It has been nearly two years since July of 2011, when Cuban junior middleweight contender Erislandy Lara was declared the majority decision loser against former two-time welterweight titleholder Paul Williams, which many ringsiders and boxing insiders thought Lara had won.
Since then, Lara has been mentioned as a potential challenger to WBC beltholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, a bout that never materialized. Lara persevered, nonetheless, starching Ronald Hearns in the first round and scoring a unanimous decision over Freddy Hernandez in April and June of last year, respectively.
Lara had another opportunity to position himself for a matchup with Alvarez (42-0-1, 30 KOs), current holder of the WBA and WBC titles, if he was to be successful in a WBC eliminator with unbeaten Vanes Martirosyan last November.
However, Lara and Martirosyan fought to a ninth-round technical decision draw after an accidental clash of heads caused a cut over Martirosyan’s left eye and forced the verdict to go to the scorecards.
But Lara (17-1-2, 11 knockouts) will have yet another shot at glory on June 8, when the savvy southpaw meets hard-hitting Mexican Alfredo Angulo (22-2, 18 KOs) at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
If successful, Lara could be among those considered for a bout with Puerto Rico’s three-division titlewinner Miguel Cotto, who is targeting a fall return to the ring.
“The most important thing is June 8, and the fight that I have in front of me. If I’m victorious, then I’ll fight anybody. That’s what I came to this country for is to fight, so I will fight anybody. But the most important thing is a victory on June 8,” said Lara, who, like Angulo, is 30.
“Of course, of course, I would love to fight a fighter like Miguel Cotto. He’s a great fighter, he’s one of the top guys, and he’s on the list. He’s on the list of the top guys that I would want to fight, of course. He’s right there, and if the fight presents itself after this fight, then, of course I would want to fight him.”
Lara-Angulo will be the Showtime-televised co-feature to a welterweight main event between Marcos Maidana (33-3, 30 KOs) and Josesito Lopez (30-5, 18 KOs) that headlines a tripleheader including a 154-pound matchup between Jermell Charlo (20-0, 10 KOs) and Demetrius Hopkins (33-2-1, 13 KOs).
Lara sees the fight with the rugged Anglo as a classic boxer versus puncher matchup.
“He’s going to be coming in and he’s going to be running into my punches,” Lara said of Angulo, a winner of two straight since being knocked out in the sixth round by James Kirkland in November of 2011.
“That’s the way that the fight’s going to play out. There’s not a fight that sticks out, but I know him. I just know the way that Angulo fights, and my plan is that I’m prepared for that. I know the way that he fights, and my plan is going to play out.”
Photo by Emily Harney, Fightwireimages.com
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org