When Saul “Canelo” Alvarez squares off against Erislandy Lara on Saturday, July 12, at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, the focus will be on which of these fighters takes the next step toward greatness.
Alvarez may have lost to undefeated legend Floyd Mayweather at the end of 2013, but he bounced back against Alfredo Angulo in his last fight and won via TKO in the 10th round to regain his momentum.
Lara is coming off back-to-back wins, and his performances against Angulo and Austin Trout have earned him the chance to square off against one of the most recognizable faces in the sport right now.
Here are the latest betting odds for Saturday’s blockbuster fight and a full prediction.
Breaking Down Alvarez vs. Lara
There are several marquee fights taking place this summer, but few have the long-term ramifications that the battle between Alvarez and Lara will have on the sport.
While both men come from different background and experiences, both are looking for the career-defending win. Lara may have the most to gain in this fight, but Alvarez has the most to lose and that can create desperation.
A desperate Canelo is a dangerous one.
Alvarez may have lost to Mayweather in the biggest fight of his life, but the mixed-decision result indicated that the 23-year-old fighter has the mental and physical ability to stand toe-to-toe with the best in the world.
The matchmakers already have several marquee bouts in mind for the Mexican star, but he has not looked past Lara and is taking him as serious as he did Mayweather. That’s bad news for the Cuban fighter.
I don't care about other fights right now, but I want to do this for 10 more years or so. I like the whole process of it, the training, the dedication. I have a great example (De La Hoya) to follow, a great fighter who became a great businessman. It's easy because I know what I want. I know where I'm going.
Lara won’t be an easy challenger and Alvarez knows that. While Canelo got a ton of credit for winning via TKO against Angulo, Lara won in the exact same fashion and looked just as impressive doing so.
Who ya got?
With neither man ever suffering a loss via anything other than a mixed decision, each fighter should expect a long fight that goes the distance. It will be hard for judges to score against Canelo, but they will have no choice if Lara finds his rhythm and distance.
If Alvarez utilizes his power and his maneuverability early and often against Lara, this should be a fairly simple win for the Mexican star and the first step toward another possible fight with Mayweather down the line.
Predicted Winner: Alvarez via Unanimous Decision
*Stats via BoxRec.com.