Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara are set to face off in a non-title pay-per-view fight on Saturday night. The bout will be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
It’s the second fight for Alvarez in 2014, and the second time he’ll step in the ring, since losing to Floyd Mayweather in September. On March 8, he defeated Alfredo Angulo with a TKO in the 10th round.
For Lara, it’s his first fight of the year. He beat Austin Trout in a unanimous decision in December. Prior to that bout, he also defeated Angulo with a 10th-round TKO of his own.
Alvarez has gotten much more acclaim in his career, losing just one bout and headlining a PPV with Mayweather that ended up being the most profitable fight of all time. Despite the fanfare surrounding his opponent, Lara expects to leave the upcoming match with a win.
“I guarantee 100 percent I’m going to win the fight,” Lara said, via boxingnews24.com. “I’m going to bust his [Canelo] mouth on July 12.”
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Even though both fighters defeated Angulo just months apart, Lara has tried to discredit Alvarez’s victory.
“It was a bad fight,” Lara said about the Canelo-Angulo fight. “It wasn’t the same Angulo. [It was a] completely different fighter. 100 percent he wasn’t there in shape. He wasn’t the same fighter.”
Alvarez has taken Lara’s comments to heart, since the fight was agreed upon in April. In his preparations for the fight, the 23-year-old hasn’t been shy in letting it be known that he badly wants to beat Lara.
"This is real. This is very personal," Alvarez said. "You guys know me. That's not my character to be promoting and be talking for promotional issues. This is personal. He offended me. He offended my person. He offended Mexican boxing. So, yes, it's very personal."
The fight is highly anticipated by many. Alvarez should draw a lot of support from the Mexican fan base, and he’s proven that he can help produce strong PPV numbers. Alvarez’s last fight generated over 350,000 buys, which was well-received by Showtime.
Alvarez and Mayweather almost broke a record with 2.2 million buys in September. While most of that is because of the undefeated boxer, Mayweather’s next fight didn’t do nearly as well. Against Marcos Maidana in May, Mayweather’s bout drew less than one million buys.
It wouldn’t be considered a major upset if Lara won the fight, but he has been labeled the underdog. Bovada.lv lists Alvarez as a -200 favorite, while Lara’s betting odds have been listed at +160. The fight is expected to go the distance, as neither boxer has ever failed to go the full 12 rounds.
Prediction: Lara enters the fight with two consecutive impressive victories, but he likely doesn’t have enough power to keep up with his opponent. Alvarez should be able to control the fight with his power punching and win a decision.
Alvarez over Lara by unanimous decision