Before they battle for the WBA Super Welterweight title this Saturday night, former world champion Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara and Ramon “El Inocente” Alvarez traded words on “PBC Face to Face” and previewed their showdown that will headline FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes from The Armory in Minneapolis.
Catch the replay of “PBC Face to Face” tomorrow, Thursday August 28 at 11:30 a.m. ET and Friday, August 29 at 2 p.m. ET on FS2.
After an extended title run that ended with him as the longest reigning 154-pound champion, Lara is highly motivated on his quest to recapture his place in the division and erase the memory of his narrow decision defeat to Jarrett Hurd in 2018’s Fight of the Year.
“I came and I achieved almost everything that I have asked of myself,” said Lara. “I was world champion for many years and the most important thing is that now I feel very happy because they gave me another chance for the world title and to be crowned again.
“I’ve always been ready to be champion again. There have been some bad decisions from the judges, but I’ve always been ready to be champion again.”
One of those close and controversial decisions in Lara’s career came against Ramon Alvarez’s brother, middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez in 2014. The two combatants this Saturday night exchanged words on if that 2014 fight could play into their title fight.
“I have nothing against this man,” said Lara. “This is a business. We are going to present the best of ourselves. But I will work very hard. I’m going to be honest with you, as I sit here facing you in front of the camera, I am going to work very hard at my camp to knock you out. Okay? I’m coming to knock you out and we’re going to work hard for that.
“To win this fight is to turn the page. If the opportunity comes to fight with your brother again, we fight again. I am ready to fight with your brother.”
“He will not be facing my brother, nor do I think he will face him again,” said Alvarez. “He should focus now on what is coming. I’m what is coming.”
Alvarez is hoping for an opportunity to distinguish himself from his brother and score the biggest win of his pro career that dates back to 2008. He enters this fight the winner of four of his last five contests, with his only defeat in that stretch coming to former champion Brandon Rios in 2018.
“I will work to make things very clear to Lara that I am not my brother and that this fight will not be the same,” said Alvarez. “This fight has nothing to do with controversies. I think I have a different style to show and I’m going to show it this night.
“This is everything for me. To make my own legacy. My own path and show I got here with nobody’s help. I think we’ve shown to the world and the public that I have been advancing and winning, and I’ve been winning these opportunities and I will take advantage of them.”
After his Fight of the Year against Hurd in 2018, Lara engaged in another exciting action bout in March against Brian Castano, a title fight that eventually ended in a draw. With Alvarez expected to fight aggressively on Saturday, Lara believes another high octane bout is on the horizon.
“If the boxer is a guy who advances and pressures, I’m obligated to work with him,” said Lara. “I expect on August 31, Alvarez will come with the same anxious hunger and give a great show. So for the people will be watching, it’ll be very good.”
This will be Alvarez’s biggest opportunity of his career, a chance to not only win a world title, but grab a career-defining win against an elite former champion.
“I chose Lara because he’s a great fighter,” said Alvarez. “Because I think it’s our opportunity to demonstrate to the world what I have. Who I am. I think that of all the matchups, the best fight is with Lara. So, I chose him to give the people a spectacular show. I think that’s what we’ll do.”
The two fighters also traded words about their shared strategy not watch video of their opponents’ past fight prior to stepping in the ring.
“When they told me about the fight with Ramon, I had never seen you fight,” said Lara. “I do not look. I do not like to see your game plan. In Cuba, I didn’t have the chance to see the boxers when we left the country. I am not used to watching video of boxers. I have never really seen you fight. I’m going to prepare hard for the fight and I will be well focused on you on August 31. Because I come to win. I do not come to play.”
“I believe that all my opponents, all fighters, get to know each other better in the ring,” said Alvarez. “Maybe you can see someone’s video, but you don’t really know how it’ll be on that night in the ring. One has to work and prepare for everything.
“You want to be ready that night and be ready for what they give you and for what may come new or what may not come new. Because there are fighters that can evolve and can bring out new things. Some fighters always fight the same and there are fighters who don’t. You have to be prepared for everything.”
Both fighters believe that all of the motivations will add up to a great fight for the fans, with a good chance of an explosive finish that determines who walks away with the title.
“From what I can say and guarantee August 31 is that Erislandy Lara comes out with his hands raised,” said Lara. “I’m going to work hard. We will work hard. It is a very important fight my career and for my family. I will work hard for the knockout. In case I can’t, we’ll look for Plan B, to win all rounds. But I’m going to focus very hard to work for the knockout.”
“For me, the fight will end with a knockout because it is a high voltage fight,” said Alvarez. “So we’ll work very hard to give that surprise. I’m going to work for 12 rounds.”