Canelo vs. Lara: Odds and Round-by-Round Predictions for Saturday's Fight
If you thought Saul "Canelo" Alvarez would disappear into Las Vegas oblivion after dropping a one-sided—albeit majority—decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. 10 months ago, think again.
Though the 23-year-old Mexican heartthrob was on the consensus short end of nearly every round against the sport's reigning pound-for-pound kingpin, he's already shown signs of regaining the high-profile traction he'd secured prior to last September's disappointment.
That trend continues on Saturday in Las Vegas, where Alvarez, who'll turn 24 six days after the fight, meets Cuban-born Erislandy Lara in a scheduled 12-rounder to be fought at a 155-pound catchweight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Alvarez returned to the good graces of Golden Boy Promotions and Showtime with a 10-round beatdown of rugged gatekeeper Alfredo Angulo in March, setting the stage for a tricky match with the Houston-based southpaw who's lost only once in 22 pro fights.
Lara was 15-0 after erasing Delray Raines in January of 2011, but he's since graduated to the big time while going 4-1-2 across seven fights with much higher-profile opposition.
A draw with future 154-pound title claimant Carlos Molina was the first non-victory in March of 2011 and was followed by a majority 12-round loss to Paul Williams that many observers thought Lara deserved. Second-tier pretenders Ronald Hearns and Freddy Hernandez were dismissed in Lara's next two fights, and a title eliminator against Vanes Martirosyan ended unsatisfyingly in nine rounds after Martirosyan was gashed by an accidental headbutt in November of 2012.
His last two wins, however, have come in reverse order against the exact same foes—Angulo and Austin Trout—as Alvarez's last two wins. Lara was dropped twice but ultimately forced Angulo to retire with a hideous eye injury in their meeting in June of 2013, and he then bedazzled Trout in a way Alvarez never did while pounding out a wide unanimous win on Dec. 7.
His pre-fight swagger has also gotten under the skin of his imminent foe.
"Canelo has a much different mindset going into this fight, his attitude is much better," Alvarez's trainer, Chepo Reynoso, said at a recent media workout. "His pride was hurt because of all of the smack Lara has been talking. He is totally focused on July 12, and wants to punish Lara thoroughly. Canelo looks at Lara as an obnoxious little child that needs to be put into his place."
Date: Saturday, July 12, 2014
Time: Showtime pay-per-view starts at 9 p.m. ET; main event after 11 p.m. ET.
Venue: MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada
Odds: Alvarez (-165), Lara (+135)
Note: Odds provided by VegasInsider.com and correct as of 7/7/2014 at 10 a.m. EDT; subject to change.
Lara jabs, Alvarez circles with his hands held high. Half the round passes, and Alvarez hasn't been active. Lara lands the jab, and Alvarez moves forward and takes a jab to the body. Alvarez finally throws and lands an uppercut. Lara’s activity, while sparse, is winning him the round. Alvarez moves forward without impact, as Lara backs up and jabs.
Alvarez is chastised in the corner for the lack of activity. Lara opens with more jabs and Alvarez moves his head while trying to get inside. Lara tries a left and is answered by two hard rights from Alvarez. An uppercut from Alvarez is followed by a right to the midsection and another to the head by Alvarez. With better distance, Alvarez's work rate has noticeably increased.
This time, it's Lara's corner with the exhortations, as requests are made for more body work and better angles. Lara begins with two jabs and scores with a right hook, which is followed by a one-two and foot movement. Alvarez tries two rights, landing the latter. He's clearly looking to land one big punch. He succeeds with a body shot but eats two more jabs in the closing seconds.
Lara is using space to make Alvarez uncomfortable, constantly turning. Lara flicks a few jabs, then lands a left to the body. Two jabs by Alvarez make an impact as well. A left from Lara is followed by an uppercut from Alvarez, whose effective pressure has returned. He lands a solid one-two, ducks a jab and scores with another uppercut at the bell.
It's more of the same from Lara at the start, with jabs coming in rapid succession. He lands two lefts and takes a strong right to the body from Alvarez. Lara jabs and follows with a left, and is answered by a countering straight right from Alvarez. Lara connects with an uppercut and lands a straight left in the final 10 seconds to swipe what might have been a close round.
Two rights by Alvarez prompt a rare clinch. He follows with a left and grazes Lara with a follow-up uppercut. Lara replies with a pair of shots to the body, followed by a one-two to the head that prompts Alvarez to slide away and regroup. Lara lands a nice combination along the ropes while cranking up the work rate and appearing to confuse his foe. Another body shot punctuates what's probably been Lara's best round.
Lara comes out jabbing and controls the early stages of the round, then counters an Alvarez body shot with a left. The fight again goes to the ropes, where Lara lands well inside and is able to elude Alvarez's follow-up shots. A jab and a left uppercut score for Lara, while Alvarez appears unhurt, but perhaps initially fatigued. Alvarez's lone clean shot of the round comes, via a right hand, late.
Lara's corner is telling him that Alvarez is winded, but Alvarez emerges from the corner and scores with a right hand that briefly stiffens Lara, his best shot of the night. Alvarez follows with a jab and another straight right, thought Lara replies with his own right. Alvarez has boosted his output dramatically after the lackluster seventh round, and he lands a left-right with 30 seconds to go before slowing down again in the late going.
Lara lands a left hand but takes a hard countering right from Alvarez. His initiates again with a right and a left but is wobbled again by a follow-up uppercut and another right. Alvarez works to the body in close and snaps Lara's head back with an uppercut. Lara moves away, but a long right hand from Alvarez catches his on the ear and prompts him to take a knee to avoid a follow-up. Lara appears clear-headed upon rising, but he instantly holds on and muffles a continued flurry as the round ends.
Lara appears composed following the difficult ninth round and comes out jabbing and standing straight in front of Alvarez, who lands with an uppercut. Lara jabs well and is busier, though he again appears slightly wobbled with Alvarez lands a right hand. They work inside, and Lara is able to connect with a one-two that probably justifies his taking a close round.
Alvarez begins with aggression, perhaps sensing how close the fight appears to be. A Lara jab is answered by a two-punch combination, and Alvarez follows with two more straight right hands, and then an uppercut. Lara is landing some shots in reply, but Alvarez's blows are landing with more authority and prompting more movement from Lara in return.
The round begins and the fighters touch gloves, but they don't look all that cordial in doing so. Lara immediately presses the action and lands with what's been Alvarez's go-to shot all night, the uppercut.
Alvarez follows with a straight right and the two exchange volleys in mid-ring. Alvarez scores with a stiff jab and a hard right to the body, prompting movement from Lara. Alvarez scores with another left hook, and the final bell arrives with the two men grappling along the ropes near a neutral corner.
Both instantly throw their hands up and are gathered into celebratory clinches by their handlers.
It's a tight one, and everyone in the building knows it, so when Jimmy Lennon Jr. bellows the world "split" upon taking the microphone, it's no big stunner. The first judge gives it to Lara by a 115-112 count, while the second has precisely the same score in Alvarez's favor. The final tally of veteran judge Dave Moretti seals the deal, calling a 114-113 margin for Alvarez, who improves to 44-1-1.
Lara, now 19-2-2, dismisses the decision with a cringe and a waved hand, then implies to Showtime's Jim Gray that the fact that Alvarez is aligned with promoter Oscar De La Hoya is what earned him the win. Alvarez shrugs off Lara's complaints and suggests "I want to fight them all" when names like Miguel Cotto and Mayweather are suggested as possible future foils.