Boxing

Canelo vs. Lara: Expert Picks for Main Event

Jonathan SnowdenCombat Sports Senior WriterJuly 10, 2014

Canelo vs. Lara: Expert Picks for Main Event

1 of 6

    Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

    The stakes are high for Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions on Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. 

    For the fighter, the reason is simple enough—his opponent Erislandy Lara is a crafty southpaw who may just be the best fighter at 154 pounds not named Floyd Mayweather. The two will attempt to bludgeon each other silly in front of millions. Those stakes speak for themselves.

    For the promoter, things are a little more complex. The great Golden Boy divorce is now over—Richard Schaefer has left the fold, along with superstar Floyd Mayweather. The "Golden Boy" himself, Oscar De La Hoya, is left diminished but truly in charge of his own destiny for the first time in years.

    While Schaefer and De La Hoya have gone their separate ways and the petty sniping has ceased, the repercussions will be felt for years. When the smoke clears on the battlefield, it's likely that boxing's longstanding battle between Golden Boy and Bob Arum's Top Rank will be a war that suddenly has three fronts—no one thinks Schaefer and Mayweather adviser Al Haymon are done playing boxing's version of Game of Thrones

    That makes Canelo's continued success paramount for De La Hoya and Golden Boy. He's the remaining king on their chess board and the only fighter under their banner capable right now of headlining a pay-per-view.

    Failure against Mayweather was one thing. Failure against the tough but unknown Lara would be something else entirely. 

    As funny as this is to say about a fighter with 45 professional contests and a bout with Mayweather under his belt, this may be the most important fight of Canelo's young career. A win establishes him more firmly as a pay-per-view attraction in his own right. A loss may send him scurrying back to Showtime. 

    Can Canelo get the job done? Or will Lara frustrate him as he has everyone else? Our boxing experts discuss.

    Disagree with our analysis? Let us hear it in the comments.

Lyle Fitzsimmons

2 of 6

    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Who Wins the Fight? When and How?

    I know a lot of people think Lara is too technically skilled for Canelo, and they have a point. But he's not on Mayweather's level and he's got a history—see: Alfredo Anguloof being worn down by slower tough guys. I think Canelo loses a bunch of early rounds but gradually swings things his way, enough for either a late stoppageor, more likely, a narrow decision win.

     

    Will It Be a Box-Office Hit?

    "Hit" is a relative term. It won't approach the numbers from last September's PPV spectacular, but I think it'll be somewhere in the 350,000-450,000 range when it comes to buys. I would have rather seen it as a feature on regular Showtime, but you can't blame the network for trying to see exactly how much mileage it can get out of the kid when he's in with someone not named Floyd.

     

    The Moment We'll Remember Most Is...

    Seeing the relieved look on Oscar De La Hoya's face when Alvarez's hand is raised as the winner. A clear loss for his promotional crown jewel would be a staggering blow for Golden Boy.

     

    Whom Will Canelo Fight Next? When and Where?

    Armed with a win over the best full-time junior middleweight, he'll be primed and ready to head up for a shot at reigning middleweight champion Miguel Cotto, which he'll get next spring at Madison Square Garden.

    Whom Will Lara Fight Next? When and Where?

    Unless he's beaten via 10-count, expect Lara to remain steadfast in his belief that he's still the best at 154 pounds. Toward that end, he'll wind up opposite one of the lesser-known championsCarlos Molina or Demetrius Andradelater this year at StubHub Center in California.

Kevin McRae

3 of 6

    Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

    Who Wins the Fight? When and How?

    Canelo will win this fight via narrow split decision by scores of 115-112, 114-113 and 113-114. If this fight had taken place prior to the cinnamon-haired Mexican facing cagey boxers Austin Trout and Floyd Mayweather, it would be easy to believe that Lara would simply outbox him. But now with that experience behind him, Canelo is a much more well-rounded fighter, and his aggression will be enough to pull him through in the closing rounds of an extremely tight contest.

     

    Will It Be a Box-Office Hit? 

    That's the big question. 

    Canelo's last fight—his first pay-per-view performance as the draw—did solid numbers. He remains the most popular Mexican fighter in the sport despite his loss to Mayweather, and he should be able to once again convince a good number of fans to shell out the 60 bucks necessary to see him fight in high definition.

    If Canelo vs. Angulo did 350,000 buys on PPV, expect his contest with Lara to come in closer to the 450,000 range.

     

    The Moment We'll Remember Most Is... 

    Lara is a difficult, but not impossible, foe to hit. Canelo will catch him with something in the early going that will send him to the canvas and make up the margin of victory on the scorecards. 

     

    Whom Will Canelo Fight Next? When and Where?

    Canelo is building his reputation on refusing to duck top fighters, telling Bleacher Report, "My goal is to give the fans what they want to see, and that’s the best fights. The best fighting the best. And that’s my philosophy. That’s what I want to do."

    Provided that the Golden Boy-Top Rank rivalry is truly over, Canelo will face Miguel Cotto in May of next year in what could end up being the biggest fight on the 2015 calendar. It would seem that Las Vegas and the MGM Grand are logical destinations, but Cotto's drawing power at Madison Square Garden will keep New York City in contention as well.

     

    Whom Will Lara Fight Next? When and Where?

    Lara's 154-pound belt is not on the line in this contest, and he will be able to shed the one additional pound and get back to defending it later this year.  

    Still, even with the belt, he will struggle to find quality opponents who are willing to take the risk. That's why he'll face Joshua Clottey—yes, that Joshua Clottey—at the Barclays Center in December.

Kelsey McCarson

4 of 6

    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Who Wins the Fight? When and How?

    I like Lara by majority decision. Lara will confuse Alvarez with well-timed counters and good footwork. Alvarez will press forward and throw punches in bunches, but it won't be enough to get past the sharpshooting Lara. 

     

    Will It Be a Box-Office Hit?

    No. Boxing fans have shown an aversion to paying for pay-per-views as of late, and while Alvarez is a budding star, the mainstream boxing fan who only buys the biggest fights won't know enough about Lara to take the plunge. 

     

    The Moment We'll Remember Most Is...

    Lara will rock Alvarez early with a hard left hand that will show his power. Alvarez might not go down, but his knees will buckle. 

     

    Whom Will Canelo Fight Next? When and Where?

    Alvarez will move up to middleweight to face Miguel Cotto. This will happen for three reasons. First, Cotto wants the big payday. Second, Alvarez probably can't make 154 too much longer. Third, promoters won't care Alvarez is coming off a loss. The bout will take place in December at MSG in New York. 

     

    Whom Will Lara Fight Next? When and Where?

    Lara will show up at Mayweather's post-fight presser to try and goad him into a bout, but it won't work. Mayweather is too smart to take on crafty southpaws at junior middleweight. Instead, Lara will settle for a bout against fellow titleholder Demetrius Andrade. The bout will take place in November at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. 

Briggs Seekins

5 of 6

    Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

    Who Wins the Fight? When and How?

    Canelo Alvarez has looked better in every fight. So nobody should be shocked if he comes in here and turns in the best victory of his career. He has natural talent and puts in his time in the gym. 

    Still, he had a lot of trouble with Floyd Mayweather's movement and, to a lesser extent, with Austin Trout's. Erislandy Lara has outstanding movement, and I think that will be the difference in this fight. Lara will control the range and earn a unanimous decision. But it's going to be an exciting, competitive fight. I think Alvarez will score a knockdown to make the fight closer on the cards. 

     

    Will It Be a Box-Office Hit? 

    It definitely should be. Canelo is one of the sport's most popular stars, and Lara is an elite talent. These are the two top guys at 154, minus Mayweather. It's the kind of fight the sport needs to see on a regular basis, and it should do a respectable number of buys. 

     

    The Moment We'll Remember Most Is...

    Trailing on the cards in the second half of the fight, Canelo will look to press the action and will score a knockdown sometime in Rounds 7-9. The Las Vegas crowd will erupt, but Lara will survive the round and retake control of the fight to secure the decision. 

     

    Whom Will Canelo Fight Next? When and Where?

    Win or lose on Saturday, Canelo vs. Miguel Cotto is the fight that really makes sense. I really believe Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya will make that fight for Cinco De Mayo weekend, challenging Floyd Mayweather head-to-head if necessary. If I were promoting that fight, I'd do everything possible to hold it in Yankee Stadium. But Madison Square Garden is probably more likely.

     

    Whom Will Lara Fight Next? When and Where?

    I think Lara jumps up to middleweight and fights Peter Quillin in his next fight, win or lose against Canelo. That fight would almost certainly happen at Barclays in Brooklyn, New York.

Jonathan Snowden

6 of 6

    USA TODAY Sports

    Who Wins the Fight? When and How?

    Although the result is the worst possible one for promoters (and we all know how promoters tend to get their way when fights go to the judges), this time I don't think there will be any denying Lara. He was cheated against Paul Williams. This time, he'll be so dominant no one will have a choice but to award him a victory. Lara by decision.

     

    Will It Be a Box-Office Hit?

    As Bleacher Reports' Lyle Fitzsimmons rightly points out, Canelo is proven at the box office, if not in the ring. Fans will buy this show. They won't come out in Mayweather numbers—but I expect in the realm of 300,000 buyers on pay-per-view. That's enough to keep the good ship Canelo steaming forward for the time being.

     

    The Moment We'll Remember Most Is...

    The muffled chuckles from press row when Lara challenges Floyd Mayweather after the bout. It's a fight that makes sense from a sporting perspective. But since when has that mattered one bit in boxing?

     

    Whom Will Canelo Fight Next? When and Where?

    Considering both will likely be coming off losses, how about Marcos Maidana at Canelo's new home inside the MGM? The original plan called for Canelo to fight again in November. But considering Maidana's September date with Mayweather, perhaps December is more reasonable?

     

    Whom Will Lara Fight Next? When and Where?

    I suspect there will be few top 154-pounders answering Lara's calls if he beats Canelo. In that case, it's time to start eating some carbs and challenging the middleweights. Peter Quillin comes to mind. Let's say November in Brooklyn.

Where can I comment?

Stay on your game

Latest news, insights, and forecasts on your teams across leagues.

Choose Teams
Get it on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Real-time news for your teams right on your mobile device.

Download
Copyright © 2017 Bleacher Report, Inc. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved. BleacherReport.com is part of Bleacher Report – Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network. Certain photos copyright © 2017 Getty Images. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Getty Images is strictly prohibited. AdChoices