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: The second knockdown?
RingTV.com: The third knockdown?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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