A 29-year-old native of Cuba who lives in Miami, Lara (16-1-1, 11 knockouts) draws much of his intensity from his desire to support his wife, Yudi, and his four young sons.
Prior to facing Hearns, Lara had not been in the ring since July of last year, when he lost a disputed majority decision to fellow southpaw Paul Williams.
Although Lara longs for a shot at WBC beltholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KOs), he is chagrined that the Mexican star has not listed him among those he is considering for a Sept. 15 defense from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, Lara is gearing up for Hernandez (30-2, 20 KOs), who is coming off a unanimous decision over former titleholder Luis Collazo in October that helped him to rebound from a first-round stoppage loss to two-time beltholder Andre Berto in November of 2010.
Lara, who, like Alvarez, is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, shared his thoughts with RingTV.com during this Q&A interview that was translated by his manager, Luis DeCubas Jr.
RingTV.com: How much of a distraction or frustration for you are the developments involving Alvarez?
If I don’t beat Hernandez, there is no other big fight after this. So I’m a strong person and I’m not the kind of guy who will be distracted by talking about future fights.
I’m not at all like some of the other guys out there. I’m strictly focused on Hernandez and I respect him as a fighter. So I’m in great shape, and I’m going to win this fight.
RingTV.com: Obviously, however, Alvarez is a fight that you want, right?
Alvarez is supposed to be looking for the next available contender, and they’re not able to secure anybody. I’m the No. 1 guy, and then, I get dropped to No. 3 by the Mexican-based WBC.
I just think that it’s a big plot to keep me from being Canelo’s next possible opponent and to keep me as far away as they can from him.
I think that my own promoter should mention my name, but they act like I don’t exist. I don’t feel that I’m being treated the right way.
RingTV.com: What sort of performance are you looking to deliver against Hernandez?
EL: I’m looking to look great, just like I did against Hearns. Hearns was expecting to come out really hard and come after me with his right hand, but I got to him first.
I’m just going to go out there and get to Hernandez first and put on another spectacular performance like I did against Hearns. I’ve trained very hard.
I’ve trained like I’m going to fight Canelo Alvarez. So there is no overlooking Freddy Hernandez, I guarantee you that. I’m in great shape and I’m ready to roll.
RingTV.com: Where did you train and how did that go?
EL: We trained in Houston, Texas. About eight months ago, I just decided to pack my bags and my family and to move to Houston permanently, where I’m training with Ronnie Shields and Edward Jackson.
We’re sparring with the Charlo twins, Jermell and Jermall. We’ve also been sparring with Brad Solomon. All three of them are good fighters who are undefeated.
So it’s been great sparring and great conditioning. I think that Ronnie Shields is really helping. Every one of his fighters comes prepared to fight and so we’re ready to go. It’s gone great for us.
RingTV.com: What were your thoughts on Paul Williams when you heard about his career-ending motorcycle accident?
EL: Well, the first thing that I did was I sent out a prayer for Paul Williams. It was very saddening to me. it was terrible news. Paul Williams was one of those guys that I fought who I had a lot of respect for.
I thought that Paul Williams was a great champion. To be honest with you, the first thing that I thought about was Paul’s family, his mother, his kids and what they were thinking and what they were feeling.
Boxing just isn’t important anymore when these types of scenarios happen in life. Family is so important. I just wish the best for the Williams family.
RingTV.com: What does your wife and your family mean to you?
EL: My wife is a big reason that I’ve made it through the tough times. She is my nutritionist. She cooks for me. She’s a big part of my team.
It’s been a great marriage and she has meant everything to me. She’s one of the biggest reasons why I moved my family with me to Houston.
It’s because it hurts so much to be away from my wife and my kids — my family — for the eight weeks of training. Coming back from the gym and seeing my kids, it feeds my desire and my hunger. I will not let them down.
Photos by Chris Cozzone, Fightwireimages.com
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org