learning and I am a student of the game.”
Lazcano’s last fight was a TKO11 win over former world champion John John Molina in May. He is now looking to be a lot smoother in the ring this Saturday night, which means that his opponent Julio Alvarez could be in for some rough flying.
“I’m trying to become more natural. Be calm and cool and in control at all times,” said Lazcano.
“Here comes the ‘Hispanic Causin Panic’. Strap on your seat belts ladies and gentlemen, because there is going to be some turbulence,” he added.