LAS VEGAS — Starting on May 6, junior middleweights Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara will hit the road for a four-city tour in advance of their July 12 Showtime Pay Per View clash at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer announced on Friday.
The duo will visit Los Angeles, San Antonio, New York City and, Puerto Rico for stops that will be open to the public.
Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 knockouts) requested that his next opponent be Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs) during a meeting with Schaefer at the Los Angeles offices of Golden Boy last month, when their deal was completed.
"There were no other high-caliber opponents out there, so he had to finally choose me," said Lara during an interview with RingTV.com on Friday at the MGM Grand, site of Saturday's welterweight unification bout between RING and WBC champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. and WBA counterpart Marcos Maidana. "Now, he's got to come and prove himself."
A 31-year-old former Cuban amateur star, Lara was scheduled to face former beltholder Ishe Smith on May 2, but the ring-savvy southpaw withdrew from that fight to face Alvarez.
"This the fight we've been looking for, this is the fight that we've been going after … and now we've got it," said Lara, speaking through translation by manager Luis DeCubas Jr. "So, now we've got to go in and solve the problem. I'm not worried at all. I've just got to do my job, and when I do my job, I know that everything will take care of itself."
A 23-year-old Mexican star, Alvarez has sandwiched victories over previously unbeaten Austin Trout by unanimous decision and Alfredo Angulo by 10th-round knockout around a majority decision loss to Mayweather that dethroned him as RING and WBC 154-pound champion last September.
Before facing Mayweather, Angulo and Trout, 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.
Nine months before Angulo faced Alvarez, Lara stopped "El Perro," also in the 10th round. Lara then dominated Trout, flooring and nearly stopping him in the 11th round of a unanimous decision in December, then called Alvarez "a baby" for not fighting him.
"I'm not sure what happened to Angulo that night," said Lara, referring to Alvarez's win. "He didn't look like the right Angulo. He looked off that night, but one thing that I can tell you is that me and Angulo have two different styles, so to be comparing fights and whatnot, that's not the right thing to do.
"I think that Angulo took a ton of punishment in our fight, and it was a brutal fight and I think that reflected in his fight with Canelo. I think that the question answers itself in that it was reflected in the Canelo fight. Angulo hit me with some great body shots, and that's what I prepared for. You saw what I did to Austin Trout in the next fight after that, so, basically, I wasn't as affected at all."
Alvarez-Lara press tour dates:
LOS ANGELES – Tuesday, May 6
SAN ANTONIO – Wednesday, May 7
NEW YORK CITY – Thursday, May 8
PUERTO RICO – Friday, May 9