Erislandy Lara vs. Canelo Alvarez?
Last November’s much-anticipated title eliminator between WBC junior middleweights Erislandy Lara and Vanes Martirosyan came to a head-butting halt in the ninth, with an injury to Martirosyan, resulting in a draw by technical decision. Although a rematch was expected, Martirosyan has decided against it, and the WBC has named Emanuele Della Rosa as his replacement, the winner to become the mandatory challenger to WBC junior middleweight champ Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who’s successfully defended his title five times.
A pro since 2008, 29-year-old Lara (17-1-2, 11 KOs) won 15 consecutive fights until drawing against Carlos Molina in March 2011. He suffered his sole defeat that same year, in July, losing to Paul Williams by majority decision. The Cuban southpaw fought three times last year. In addition to his draw against Martirosyan, Lara stopped Ronald Hearns by first-round TKO in April and decisioned Freddy Hernandez in June.
An eight-year veteran, 32-year-old Della Rosa (31-1-0, 8 KOs) won his first 22 fights before being decisioned by Sebastian Zbik in December 2009. The Italian has won nine bouts since. “Ruspa” fought three times last year, decisioning Nasser Al Harbi in June, and beating Ronny McField in September and Arvydas Trizno in December, both on points.
Della Rosa’s record is less impressive than it appears at first glance. Besides Zbik, to whom he lost, Della Rosa hasn’t faced much of quality. Trizno, for example, has only won 16 of 40, and “boasts” one KO. The Italian’s own stopping power isn’t much better—he has a knockout record of just 25%. Lara is a horse of a different color. While the Cuban’s only had 20 fights, he’s gone up against tougher opposition. Hernandez, for example, has won 30 of 35, 20 by knockout. And Lara has a KO record of 55%. I fully expect the Cuban to score his 18th win against his upcoming European opponent, and probably his 12th KO. Which means, should the WBC have its druthers, that Lara will then face Alvarez.
Undefeated “Canelo” (41-0-1, 30 KOs) first entered the ring in 2006. The 22-year-old Mexican fought twice in 2012, decisioning Shane Mosley in May and stopping Josesito Lopez by fifth-round TKO in September. His KO record is greater than 71%.
Alvarez vs. Lara. A good fight? Oh, yes, I think so. Lara is something to write home about and Alvarez is outstanding. While the Mexican won’t find a fight with the Cuban a piece of Boca Negra cake, I do indeed expect him to win, and probably by late-round stoppage.
Of course, the elephant in the middle of the room is Alvarez’s mystery opponent for May 4. Will it be Floyd Mayweather Jr., as the rumor mill has it? After all, he too is scheduled to fight on May 4 against…someone. It would certainly be a contender for Fight of the Year. Full disclosure: I’d be rooting for “Canelo,” which is not to say I think he’d win. We may have to settle, however, for Mayweather taking on Devon Alexander. As SCTV’s Count Floyd used to say: “Ooh, scary stuff, eh, kids?”