By Jake Donovan
At no point during did Erislandy Lara consider bailing on Saturday’s bout with Ramon Alvarez, who badly missed weight at Friday’s weigh-in after struggling all week to get even close to the 154-pound limit.
Saturday’s brief affair lasted long enough, however, to make him wonder why he bothered going through with the contracted limit himself.
“There were a couple of times, I felt his extra weight he was carrying,” Lara (26-3-3, 15KOs) told BoxingScene.com of the size of Alvarez, whom he stopped in two rounds atop a Fox-televised tripleheader Saturday evening in Minneapolis, Minn.
Alvarez (28-8-3, 16KOs) weighed 158.6 at Friday’s weigh-in, having to dehydrate and spare himself food for two days just to get to that point. The older brother of World middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez—whom bested Lara by split decision in July 2014—replenished all the way to 177 pounds by fight night, enjoying an advantage of eight pounds worth of extra ring weight on Saturday.
“I guess you can argue if I should’ve bothered not cutting weight myself,” Lara wondered aloud, himself weighing 169 pounds—gaining more than 15 pounds since Friday afternoon—shortly prior to opening bell. “But I really wanted to regain the (super welterweight) title, so I did my job.
“But I definitely felt those four extra pounds he was carrying.”
Lara remained professional both at the scale and in the ring. A disciplined performance by the 36-year old southpaw erupted into his quickest finish in nearly eight years as he dropped Alvarez midway through round two before stopping him later in the same frame.
The result proved worth the physical risk, picking up his first win in nearly two years and his first stoppage in more than 30 months. With the win came a return to the title stage, reclaiming a version of the title he lost to then-unbeaten Jarrett Hurd in their fantastic 12-round title unification clash last April. Lara hopes to parlay his reclaimed strap into one more run toward the top of the division—or perhaps conquering new ground, whether moving up or down in weight.
All he asks for is fair play at the scale.
“I really want the big fights, with Canelo Alvarez or with (unbeaten welterweight titlist) Errol Spence,” Lara claims. “I feel like I’m the best super welterweight in the world and those guys are the best (at middleweight and welterweight, respectively). So let’s see what happens. Hopefully our managers do their jobs and get us in the ring.
“Whether those two or any other, I’m open to any big fight at 154 or 160 pounds. For the right opportunity I’ll consider even moving down, although I prefer for (the top welterweights) to move up and face me (at 154).”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox