RingTV.com asked 28 boxing insiders to predict the result of the Canelo Alvarez-Erislandy Lara fight Saturday in Las Vegas. Here are their picks.
Canelo Alvarez UD 12 Erislandy Lara: Been going back and forth on this fight really from the moment it was announced. As talented as Erislandy Lara is, he’s there to be outfought.
He’s not the prototypical Cuban boxer, nor is Canelo Alvarez of the cloth of the stereotypical Mexican brawler. Lara has his moments and wins plenty of style points. But Alvarez’s’ aggression prevails in a close but clear decision win even if there are rumblings from Lara’s camp and supporters immediately thereafter.
Record: 12-5 [Last pick: Crawford W 12 Gamboa]
Canelo Alvarez SD 12 Erislandy Lara: Did Canelo Alvarez learn anything in a one-sided loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr.? If not, Erislandy Lara will make a fool out of him. But the guess here is that Canelo learned enough, just enough, to prevail in a fight so close it could be controversial.
Lara will score with precise counters. He’ll elude Canelo with educated footwork. But Canelo’s toughness will keep him upright, even against the Cuban’s underestimated power.
Sometimes, Lara has been passive. Sometimes, he hangs on the ropes. If either habit re-appears, Canelo won’t need much time to land at least one big combo for a knockdown that could be the difference.
Record: 15-5 [Last pick: Crawford UD 12 Gamboa]
Canelo Alvarez UD 12 Erislandy Lara: On the business side of the sweet science, boring Cuban boxers do not defeat economic superstars even when they actually do. Recent victims of these promotional politics include the robbery of Richar Abril against Top Rank’s Brandon Rios in 2012 and Erislandy Lara himself against the well-connected Paul Williams back in 2011. There are other examples.
If this fight took place two years ago when it should’ve happened, I’d have picked Canelo Alvarez to win a dodgy decision. Things have since changed. Alvarez is a better boxer today with the experience of facing the best in the world under his belt. Lara has shown a vulnerability to pressure fighters, and Canelo is nothing if not one of the most relentless punchers in boxing.
What does all this add up to? A competitive fight early until Alvarez closes the gap on his fleet-footed southpaw opponent. By the middle rounds, the Cuban will be forced to stand his ground and fight. When that happens, it becomes just a matter of time until a competitive contest becomes a rout.
A late-round stoppage win for Canelo is a distinct possibility. By the championship rounds, Alvarez will be in complete control. The unanimous verdict in favor of the Mexican redhead will be well earned, expected by all, and not in the least bit controversial.
Record: 13-7 [Last pick: Crawford MD 12 Gamboa]
Canelo Alvarez UD 12 Erislandy Lara: This is an extremely dangerous fight for Canelo Alvarez, and he should be commended for taking it, particularly when he was under no obligation to do so.
Erislandy Lara is a crafty southpaw with bags of ambition and aggression, and he sought out this fight for a reason. This is a career-defining showdown, but in the end, I think Canelo can unlock Lara’s defenses throughout the course of a long fight.
Granted, Canelo he couldn’t put a dent in Floyd Mayweather Jr., but that doesn’t mean he’s poor, technically. Alfredo Angulo broke through on Lara, despite being outclassed, so what can a superior operator like Canelo do?
I think Lara looks good from the start, but gets hurt enough times to keep him honest. His reluctance to engage will allow Canelo to take the lead and I see the judges favoring the younger man’s aggression over the distance.
Record: 15-5 [Last pick: Crawford TKO 11 Gamboa]
Canelo Alvarez UD 12 Erislandy Lara: This is a fight whose result hinges entirely on range. If Erislandy Lara forces an outside fight AND if he maintains it he wins but if Canelo Alvarez works his way inside the Cuban’s long arms and pounds the body he wins.
The guess here is that Lara will win the early rounds with his skills and speed, but Alvarez’s steady pressure and outstanding combination punching eventually will cut the distance and wear Lara down.
Intangibles will also play a part in the result, for Alvarez is accustomed to the bright lights and big-fight pressure, and I’m sure he will apply the lessons he learned by fighting a tough lefty like Austin Trout as well as boxing’s Einstein in Floyd Mayweather Jr. This will be the tough fight everyone expects but I believe Alvarez will find a way to win.
Record: 9-4 [Last pick: Crawford UD 12 Gamboa]
Canelo Alvarez UD 12 Erislandy Lara: Before the Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight, I wouldn’t have given Canelo Alvarez a shot. But now that Canelo has seen what Mayweather has to offer, nothing that Erislandy Lara can do will surprise him.
Although Lara’s amateur boxing background can give opponents a headache — or lull fans to sleep — the Cuban does struggle with consistency and can succumb to pressure.
Alfredo Angulo proved that persistence can eventually pay off with Lara and I anticipate that Canelo will follow that same strategy with better results. Canelo’s growth, as a fighter, has been downright scary, which means that Lara will have to be flawless to come out of this one victorious. I just don’t see that happening.
Record: 15-4 [Last pick: Crawford UD 12 Gamboa]
Canelo Alvarez TKO 10 Erislandy Lara: The skilled, left-handed Erislandy Lara obviously isn’t Austin Trout, but Alvarez’s success in his own fight against Trout was a strong indicator of his ability to handle a smart southpaw.
Lara possesses more power than Trout, but Alvarez’s chin never has been an issue, and that won’t change Saturday night. He’ll have some difficulty with Lara’s movement, and the first half of the fight should be highly competitive.
Eventually, though, a persistent Alvarez’s strength will become the foremost factor in a fight against an opponent whose chin hasn’t always been reliable. Lara is more than willing to trade, and that’ll cost him in this fight.
Record: 7-1 [Last pick: Crawford UD 12 Gamboa]
Edward “Revolver” Khabrov, guest/fan, Zaporozhye City, Ukraine
Erislandy Lara W 12 Canelo Alvarez: I’m going with Erislandy Lara in this very intriguing match-up. The only thing is, even though Lara is extremely talented, he also proved to be a very inconsistent fighter throughout his pro career. Lara can put on a brilliant boxing exhibition, being an underdog, as he did against Paul Williams and Austin Trout.
Or he can struggle and look so-so in bouts he is expected to win decisively, as was the case against Freddy Hernandez, Carlos Molina and, most recently, against Vanes Martirosyan and Alfredo Angulo. Two important factors for me in this contest are what Lara shows up on fight night and the judges.
If Lara is 100 percent on his A-game, then he has all the tools and skills to decisively outbox Canelo. If the bout is close, then I don’t believe Lara will receive a fair shake and the decision will go Canelo’s way, especially now, when potential bout Canelo-Miguel Cotto fight looms as a possibility.
Canelo Alvarez W 12 Erislandy Lara: I think Canelo Alvarez showed in his close win over Austin Trout that he not only could score on a slick southpaw, but do enough damage to put him on the canvas.
Erislandy Lara will definitely capture his share of rounds, but I don’t see him landing consistently enough to win on the cards in a close, possibly ugly fight. This is a fight in which a heavily pro-Canelo crowd will be screaming at the top of its lungs whenever the Mexican star throws, much less lands a combination.
Record: 6-1 [Last pick: Crawford W 12 Gamboa]
Canelo Alvarez W 12 Erislandy Lara: Looking forward to this one. It’s a tough pick to be sure. Erislandy Lara is extremely clever, and can punch too. If this was strictly a boxer-puncher matchup, I’d give him the edge.
But I think Canelo has advanced past just being a slugger. Canelo Alvarez has developed a pretty well-rounded style, and it is complimented by strength. In fact, I think strength will play a role in this fight.
Lara will have the early edge, but Canelo’s physical presence will be imposed and he will begin wearing him down. I believe Canelo will be able to score a knockdown or two in the last third of the fight and pull away to the victory on the cards.
Record: 14-6 [Last pick: Crawford UD 12 Gamboa]
Canelo Alvarez W 12 Erislandy Lara: It won’t be as easy as it has been so far for Canelo Alvarez, but he has the advantage on most departments including hunger and desire, which is something that Erislandy Lara has failed to demonstrate until now.
Lara’s skills are undeniable, but he’s about to run into a guy who simply wants it more and knows how to get it. Canelo won’t be as intimidated by Lara as he was with Floyd Mayweather Jr., and will push the action until he can finally break in and connect to the body for effect, as he always does.
Lara will obviously try to use his range and mobility to make this a mid-long range fight, but Lara won’t be the first one to try a hit-and-run proposition on Canelo, and he won’t be the first one to fail at it, either.
Record: 3-2 [Last pick: Crawford UD 12 Gamboa]
Canelo Alvarez W 12 Erislandy Lara: Canelo Alvarez should be use to the big stage now. If he’s not, then he’ll never be. While he was somewhat disappointing in the Floyd Mayweather Jr. loss, I just don’t see Erislandy Lara putting the fear of God in him.
Alvarez will make Lara give just enough ground to edge him by decision. I always shy away from unanimous decision or whatever, because you just can’t count on these judges to agree.
Record: 10-2 [Last pick: Crawford late-round KO Gamboa]
Erislandy Lara W 12 Canelo Alvarez: I know that Erislandy Lara has the more extensive background. As an amateur, he has a much better foundation coming through the Cuban program, and he’s fought much better professional fighters than Canelo Alvarez.
I really think that the relative foundation that the two guys have by comparison is like night and day. I don’t think that Canelo has the foundation that Lara has or that type of grooming. We saw what happened to canelo when he fought Floyd Mayweather Jr., he looked like a sparring partner.
Record: 1-0 [Last pick: Mayweather UD 12 Maidana]
Canelo Alvarez W12 Erislandy Lara: I’m picking Canelo Alvarez to win a close decision over Erislandy Lara. I see a competitive chess match with bursts of action. The fight will be close heading into the later rounds. Neither fighter is known for his endurance, but I feel Alvarez wants it a little bit more than Lara.
Record: 14-6 [Last pick: Gamboa W 12 Crawford]
Canelo Alvarez W 12 Erislandy Lara: I like Canelo Alvarez in this one. It won’t be easy, and he’ll probably get outboxed and out-worked in stretches of the fight.
But sooner or later, he will start connecting, and once that happens, he will hurt Erislandy Lara.
If Alfredo Angulo can hurt Lara, I think Alvarez can, too. I think Alvarez will pull out a close-but-deserved decision, probably as a result of a knockdown or two.
Record: 14-4 [Last pick: Crawford W 12 Gamboa]
Erislandy Lara W 12 Canelo Alvarez: Another week, another toss up, but no coin flip this time. The money is with Canelo Alvarez. The Al Haymon is with Erislandy Lara. I think the latter squares the judges, and Lara seizes the moment for a clear decision win.
Record: 10-9 [Last pick: Gamboa KO Crawford]
Canelo Alvarez KO 10 Erislandy Lara: I think Erislandy Lara has the potential to give Canelo Alvarez significant trouble because of his ability and experience. I thought the same thing when Alvarez fought Austin Trout, though, and we know what happened there.
I think it will take Alvarez a while to figure out Lara, who I expect to stick and move early in the fight. However, Alvarez, the stronger of the two and an underrated boxer, will catch up to the Cuban and make him fight. That will be Lara’s downfall. Alvarez by 10th-round KO.
Record: 10-5 [Last pick: Gamboa UD 12 Crawford]
Canelo Alvarez SD 12 Erislandy Lara: My gut says Canelo Alvarez, but my head says Erislandy Lara. In my opinion, Lara’s style is very wrong for Alvarez. Lara should be very motivated, and if he is, it could be a long night for Alvarez.
On the flip slide, Alvarez losing is not an option for Golden Boy. If any rounds are close, they are likely going to the house fighter, which is Alvarez. I predict a split win for Alvarez, with the likelihood of a rematch in November.
Record: 2-0 [Last pick: Pacquiao W 12 Bradley]
Canelo Alvarez W 12 Erislandy Lara: Good fight. It is probably a much better fight on paper then it will be. Canelo Alvarez will have to come out of his counter-punching shell to make it an easier fight for himself.
If not, Erislandy Lara will make it a painful night for Canelo. I think that Canelo will need to follow instructions from his corner.
But I doubt that he will, because he appears to have let stardom get to his head. Canelo should win a very close decision, difficult fight, but Lara winning will not surprise me.
Record: 4-3 [Last pick: Crawford UD 12 Gamboa]
Canelo Alvarez KO 10 Erislandy Lara: I think that Canelo Alvarez is too strong for Erislandy Lara. I think that there is a chance that there are going to be some great rounds in this fight. I think that you’re talking about two fighters who still think that they have to prove they belong in the pound-for-pound list. But at this stage, Canelo is the better fighter.
Record: 8-0 [Last pick: Crawford KO 10 Gamboa]
Canelo Alvarez W 12 Erislandy Lara: I’m really torn on this one. I know I might even see-saw on my pick a few times until the fight happens. But I’m going to go right now with Canelo Alvarez on a strong decision.
I believe it is going be a tough fight for him, especially early on. But I see Canelo digging down deep down the stretch and winning a close but very fair decision over Erislandy Lara.
Record: 9-6[Last pick: Gamboa W 12 Crawford]
Canelo Alvarez SD 12 Erislandy Lara: I really believe that Erislandy Lara’s style will give Canelo Alvarez problems and that he will frustrate Canelo almost as much as Floyd Mayweather Jr. did.
However, Lara is not as good as Floyd, defensively, and Canelo will have success landing his power shots as Alfredo Angulo did when he was able to drop Lara twice.
Canelo is not a complete fighter yet, but he is getting there after his destruction of Angulo.
I look for a very competitive fight, with Canelo landing the harder shots and eking out a close decision. One thing to keep in mind is that Canelo is the “house” fighter, and might be up two rounds before the opening bell in this particular matchup.
Record: 12-3 [Last pick: Crawford SD 12 Gamboa]
Bradley Starks, guest/fan, Novato, Calif.
Canelo Alvarez late-round KO Erislandy Lara: This is an intriguing matchup: A strong and sound Mexican boxer-puncher vs. a cagey counter-punching sniper from the Cuban school of battle.
I believe Canelo Alvarez will probably be the strongest opponent Erislandy Lara will have faced to date, and Lara will be the slickest fighter the redhead has squared up against so far in his career.
In order to defeat Lara, you need a sustained and smart body attack, combination-punching with hooks and uppercuts, intelligent footwork and the ability to cut off the ring properly.
Alvarez is pretty skilled in all of these areas, and I see him knocking out Lara in the later rounds after a nip-and-tuck affair over the first half of the bout. Lara will give the young idol all he can handle though every step of the way.
Record: 1-0 [Last pick: Crawford W 12 Gamboa]
Erislandy Lara SD 12 Canelo Alvarez: Erislandy Lara might be the closest thing to a southpaw Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Juan Manuel Marquez that I’ve seen. He loves to box on the outside, counterpunching and picking his spots and avoiding the big punches that Canelo Alvarez can dish out.
Not only that, but Lara has long arms and an awkward southpaw style that I believe will give Alvarez fits. Alvarez has the power to put Lara on the canvas if he can touch him. I’m betting he can’t.
Record: 10-3 [Last pick: Russell SD 12 Lomachenko]
Canelo Alvarez W 12 Erislandy Lara: Canelo Alvarez will win on the scorecards, and Erislandy Lara will win the fight. Canelo is becoming a huge star in boxing, and Las Vegas will keep the star from burning out. Alvarez over 12 heated exchanges over the junior middleweight champ, and a controversial one in the books.
Record: 13-5 [Last pick: Crawford W 12 Gamboa]
Erislandy Lara MD 12 Canelo Alvarez: Canelo Alvarez is boxing’s next big star. He’s currently on a run to prove the hype was well-earned, facing Austin Trout, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Alfredo Angulo all back-to-back. Say what you will about his previous fights, but with Canelo choosing to fight Erislandy Lara, we know the kid is in this thing to be great.
After punishing Angulo over 10 one-sided rounds, we saw the full Canelo package. Good upper-body movement, fast-ish hands with thudding power, and a chin that could take a reasonable knock or two. That said, Angulo is no Lara. Hailing from the almost-mythical Cuban boxing team, Lara has becomed quite feared at 154, despite reasonably limited competition.
One of his most notable win was a robbery decision against Paul Williams, after Sergio Martinez laid out the blueprint for southpaws facing Williams. After that, there are a few forgettable fights. Lara’s skills are obviously sublime, it’s just a matter of if he’ll be motivated to put on a show with the opponent in front of him.
But having common competition with Canelo in the form of Trout and Angulo, this matchup becomes a lot more interesting. Lara struggled at times with Angulo, even getting dropped twice until a monster shot was thrown and Angulo promptly quit. However, Lara did handle Trout with ease, whereas Canelo was arguably challenged more stiffly. When it comes down to it, we’re left with yet another pick’em fight.
While Canelo had to learn the sport by turning pro early and racking up wins, Lara has the amateur experience and skills that Canelo may not have picked up along the way. This is a fantastic matchup, one any fan should be tuned into, but I’m going to go with Lara by a close majority decision. We haven’t seen Canelo deal with a southpaw that’s as complete as Lara is.
Record: 9-6 [Last pick: Crawford UD 12 Gamboa]
Canelo Alvarez W 12 Erislandy Lara: I give Canelo Alvarez huge credit for taking this fight. It wasn’t a bout that people were clamoring for. Erislandy Lara is a dangerous southpaw with crazy amateur credentials.
Lara has called out Canelo for a while. Finally, Lara has his wish. Perhaps he should be careful what he wishes for. I expect a close battle in which each fighter has his moments. But Canelo’s will do slightly more, seeing him home on points, and, possibly, controversially.
Record: 12-5 [Last pick: Russell W 12 Lomachenko]
By a one-sided 23-to-5, the insiders choose Canelo Alvarez to win Saturday’s junior middleweight bout over Erislandy Lara.