Canelo vs. Lara: The Showdown That Needs to Happen Now
The 2014 fight schedule is already boiling over with matches promising plenty of excitement, but one fight that has yet to be put together, and that absolutely needs to happen, is Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Erislandy Lara.
Predicting the winner of an upcoming boxing match can be a science of geometry as we triangulate who will emerge victorious by calculating the fighters’ histories against one another. It’s typical to look for common opponents and to compare the difficulty of their competition. Beyond this we bid to quantify intangibles. A savvy boxing fan will tell you that boxing styles make fights, whereas true competitors will tell you the momentum a fighter brings into the ring administers its own influence. Today we apply this paradigm to see which fighter truly has the advantage in a potential match-up between arguably the world’s two best 154 lb. boxers.
Austin Trout: Lara beat Trout in a mostly boring, but dominating performance. Canelo beat Trout, but he had his own share of problems. To some, the decision was controversial. Trout was hurt and floored by both boxers, so those who say Lara doesn’t have the power to compete with Alvarez may be mistaken.
Alfredo Angulo: Lara had the hardest test of his career against Angulo. Coming back from being floored twice, and having to deal with Angulo’s relentless pressure, Lara stopped “El Perro” in a grueling duel that could have really gone either way. Canelo bounced back from his loss to Mayweather by putting on an outstanding show against Angulo. Beating him to the punch and hammering him with huge shots in every round, Alvarez dominated and won via mercy stoppage in round 10.
Insights: It’s interesting that Lara and Canelo had literally opposite experiences in their fights with Trout and Angulo. We already know that Lara is a pure boxer, and that Canelo is a boxer/brawler, but now we know that Lara is a more talented boxer than Trout, while Canelo is a much more potent offensive force than Angulo.
Canelo: Angulo, Mayweather, Trout, Lopez, Mosley, Cintron
Lara: Carlos Molina, Paul Williams, Aldredo Angulo, Austin Trout
Insights: Together, these lists of opponents represent the best boxers in the super-welterweight division for the last several years. Thus, Alvarez vs. Lara is a confrontation between the two men at the top of their division, the best vs. the best.
The old addage is to box a brawler and brawl a boxer. Lara vs Canelo embodies this archetype in a most intriguing way. This would be a clash between one of the strongest fighters for his weight division against one of the slickest and smartest boxers in any weight division. The true question is then a matter of fitness and internal fortitude: who will break down first, and who can push their limits further than ever before?
Lara said Canelo is a force through four rounds, but after that, he tires and loses his edge. Punch numbers in the Canelo vs. Angulo fight back Lara’s claim up, but even so, Alvarez is still dangerous in the later rounds.
Both fighters are coming off impressive victories – Canelo dominated Angulo, and Lara dominated Trout – so they should enter the ring brimming with confidence and momentum, one of the reasons this match is so appealing at this point in time.
Lara will steal rounds from Canelo, and the fight will go back and forth, similar to Alvarez vs. Trout. However, while I do think Lara will be quick and mobile enough to, at times, both elude Saul’s offense and counter with precision, I don’t think he can keep it up through 12 rounds as Floyd did.
Canelo is much stronger, and will likely happily take a shot to give a shot. The second half of Canelo vs. Lara should be a thrilling, fast-paced firefight with the power and strength of Alvarez coming to the fore. In the end, Canelo has slightly more paths to victory, a fact which I have found to be an excellent indicator of who will win a fight. Prediction: Canelo Alvarez by close decision.
– Ryan Franco