Right now, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez isn’t looking for a world championship belt. He says he would rather teach Erislandy Lara a lesson than take his title.
The junior middleweights will meet July 12 at the MGM Grand Garden on Showtime Pay Per View. The 12-round, nontitle bout will be fought at a catch weight of 155 pounds.
“I took this fight because the fans wanted it and after I kept reading and hearing interviews with Lara about how badly he wanted this fight,” said the 23-year-old Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 knockouts). “He said some bad things about me on Twitter and social media. But I know all the tricks. You can’t say the kind of things he said, so I’m going to please the fans and myself by fighting him.”
Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs) originally was to defend his World Boxing Association title against Las Vegas’ Ishe Smith last Friday at the Hard Rock Hotel. But he pulled out of the fight two weeks ago when Alvarez agreed to meet him.
“I give Canelo respect for accepting this fight, and even though it took him awhile to step up, we’re going to give the fans a great performance on July 12,” Lara said. “I’m coming to show the world I’m the best fighter at 154 pounds.
“This is the biggest fight of my career, and beating Canelo will get me closer to my ultimate goal, a showdown with Floyd Mayweather.”
Lara, 31, is coming off a 12-round unanimous decision over Austin Trout on Dec. 7. He was the interim WBA titleholder at the time but since has been upgraded to its regular champion.
Mayweather is the WBA’s super junior middleweight champion and welterweight champion after Saturday’s 12-round majority decision over Marcos Maidana. Mayweather also has the World Boxing Council belts at welterweight and junior middleweight.
Alvarez, who was called out by Lara after Alvarez’s 10th-round technical knockout of Alfredo Angulo on March 8, said: “I don’t think he got under my skin. But he likes to talk, and he can say everything he wants to say to me in the ring on July 12.”
Tickets, ranging from $50 to $750, are on sale through Ticketmaster and the MGM Grand box office and at ticketmaster.com and mgmgrand.com.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.