Lem Satterfield

Canelo Alvarez fighting Erislandy Lara because ‘fans wanted’ it

Canelo Alvarez says he demanded top junior middleweight contender Erislandy Lara be his next fight because "the media and fans around the world wanted this match," which will happen on July 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Showtime Pay Per View.

Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 knockouts) requested Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs) during a meeting with Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer at the promotional company's Los Angles offices earlier this month, according to an earlier report by RingTV.com.

"Lara, the media and fans around the world wanted this match to take place," said Alvarez from Guadalajara, Mexico through quotes provided by Golden Boy publicist Ramiro Gonzalez. "Here I am to amply fulfil them, since I have no doubt that everyone will be completely satisfied."

A 31-year-old former Cuban amateur star, Lara was scheduled to face former beltholder Ishe Smith on May 2, but the savvy southpaw has withdrawn from that fight to face Alvarez in what Schaefer called "a 50-50 fight" between "the two best jr. middleweights not named Mayweather."

"This fight against Erislandy Lara is very important in my career," said Alvarez, 23, who demanded that Lara's WBA "regular" title not be on the line, thus the contracted weight for the bout is 154 "give or take" a pound meaning the two can weigh in one pound over division limit. "(Lara) is an opponent with vast experience in both the amateur and professional field, and I am sure the styles will match to provide an explosive battle and great atmosphere that night."

A Mexican star, Alvarez has sandwiched victories over previously unbeaten Austin Trout by unanimous decision and Alfred Angulo by 10th-round knockout around a unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather that dethroned him as RING and WBC 154-pound champion last September.

Before facing Mayweather, Angulo and Trout, whom he dropped in the seventh-round last April, Alvarez had been criticized for largely taking on undersized competition such as Josesito Lopez and Alfonso Gomez, and for facing past-their-prime fighters such as former welterweight beltholders Shane Mosley, Carlos Baldomir, and Kermit Cintron.

Alvarez knocked out Lopez, Gomez, Baldomir and Cintron, and unanimously decisioned Mosley. Unlike Mayweather, Trout and Angulo had mostly contested as a junior middleweight. Trout had unanimously decisioned Miguel Cotto in December 2012 before falling to Alvarez, and Angulo had floored Lara in the fourth and ninth rounds of a 10th-round knockout loss last June.

After beating Angulo, Lara dominated Trout, flooring and nearly stopping him in the 11th round of a unanimous decision in a clash of southpaws in December, and called Alvarez "a baby" for not fighting him.

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