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Canelo Alvarez vs. Erislandy Lara media conference call transcript



Kelly Swanson Thanks everyone, for joining us today for what will be the final conference call before “Honor and Glory: Canelo vs. Lara” takes place on Saturday, July 12th at MGM Grand. Live on SHOWTIME PPV®. What an exciting fight! Even out on the street people are talking about who’s going to win this one. So, it’s a pleasure and an honor to have both of the main event fighters taking time out of camp today to talk to us.

Canelo Alvarez, Erislandy Lara, Chepo Reynoso (Canelo’s trainer) and Ronnie Shields (Lara’s trainer), and we’re going to start the call with Lara and Ronnie Shields. But to make the official introductions I’d like to introduce Oscar De La Hoya, president and founder of Golden Boy Promotions.

Oscar De La Hoya

Thank you very much, Kelly. Yes, we are counting down the days. Everybody’s really excited. Just to point out to you, the event is almost sold out, a complete sell out. We are also hearing from all the cable operators that this fight is tracking extremely well, so it’s obviously a great indication not only of Canelo’s star power and not only of the great stacked card that we have, but also because this is a great fight that a lot of people feel is a toss-up fight. Before I introduce the trainers and the fighters, let me introduce to you the Vice President of Communications at SHOWTIME®, Chris DeBlasio, to say a few words.

Chris DeBlasio

Thank you, Oscar. And thanks to the press for participating on this call. Some housekeeping from SHOWTIME: Stephen Espinoza, our Executive Vice President and Head of Programming couldn’t join us today and he extends his apologies. So briefly, our Emmy Award-winning documentary series ALL ACCESS has returned to chronicle Canelo and Lara’s preparations for this fight. Our first episode you may have seen premiered last Friday night. Our second episode in advance of the PPV event will be televised on Wednesday, July 9th on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/PT). We encourage you to tune in. That is the linchpin of the shoulder programming that is airing on SHOWTIME EXTREME®, available on our website, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND®, as well as on mobile devices via SHOWTIME ANYTIME®.

ALL ACCESS, as I previously mentioned, is the linchpin of that content, but in addition we have past fights from Canelo, Erislandy Lara, Abner Mares and Mauricio Herrera. We have several past fights available; these are some of the gems from each of these fighters’ careers, as well as a ton of other content available throughout the week leading up to the PPV event, including our “Canelo vs. Lara: COUNTDOWN LIVE”, which airs live on SHOWTIME on Saturday, July 12th. The countdown show will air at 7:30 p.m. Eastern/4:30 p.m. Pacific live from MGM Grand, and it will include a live championship fight leading up to the 9:00 p.m.ET/6:00 p.m.PT live SHOWTIME PPV event from MGM Grand.

So, we’re excited about the content and mostly excited about the live fights that will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, as I’m sure the rest of you are looking forward to it.

O. De La Hoya

Thank you very much, Chris. And let me take this opportunity to say a few words. He is a trainer that we all know very well. He’s a great trainer, and he is in Lara’s camp getting him ready for the big showdown, and that is Ronnie Shields. Ronnie?

Ronnie Shields

Thank you, Oscar. I just wanted to say that everything’s going great here in camp. Erislandy Lara’s in great condition. Like always, he’s been doing everything that we’ve asked of him. Our whole team is really, really focused on making sure that you get the best possible fight out there. It’s going to be a really, really great fight. We’re looking forward to it. Lara’s condition is really great, and we really give all the credit to [indiscernible] Jackson [indiscernible] conditioning coach. He’s been doing a great job. And everybody else in camp has really been doing really good, and Lara’s in good spirits. He can’t wait until July 12th to get in the ring with Canelo Alvarez.

O. De La Hoya

Thank you very much, Ronnie. And now let me introduce to you the fighter who hails out of Guantanamo, Cuba. He suffered a controversial decision, lost to Paul Williams in 2011. He’s won the WBA Junior Middleweight World Championship, defeating Alfredo Angulo. He has a great win, a 12-round unanimous decision over Austin Trout. He is obviously here and ready and willing, with a record of 19-1-2, with 12 knockouts, let me introduce to you Erislandy Lara.

Erislandy Lara

Hi to everybody on the call; thank you guys for being present. There’s not much more to talk about. I’m ready to fight. I’m in great shape. And you’ll see against Canelo on July 12th.

Q

Hello, everybody. Thank you. When you came to America to pursue your professional dream to fight, was this everything that you thought it would be, to get into these kinds of fights? I know it took a little while to get here, but you’re here now, how do you feel looking back, the way things have gone over the past few years getting to this point?

E. Lara

One hundred percent. That’s what I wanted to do, that’s the reason I came to this country was to fight in these types of fights, and to fight at this level.

Q

And when you came here Canelo wasn’t a big name or anything at the time, but were you thinking not only world titles and those types of fights, but significant opponents and pay-per-view level fights? Did he even know what pay-per-view was? They don’t have that in Cuba.

E. Lara

Yes. One hundred percent, that’s exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to come to this country and fight the best. That’s what I wanted to do since my seventh professional fight. I was asking to fight for a world title. And championships come and go, but these are the types of fights that will leave history, so that’s what I plan on doing on July 12th.

Q

You and Canelo have a couple of common opponents, both have fought Austin Trout, both have fought Angulo, each one of them had, one was easy for one guy and one was tough for the other guy. I’m curious, do you put any stock into the fact with the way that those went down, or is this just a totally separate situation?

E. Lara

No. They have nothing to do with each other, basically all styles are different. And I’m focused on Canelo and I don’t think it makes a difference on who that he fought in the past. What makes a difference is how our styles mesh, and I plan on dominating Canelo Alvarez on July 12th.

Q

Thank you. You’ve been training Lara for a while now. I just wonder, from the point of view of the trainer, he’s had some really, really outstanding performances, he’s had a couple of fights that were maybe a little inconsistent. How do you go about trying to make sure that we see the dominant top notch Lara come next Saturday, as opposed to the guy that kind of gets through the fight and maybe doesn’t look great but does what he has to do, but maybe there’s a question when the fight’s over in some people’s minds about the result, to have him really primed for that night?

R. Shields

Well, the most important thing is style, and he’s one of these guys that, Canelo, I think is who’s in front of you that makes a big difference in any fight, some guys are hard to get out front, some guys are not. But obviously I think Canelo Alvarez is one of the guys that you know you have to be at your best, and I think that’s what you’re going to see on July 12th. I can’t say that I can worry about anything else other than doing the right things. And we’ve been working on [indiscernible] in camp and he’s showing it up real good in training, everything’s great, the sparring has been really great. So, we’re just looking forward to it and we’re going to follow our game plan on July 12th.

Q
Ronnie, do you think that Lara seems to be a better level of technique and skill than Canelo does, maybe a little bit better quickness, do you think that is going to basically be the difference in the fight, that he can take over because he’s going to basically be making Canelo missing him while he’s countering him?

R. Shields

Yes, without a doubt. Also, I think that Lara is just a better fighter, period, than Canelo. You can’t take anything away from Canelo, he’s a really good fighter, you can’t take anything away from that, but understand this, Erislandy Lara has a better amateur career and he’s having a better pro career. It’s just as simple as that. And Erislandy Lara is one of the best fighters and anybody and everybody who will invite him, so Lara doesn’t have a pick-and-choose career. If you take Canelo’s career, his career has been pick-and-choose.

Q

Ronnie, why is this a good style match up for Erislandy?

R. Shields

Well, it’s a good style match up because if you look at Canelo, he’s one of these guys that, he’s a good puncher with both hands and he’s an arrogant guy, in a great way, because he talks a lot, but he backs it up. And Lara is basically the same way. But when you look at the styles, if you look at Canelo, he’s a guy, he likes to throw combinations. And that’s perfect for Lara, because Lara’s a perfect counter puncher. So, as far as style match up goes, this is going to be a great fight. It’s going to be a great fight because I know both guys are in great condition, and that’s what the people want to see.

Q

Erislandy, why is this a good style match up for you? Why do you feel comfortable going into this fight? And obviously it’s a high stakes fight too.

E. Lara

It’s a good style match up because I know Canelo’s going to try to press forward and press for action, and that’s a style I like. I like guys that come and fight, and I pick them apart, like I’ve done to several guys coming up. These are the fights I like. I like guys who come to fight and I like to put them in the dirt, and that’s what I plan on doing.

Q

The controversy notwithstanding, Ronnie, when he fought Williams everybody at ringside thought he won the fight, and obviously he dominated Trout probably the same way. It occurs to me that both of them are southpaws and skillful fighters, did that have anything to do with why he performed so well against both of those guys, as opposed to Angulo and Molina, both were good fights but there were some people who thought Molina beat him, and obviously Angulo dropped him twice.

R. Shields

Well, I think when you go back, I remember in the Molina fight that we took the fight on very short notice and we really didn’t have a whole lot of time to prepare for Molina. Molina is a good fighter, we can’t take anything away from him, but I still go back and look at that fight, and there’s no way in the world Lara lost that fight. Lara won that fight. He won six rounds of that fight, so I know he won that fight.

But with the Angulo fight, Alfredo Angulo was a tough, tough fighter, and you can’t take that away from him. He was one of the best junior middleweights in the world who can punch with both hands, and Lara as a fighter, he got caught and he went down. But you know what a good fighter does, he gets up and he comes back, and he stopped Angulo.

That’s just the way it is, to have to deal with whether a guy is a southpaw or a right hander. Lara, he fights anybody and everybody. Lara asked for this, he asked for every fight that he’s been in basically because nobody wants to fight him. He only wants to fight the best fighters, and this is why you’ll see him fight on July 12th with Canelo Alvarez.

Q

But the two fights that I mentioned before, though, Trout and Williams, why was he so dominant in those fights, and what did he do well in those fights that you think is part of his signature?

R. Shields

Well, he counter punched and he boxed the way he’s supposed to box. And I think those guys with the come forward styles really complements Lara’s style. But at the same time Lara punches harder than people give him credit for, and on Saturday July 12th you’re going to see that.

Q

I’ve got one more question for Erislandy. One of your countrymen, Yuriorkis Gamboa, lost, and I wonder if you feel any patriotism to step up for the Cubans in the wake of his loss?

E. Lara

Gamboa is Gamboa, and in the Cuban system there’s teams, here, this is an individual sport, I’m focused on what I’ve got to do. It has nothing to do with my game plan or changes what I’ve got to do. My main focus is beating Canelo Alvarez, and that’s what I plan on doing July 12th. And obviously I always want to stand up and show why Cuban boxing’s the best, and that’s what I’m going to do on July 12th. And it has nothing to do with Gamboa, obviously we have completely different styles and we’re completely different fighters. Other than being Cuban, that’s the only thing they have in common.

Q

Mr. Lara a lot of popular fighters would go the easy road and avoid you. Do you feel you owe Canelo some debt of gratitude for actually agreeing to meet you in the ring?

E. Lara

Absolutely not. I don’t owe him anything other than left hands. I forced this fight. It wasn’t because he wanted to take this fight. We’ve been after this fight for two years and I’ve been putting pressure on social media or interviews and jumping on stage, that’s what pressured him to take this fight. I know he didn’t want this fight, and on July 12th you’re going to see the reason why he didn’t want this fight.

Q

Just a quick question. For the year, all in all, through whether it’s Top Rank, Golden Boy, SHOWIME, HBO, pay-per-view results haven’t been too, too impressive. Are you worried about the amount of buys this fight will receive? It’s a very good match up, probably the best all-around match of this year so far, but are you worried that there might be some fatigue as far as buyers go?

O. De La Hoya

No, not at all because, first of all, when you have Canelo involved in a pay-per-view fight, as the numbers show, his very first pay-per-view that he was headlining generated close to 400,000 homes. Having this fight with Erislandy Lara, having the stacked card, people know what they’re going to watch and people are going to tune in to watch a spectacular event, so, we’re not worried one bit whatsoever.

Q

Ronnie, there is no question that Canelo Alvarez was having trouble with Austin Trout up until he dropped him in the seventh. Was it a bad style match up until then, or was it the mere fact that Austin Trout is a big junior middleweight?

R. Shields

Austin Trout is just a good fighter, period, as simple as that. Austin Trout knows his way around that ring. This is why you’ve seen him beat several great fighters. This is why you’ve seen him beat everybody he’s fought up until he met Canelo. And that fight was very, very close, to me, even with the knockdown. But just to say Austin Trout is just a good boxer, no. Austin Trout is a great boxer.

Q

The question was basically, given the political situation in Cuba, have we missed a lot of great fighters that haven’t made it to the U.S.?

E. Lara

Absolutely. Obviously Cuba’s a very strict country, it’s a country that you’ve got to do a lot of things to get over here to be free, and there are a tremendous amount of fighters in Cuba that would be world champions or very good fighters over here that are never able to make it.

Q

My question’s for Erislandy. I’m just curious, Erislandy, if you’ve had a chance to view the fight that Saul Alvarez had with Alfredo Angulo. I wanted to know if you thought that he looked good in that fight, or if he was facing a lesser version of Angulo?

E. Lara

Yes, I was there in person and I didn’t see the same Angulo, the same fighter that I saw in my fight. I thought that it was a decent fight, nothing special, and I dont think that that benefits either guy either way.

Q

Do you feel any extra pressure being the fact that Canelo’s the big star or whether or not he believes he can get a fair decision?

E. Lara

I’ve got no pressure to knockout, the knockout comes along. My main focus is dominating Canelo Alvarez. We have three great officials with the Las Vegas Commission that we know they’re going to do their job, and I’ve got to do my job.

Q

All right, my last question’s for Ronnie Shields. Ronnie, when you’ve got Erislandy Lara and he was experienced, he could come as a fighter, I’m just curious through your time working with him what do you believe you’ve improved in him most?

R. Shields

Well, I think if you look at him everything has improved. I think there’s just an improvement in him on him being just a pure boxer. And he’s probably one of the best counter punchers out there. You’re not going to find anybody else better. That’s number one. And he had that already, but the most important thing is I think is the guys that they put in front of you, and he’s beaten everybody that they’ve put in front of him. What else could you expect from a guy like Erislandy Lara? The kid trains as hard as anybody I’ve ever seen, and this is every day. So, I think it is what it is and it all depends on who’s in front of you.

K. Swanson

Okay, thanks, everybody. Now we’re going to thank Ronnie and Erislandy for joining us. We are now making our way to Canelo Alvarez, who is joining us on the call at this time. So, you guys, thank you so much, and we will see you next week.

O. De La Hoya

Thank you, Canelo. Thank you very much, guys. Thank you to all the press. Let me introduce to you now, he is Canelo’s manager and trainer, to say a few words on how preparation is going and counting down the last few days of training camp Jose “Chepo” Reynoso.

Jose Reynoso

We’re very happy, very optimistic with the work that Saul’s been doing. He’s been working very hard, very happy. And we’re really happy with what has been done and looking forward to July 12th.

O. De La Hoya

Now, I would like to introduce to you, to all the media, one of the most compelling fighters on the planet today, a former World Champion and still just 23 years old, known for his exciting style and charismatic demeanor. He’s been a professional since 2005, and he won the WBC Junior Middleweight title in 2011, and successfully defended it five times. He’s back on track with a March 2014 technical knockout win over Alfredo Angulo, and now making a huge statement for July 12th, facing the very difficult Erislandy Lara. Let me introduce to you the Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, Saul, “El Canelo” Alvarez.

Canelo Alvarez

Good afternoon to everybody. I just want to let you know I’m very happy. I’m happy that the fight’s right around the corner, and I want to let you know that I’m ready. I’m ready for that great night.

Q

The question is for Saul, for Canelo Alvarez, you mentioned that you’ve chosen opponents, more dangerous opponents than both Manny Pacquiao and Mayweather. Do you think that’s going to put you even at a higher plateau, at a higher level in the future?

Canelo

No, the question was asked to me that I was in a position to pick opponents similar to Floyd and Manny, and my response was, look, I pick the most dangerous, the best fights because at the end of the day I fight for the fans and I want to give them the best fights out there. As far as getting further out in my career and reaching new heights, you know, by fighting the toughest fights, by fighting the best fighters out there, that’s how I fulfill myself, taking on the biggest challenges. And time will tell.

Q

Canelo, you know how the passion in the Mexican fans are for futbol, soccer, a victory on the 12th for you, will that give us a little bit of satisfaction that Mexico was eliminated and give us that sense of patriotism?

Canelo

Yes, of course. And when it comes to World Cup Soccer we’re all right there with the patriotism following our country, and I’m hoping that July 12th my victory will give all of my countrymen the same satisfaction as well and keep them happy.

Q

The question is for Oscar, Chris, and Canelo. What do you guys think of Mayweather taking over these dates so important to Mexico, like September, like May, dates that have in the past meant dates of Julio Cesar Chavez and Oscar De La Hoya, and do you see in the future these dates once again becoming dates, like Canelo Alvarez or even Abner Mares, who’s on the card?

O. De La Hoya

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez has given me strict orders, obviously he wants to follow in the footsteps of the great champions hailing from Mexico like Julio Cesar Chavez, fighters that have started the tradition of fighting Cinco de Mayo, started the tradition of fighting in September. Canelo now being a star of his own and a big draw and a person who the fans adore, me, as his promoter, it is my obligation to do what’s best for the fighter. So we’re obviously focusing 100 percent on Erislandy Lara and then we will be sitting down with Saul Canelo Alvarez and plan out his future.

Canelo

I want to retake those dates and bring them back. Those dates are Mexican dates, they’re Mexican independence dates, and yes, for next year I will be fighting, I want to be fighting on those dates.

Q

What now do you expect to see in what you learned from Mayweather, building off the momentum from Angulo, what do you expect to show us tactically against Lara that shows your improvement?

Canelo

Lara and his camp have their strategy and they’re working their game plan. But I’m comfortable with mine. I’m working very hard. I’m working for this fight. Every fight is different. You prepare for every opponent differently. And I’m very confident that come July 12th once we’re in the ring all the other stuff goes out the window and it’s just him and I up in the ring. And that’s what I’m preparing for, and that’s what’s going to take care of business on the 12th.

Q

Oscar, can you weigh in on that? I know you actually stated that you were concerned about him taking this fight and in fact didn’t want this fight necessarily for him. What about Canelo, has changed your mind? Do you expect to see a better Canelo than the one you saw against Floyd and Angulo?

O. De La Hoya

Yes, when people say I didn’t want this fight for him, obviously it wasn’t the first choice. As a promoter you don’t want the most difficult fight out there for him. But this is what Canelo’s all about, ultimately it’s his decision, and his decision is a very calculated decision. He’s confident in his abilities, and he wants to fight the very best. That’s the bottom line. And me as a promoter and me as an ex-fighter, I look at it in two ways. Here I was as a fighter fighting the very best, just like Canelo’s doing, and as a promoter this wasn’t my first choice. But you have to go with what the fighter says, with what the fighter feels. And this is what is most admirable of Canelo Alvarez is that he wants to please the fans. He wants to give the fight fans the most difficult fights out there.

Q

Have you talked to Canelo since he decided, and you’ve all decided, that this is the fight he’s going to take and kind of gotten a glimpse of what he thinks he can do in this fight? And if so, I guess not without revealing too many secrets, what do you think you’re going to see in terms of improvement?

O. De La Hoya

Well, obviously Canelo’s a fighter who continues to improve, who continues to grow. He is a fighter who has tremendous, tremendous abilities inside the ring. We feel that with Austin Trout Canelo saw things in Austin Trout, we saw things in Austin Trout, and the same here with Erislandy Lara, yes, he’s very difficult and it’s a difficult style, it’s a tough test in front of him, but like we saw something with Austin Trout you always see something with Erislandy Lara, you see things that obviously Canelo can do and take advantage of. But only the fighter can tell you. The fighter can tell you exactly what he saw and what makes him believe that he can beat him.

Q

Canelo, Erislandy says that the Angulo that you fought was a lesser Angulo than the one he fought. Tell us, was that an improved Canelo Alvarez, or a lesser Angulo, as Lara said?

Canelo

It doesn’t matter what they say. They can say whatever they want. I’m not going to lose sleep over that. I know what I did. I know I did a very good fight. But that fight’s behind us. That fight’s in the past. Now I’m preparing for the next fight and for the future.

Q

This is a great matchup, but the fight got made at 154 pounds, I hadn’t heard from Canelo, from his own words as to why he was not interested to fight for the title belt that Lara has.

O. De La Hoya

This fight is not about a title. This fight is about honor and glory..

Q

I’m wondering, given that it’s going to be a little bit over the Junior Middleweight limit, as was the fight against Angulo, is it just as the fights go along, is Canelo, is he thinking that with each passing fight that his future is really going to be as a middleweight? Is he having trouble making 154, and does he see big things as a middleweight in the future?

Canelo

No, I feel very comfortable at 154, and I’ll be here for the next few years, if not the rest of my career. I don’t know yet. It’s when my body tells me otherwise that it’s time to move then we’ll do it. But I’m very comfortable right now at 154.

Q

I don’t think that Canelo has a lot of experience against left-handed fighters at this point, so I’m wondering, when he thinks about it or when he’s been training for the fight, what are his views of what kind of issues that stance could cause him, if any, because Lara’s such a technical guy anyway.

Canelo

Definitely, he’s a very good, slick southpaw, a very tricky southpaw, a good one. But I’ve never had problems with southpaws, I’ve been able to adapt. And this won’t be the exception. Thank God, I’ve always been good with southpaws.

Q

Is this opponent anything like Trout in his mind, as he’s viewing the videos or scouted him on his own, or heard from his trainers, are there similarities between the two? And in the Trout fight did he learn anything about how to fight against that kind of fighter?

Canelo

No, definitely we’ve seen improvement. Obviously, I improve on every fight and I gain experience, I get better. and without an exception this isn’t going to be anything different. We feel very confident and very comfortable.

Q

Does Canelo view the fight between himself and Lara as, although no title belt’s at stake and one pound over the limit, but basically the winner of this fight is the best fighter in the world as a junior middleweight?

S. Alvarez

Yes, without a doubt he’s one of the best fighters out there in the world in this weight division, so the winner of this fight will, without a doubt, be the best fighter in the division.

Q

Oscar, I’d like you, if you could, to weigh in on that also. Do you think that the winner of this fight really has a stranglehold on being called the best Junior Middleweight in the world, even though Floyd could come back and even though the fight’s one pound over the weight limit?

O. De La Hoya

Absolutely. This is a junior middleweight fight, and you have the number one and number two guy in the world, so absolutely the winner will be considered the best 154 pound champion.

Q

What do you, as the promoter, view as the next step for the winner of this fight?

O. De La Hoya

We haven’t even discussed it. We haven’t even talked about it. The focus is 100 percent on Lara. After the fight, we will either make an announcement, or just sit down and discuss it with Canelo and his team, and come out with a plan. This fight is so difficult and dangerous that we cannot look past Erislandy Lara. So, no, we are not looking past him right now. Canelo is solely focused on Lara.

Q

Because you complained about his attitude throughout the promotion for this fight, do you feel his attitude to be genuine, or do you think he’s just trying to get inside your head? In other words, do you think he doesn’t like you, or is he just trying to psych you out before fight time?

Canelo

I’m not going to get into his games. If I didn’t want the fight, the fight wouldn’t be happening. The fight is here because I wanted the fight. And on July 12th we’re going to see who hits who.

Q

Throughout the promotion of this fight, Canelo, you’ve said in the press that this fight has become personal with the comments that Lara has made. And I have to ask you, is that just promotion, or do you generally have a dislike towards Erislandy Lara?

Canelo

No, this is real. This is very personal. You guys know me. That’s not my character to be promoting and be talking for promotional issues. This is personal. He [Lara] offended me. He offended my person. He offended Mexican boxing. So, yes, it’s very personal.

Q

How does it make you feel that you’re now in the talks and the names with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao as the top Pay-Per-View stars in boxing?

Canelo

No, I’m very happy. I’m very proud, because we have to show the world that us as Latinos, us as Mexicans, we can be at the top as well. So, yes, I’m very happy for that.

Q

I just want to get your official prediction for the fight. Do you see this fight going the distance?

Canelo

Yes, exactly the fight is near. And you know what, we’re ready, we’re prepared. I can’t really give you if the knockout comes, but I can guarantee you this, that we’re going to come out with a hand raised.

O. De La Hoya

Thank you. Thank you very much. That was the last question of this conference call. We will see you at Fight Week. The Grand arrivals will be Tuesday at the MGM, so we’re looking forward to that. We have all the festivities all during the week. So, I’m looking forward to that, to spend time with the press, to spend time with the fans and the fighters. We will see you next week. Thank you very much.