Doug Fischer

Canelo Alvarez vs. Erislandy Lara: head-to-head analysis

This story is featured in the August 2014 issue of THE RING Magazine, which is on newsstands now. Don’t know where to find a newsstand that carries the magazine? Just scan the QR code below this story or go to http://www.wheresmymagazine.com. Or subscribe to the magazine — both the print and digital versions — by clicking here. You can also purchase the current issue on that page.

 

From the moment Canelo Alvarez first turned heads in the U.S. with a six-round KO of former welterweight champ Carlos Baldomir as a prospect in 2010, the freckle-faced Mexican star has had his share of detractors.

Even after winning the WBC 154-pound belt at age 20 (becoming the youngest junior middleweight titleholder ever) and a few successful defenses of the strap, Alvarez was viewed as a protected cash cow – and maybe he was. He won his title by beating Matthew Hatton, a tough but limited welterweight fringe contender, and all the names on his resume were either way past their primes (Baldomir, Shane Mosley, Kermit Cintron), undersized (Alfonzo Gomez, Josesito Lopez) or both (Lovemore Ndou).

     However, even Alvarez’s most ardent critics are having a hard time calling him “protected” given his recent schedule. Starting with then-undefeated top 154-pound contender Austin Trout last April, Alvarez has only faced legitimate opponents. He followed his unanimous decision over Trout with a majority-decision loss to pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. last September and a dominant 10th-round stoppage of veteran slugger Alfredo Angulo in March.

Now he faces another top 154-pound contender in Erislandy Lara, who has also scored a 10th-round TKO of Angulo and unanimous decision over Trout. Many hardcore fans believe the savvy southpaw, who was one of the stars of the celebrated Cuban amateur squad, is a stylistic nightmare for Alvarez. On Saturday, we’ll see if the former world amateur champ has what it takes to upset the former RING junior middleweight champ.

Here’s how Alvarez and Lara match up in 20 categories, both physical and intangible, with each fighter rated on a scale of 0 to 5. (A score of 100 would denote the perfect fighter.)

 

HAND SPEED

Alvarez – 3.5
Lara – 3.5

FOOTWORK

Alvarez – 3.5
Lara – 4.0

POWER (LEAD HAND)

Alvarez – 4.0
Lara – 3.5

POWER (TRAIL HAND)

Alvarez – 3.5
Lara – 4.0

JAB

Alvarez – 4.0
Lara – 3.5

HOOK

Alvarez – 4.0
Lara – 3.0

CROSS/UPPERCUT

Alvarez – 4.0
Lara – 4.0

BODY PUNCHING

Alvarez – 4.0
Lara – 3.0

INFIGHTING SKILLS

Alvarez – 4.0
Lara – 3.0

ATHLETICISM

Alvarez – 3.5
Lara – 4.0

ENDURANCE

Alvarez – 3.0
Lara – 4.0

ABILITY TO SLIP AND BLOCK

Alvarez – 3.5
Lara – 4.0

PHYSICAL CONDITION

Alvarez – 3.5
Lara – 4.0

POISE AND ABILITY TO COPE WITH EXTERNAL PRESSURES

Alvarez – 4.5
Lara – 4.0

KILLER INSTINCT

Alvarez – 4.0
Lara – 3.5

INTELLIGENCE AND STRATEGIC DEXTERITY

Alvarez – 4.0
Lara – 4.5

CHIN AND RESILIENCE

Alvarez – 4.0
Lara – 4.0

EXPERIENCE

Alvarez – 4.0
Lara – 4.0

QUALITY OF OPPONENTS

Alvarez – 4.0
Lara – 3.5

CORNER

Alvarez – 3.5
Lara – 4.0

TOTAL

ALVAREZ – 76
LARA – 75

 

SUMMARY AND PREDICTION

Lara will begin the bout well, using feints, upper-body movement and footwork to keep Alvarez off balance and make the crowd-favorite miss. The Cuban lefty will counter short right hooks and stinging left crosses to take the early rounds, but his success will encourage him to step forward more, which will allow Alvarez to catch him with stiff jabs and counter rights to the chest. Alvarez will be careful not to walk into Lara’s traps as the former amateur champ maneuvers about the ring, but the Mexican star will gradually close the distance on his moving opponent in the middle rounds of the bout. Lara will remain dangerous down the stretch of the fight, but once in range, Alvarez will win the majority of exchanges with crisp three- and four-punch combinations that are punctuated with debilitating lefts to the body. A late-round knockdown, courtesy of a left hook, will enable Alvarez to win a close decision in a competitive and entertaining boxing match.

 

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