Erislandy Lara: ‘Everyone will see what we got in store for Brian Castano’
Cuban boxing master Erislandy Lara had never been known for being involved in exciting fights since turning professional a decade ago. That changed last March when he fought Jarrett Hurd in a junior middleweight unification bout.
Lara, who is rated No. 2 by The Ring at 154 pounds, lost his WBA belt by the slimmest of margins to his IBF counterpart in one of the finest fights of 2018. However, the 35-year-old stylist believes victory should have been his.
“Even though he had the late knockdown, I thought I did enough to win the fight and so did he if you look at the reaction on his face when the scores were announced,” Lara (25-3-2, 14 knockouts) told The Ring through Mario Serrano. “I felt I was up by a couple of rounds going into the 12th but that’s in the past now.”
Lara returns to action against rugged Argentinean Brian Castano over 12 scheduled rounds at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday. “The American Dream” knows that if he is to remain a factor in the upper echelons of the 154-pound division, then he must prevail in this crossroads matchup.
“This is a big fight for me, and I feel my back is against the wall,” Lara said. “It’s going to be a tough fight, that I know. That’s why I’m taking this fight very serious.
“Right now, he stands in my way of regaining my [WBA regular] title so I’m going into this fight with victory on my mind. There is no doubt that I’m the better fighter. I’m expecting him to be in great shape, but I’m confident I’ll be victorious.”
Castano (15-0, 11 KOs) is clearly gifted. He operated at a high level internationally as an amateur and contested almost 200 bouts. Among his victims in the unpaid ranks were reigning IBF welterweight titleholder Errol Spence Jr. and current middleweight contender Sergey Derevyanchenko.
Since turning professional in 2012, Castano’s progress has been slow but steady. In his two most recent outings, the 29-year-old boxer-puncher traveled to France to best the highly regarded Michel Soro (SD 12) and Cedric Vitu (TKO 12).
Lara has enjoyed his usual training camp in Houston under the watchful eye of Ronnie Shields.
“Ronnie and I are working great,” he said. “We have great chemistry going and a nice game plan is in place. There is no need to change much. I’m working hard and I’ll be at my best come fight night.
“I’m not giving away my game plan, but Ronnie and I see some flaws we can exploit. (Castano) has trouble in certain areas and on fight night, everyone will see what we got in store for him.”
With his 36th birthday looming, the former amateur standout still feels he has more to achieve.
“My goal is to capture another world title and stamp my legacy in the boxing hall of fame,” said Lara.
Editor’s Note: Castano will be defending a version of the WBA junior middleweight title which is unrecognized by The Ring. Jarrett Hurd is the WBA 154-pound champion.
The bout will be broadcast on Showtime in the U.S.
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