Canelo Alvarez said that he chose to face Erislandy Lara, in part, because his Cuban rival "disrespected … not only me, he disrespected all Mexicans" leading into their July 12 junior middleweight clash at The MGM Grand.
Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 knockouts) shared his thoughts about Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs) before fans on Thursday at New York City's Hard Rock Cafe, the third stop in a four-city tour to promote the Showtime Pay Per View event. On Tuesday and Wednesday they visited Los Angeles and San Antonio, and will end the tour in Puerto Rico on Friday.
"Lara has talked a lot. You guys asked for the fight, and here it is," said Alvarez, who turns 24 on July 18. "What you guys ask from me, I will give you. A lot have asked me, 'Why did you take this fight?' I say, 'Why not? I will fight anyone. Style doesn't matter.'"
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 Alvarez stopped Angulo in the tenth round, Lara did the same, then dominated Trout, dropping and nearly stopping him in the 11th round of a unanimous decision in December. He then called Alvarez "a baby" for not fighting him.
"The reality is that a year ago the fans didn't really know Lara. Nobody really knew him. But he's been talking so much that now it's built up and the fans asked for it so I wanted to give them what they wanted," said Alvarez.
"He disrespected me. But not only me, he disrespected all Mexicans. For him to be saying that he's going to give me a boxing lesson and he's going to take me to school … that's very disrespectful."
A 31-year-old former amateur star, Lara was scheduled to face former beltholder Ishe Smith on May 2 before withdrawing from that fight to face Alvarez.
On Thursday, Lara continued his trash talk.
"For the Mexican fans, we have a surprise for you July 12. I came from Cuba where I fought the best. I earned this in the ring, fighting the best in the division, not on a Mexican street corner. July 12, the best man is going to win," said Lara.
"I've always done my job against the best fighters in the division. I've faced a lot of hard punchers, so I'm not worried about his power. Canelo knows, just like everyone in the division knows. No one wants to fight me because I'm dangerous and I beat everybody. He took this fight because of the pressure I put on him."
LUIS EMMANUEL CUSOLITO SIGNS WITH SAMPSON LEWKOWICZ
Junior featherweight Luis Emmanuel Cusolito, a 25-year-old from Argentina, has signed a co-promotional agreement with Las Vegas-based Sampson Lewkowicz as well as JEB Boxing of Argentina, according to a Thursday release.
"I welcome Cusolito in joining the rest of the world class super bantamweights under my promotional banner," said Lewkowicz. "That includes Kiko Martinez, Jorge 'Pilon' Lara, Hugo 'Cuatito' Ruiz, Oscar Escandon, Jonathan Guzman, Rocco Santomauro and Jonathan Arenas."
Cusolito (18-1, 16 knockouts), 25, will face 37-year-old countryman Nelson Daniel Monte (15-9-4, 7 KOs) on May 24 in Ibicuy, Argentina.
"I am very happy and thankful to Sampson Lewkowicz for giving me the opportunity to be a part of [this] extraordinary roster of great boxers," said Cusolito. "I know this is a great chance for me to break into the international market."