Junior middleweight Erislandy Lara claims that he will fight anyone from 147-to-160 pounds, including RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez.
Call it focused frustration.
That's what Cuban exile Erislandy Lara unleashed upon the head and ears of Ronald Hearns during last Saturday night's 94-second, three-knockdown pummeling at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Miss.
Lara (16-1-1, 11 knockouts) nailed Hearns (26-3, 20 KOs) to the canvas with a straight left a minute into the fight, staggered him yet again with a followup -- a one-two that was ruled a technical knockdown by referee Keith Hughes -- and then finished him off with a left cross that dropped Hearns for good on Showtime's ShoBox: The New Generation.
Lara had not been in the ring since July of last year, when he lost a disputed majority decision to fellow left-hander Paul Williams, which many observers thought Lara had won. Lara's manager, Luis Decubas Jr., has contended that his fighter has been avoided since the fight with Williams.
But with the WBC eliminator victory over the Southfield, Mich., resident and son of the legendary Thomas Hearns, Lara may have positioned himself for a shot opposite the winner of a May 5 clash between WBC junior middleweight titleholder Saul Alvarez and his challenger, Shane Mosley.
Lara addressed his win over Hearns as well as his future in this Q&A with RingTV.com.
RingTV.com: Can you describe the finishing sequences of your fight with Hearns, starting with the initial left hand that dropped him?
Erislandy Lara: I was working on the left hand over the jab in camp. Hearns likes to paw that jab kind of a lazy jab and knew I would land it. Right when I hit him I felt my knuckles kinda go through his chin. I hit him flush. I
knew he was done.
RingTV.com: The second knockdown?
EL: I knew he was really hurt; he kept looking at his corner and I went in for the kill. Set up another big left hand to put him down again.
RingTV.com: The third knockdown?
EL: Put his lights out. That's what I was thinking. I smelled blood, and I went for the kill. But this time I was gonna make sure he didn't get up. I'm a different Lara.
I'm not leaving nothing in the hands of others. I'm taking heads off. I'm a different animal after being robbed -- it made me stronger. I want to fight the best.
RingTV.com: Were you surprised that the referee allowed Hearns to continue after the second knockdown?
EL: This is a fight. I expect any man to want an opportunity to keep fighting. But I knew he wouldn't make it another 30 seconds. I'm happy he didn't.
Because then, you know, guys always make the excuse of fights being stopped too early. This is the hurt business, and every fighter knows what they risk every time the step in the ring.
RingTV.com: Were you looking for the initial left hand all along?
EL: Yes. Me and my manager were talking in the room before the fight, and he kept telling me go out there and put his lights out in one. He kept telling me I got the best one-two in the boxing. And he's right.
I'm sharp, and there's no reason to go rounds if I can hurt and finish guys early. So whoever I fight, they better know that left hand's coming. Ask Williams. [Laughs.]
RingTV.com: Was that left hand a continuation of the left hands you were landing all night against Paul Williams?
EL: I couldn't miss Williams with the left hand, and I knew it. So I guess it gave me more confidence in my left hand. But I felt a lot stronger in this fight.
I had a lot more time and I credit [Edward Jackson] and Ronnie [Shields] for really working me hard. If I fight Williams again I would knock his head off.
RingTV.com: How much of your motivation from the loss to Williams factored into your performance against Hearns?
EL: Big time. I feel like every time I go out there, I gotta knock someone out. Look, I know those were the worst three judges in the world, and no other judges would have gotten that Williams fight wrong.
But it's still in my mind to go out there and make statements. To go out there and knock them out, and that's what my mentality is right now. And let's see who will fight me and change my mentality.
RingTV.com: How much of your frustration at not landing a fight after the Williams loss factored into your performance?
EL: I was a bit frustrated, but my manager kept telling me that things will get better. Mr. [Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard] Schaefer will deliver you the opportunities to show I'm the best 154-pounder in the world.
He told me to just stay focused and to keep up the hard work. It will pay off. And I'll tell you one thing, he was 100 percent right. And I know that Golden Boy is the best promoter, and will get me the biggest fights available if I keep performing.
RingTV.com: What fighters did your camp approach for potential bouts after the Williams fight?
EL: Everyone. [Laughs.] Paul Williams, [James] Kirkland, [Alfredo] Angulo, [Austin] Trout, [Cornelius] Bundrage, Carlos Molina, [Delvin] Rodriguez, [Dmitri] Pirog, Canelo [Alvarez.]
I mean, every type of guy you can think of, I was willing to fight. None of these guys can beat me. Period. Right-handed, southpaw, tall, short -- it doesn't matter.
I've never been picky. All I want to do is fight the best, and I'm willing to fight them on any terms. I will go to anyone's backyard and take their heart away.
RingTV.com: Any concern that your brilliant performance against Hearns will scare opponents away even more?
EL: I hope not. But like I said, Golden Boy is one of the premiere promoters in boxing, and they will secure me a date, and I will fight anyone. So I will take two weeks off and be ready to fight. June, or if my promoter needs me to, earlier.
I want Sergio Martinez. I mean, I begged [Martinez's promoter Lou] DiBella to give me a shot. I'll do winner take all. I'm positive I have the gameplan to beat that great middleweight.
RingTV.com: This being the WBC eliminator to face Alvarez or Mosley, do you want that fight, and do you think that it will be tough to get him in the ring given that he is said to be considering Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Miguel Cotto or James Kirkland if he gets beyond Mosley?
EL: Of course I want to fight Canelo, but I think your question pretty much answers itself. He won't fight me, and I won't chase him because I don't need him.
We will fight one day, and on that day, I will beat him down. Canelo doesn't go four rounds with me -- that I guarantee you.
RingTV.com: If not Alvarez, whom else would you like to fight?
EL: Sergio Martinez. Why? He's the best possible challenge, and that's what I came to this country to do is fight the best. Plus, no one at 147 or 154 is so eager to fight me, so why not go after the big fish? I love to go fishing.
Photos / Craig Bennett-SHOWTIME
Photo / Emily Harney-Fightwireimages.com
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org