Canelo vs Lara: Prediction, head to head

Joseph Herron Updated
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Tonight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, the two best Junior Middleweights in the world, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Erislandy Lara, will finally get it on to determine supremacy within the talent enriched 154 pound weight division. Although Canelo vs Lara is being fought at a conditional catch weight of 155 pounds, the two gifted combatants are universally recognized as the elite of the Super Welterweight class due to a history of outstanding mental and physical durability, offensive and defensive technical prowess, and world class athleticism.

(Images courtesy of Showtime)

The highly anticipated broadcast will be presented by Showtime PPV with a price tag of $50.00 in SD/$60.00 in HD, and a start time of 9PM EST/6PM PST. The televised portion of Canelo vs Lara will consist of two twelve round special attractions and two ten round “Mexico vs. Puerto Rico” grudge matches.

Canelo vs Lara Odds: Alvarez will be the slight betting favorite at (-165) leading into the contest, with Lara almost at even money holding at (+135) as of Saturday morning, July 12th.

Do the Vegas odds makers have this intriguing match-up between the boxer and the puncher analyzed accurately?

What's your prediction for Canelo vs Lara?

Let’s take a look at the “Tale of the Tape”!!

Tale of the Tape
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 KOs) - The former WBA/WBC Junior Middleweight Champion initially captured the imagination of his home country of Mexico by becoming a world champion at the tender age of 20. “Canelo” stands 5’9” tall, possesses a reach of 71 ½” and fights out of an orthodox stance.

Canelo has shown an unusually high level of mental and physical toughness at age 23, and has seemingly become more poised and confident with each ring victory. As a result, he has made believers of many within the boxing community.

The Guadalajara, Jalisco born fighter isn’t your typical face first Mexican brawler. Alvarez likes to fight his opponents at angles and utilizes a great amount of patience with a very impressive punch economy.

He doesn’t waste a lot of energy in the ring and throws very creative combinations to the body and head with speed and power that are extremely difficult to anticipate.

The crafty Mexican fighter mixes up his punches extremely well, which creates a serious problem for his opponents when trying to time and counter the young Mexican effectively. Alvarez uses a good consistent jab and builds his arsenal of punches from it. He possesses great power in both hands and explodes with every shot. Although he has a wide arsenal of punches, Canelo’s primary weapons are his left hook to the body and straight right hand to the jaw.

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What’s so impressive about the former Junior Middleweight Champ is his underrated technical ability and uncanny poise in the ring. Most fighters his age are merely scratching the surface of their professional career, but Canelo has the patience and demeanor of a wily fight veteran.

Because of his age most of his detractors don’t realize how talented this fighter truly is.

His understanding of distance and range is very impressive. The gifted young fighter has the ability to hit his opponents from various ranges while mixing his combinations to the body and head, launching them from different angles.

Saul Alvarez possesses a very good defense as well as having one of the most potent offenses in boxing. He makes up for his lack of mobility in the ring by using good upper body and head movement, which ultimately makes his head a much more elusive target for his opposition.

His only weakness in the ring seems to be his punch output and tendency to tire in the mid to late rounds of a fight. Because Canelo combines speed with power, he sacrifices punch volume and physical endurance in the ring while remaining flat footed throughout the great majority of a twelve round fight.

This could be a crucial factor in his match-up with Erislandy Lara, who excels at both clean, accurate punching, proficient lateral movement, and physical endurance for all twelve rounds.

Canelo’s greatest asset in the ring his confidence and iron will to win. There is a reason why Canelo is one of the biggest stars of the sport, but will it be enough to get past the quiet sharpshooter from Guantanamo, Cuba?

Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs) - The silent assassin from Guantanamo, Cuba, trains out of Houston, Texas, with veteran trainer Ronnie Shields and uses a southpaw stance in the ring. He stands 5’9” tall while fighting behind a 75 inch reach.

Erislandy is one of the more gifted athletes in the sport, with his masterful footwork serving as the foundation of his defense.

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Although the Cuban exile lines up with is shoulder pointed towards his opponents in a defensive posture, Lara will not merely lean away from his opposition while staying in the direct line of fire.

The fleet footed fighter does a very good job of keeping his balance intact while maneuvering in and out of range, always looking to counter subsequent to avoiding a punch. The crafty southpaw looks to catch his opponents lunging in with the left hook or straight right hand, catching them with short, compact straight left hands or check right hooks after they’ve fallen out of position.

Because the current WBA Junior Middleweight title holder throws crisp, accurate counters with speed, he will often be characterized by is opponents as having deceptive power. Lara doesn’t load up on any one punch, which consequently allows him to retain his power throughout an entire twelve round fight.

This variable could be a huge factor in tonight’s bout with Canelo Alvarez who will often reduce his punch output in the mid to late rounds of a prizefight.

Lara is a jabbing southpaw who likes to use a combination of sporadic right hands at multiple ranges. He usually mixes a series of feints, touch jabs, and hard power right hands in irregular intervals to throw off a counter puncher’s timing and rhythm, ultimately setting the table for the hard, straight left hand.

He will often throw the right hand from different angles as well, mixing the right hook, uppercut, and stiff jab from various distances, making it extremely difficult to anticipate and defend against.

The Cubano is very confident and has always shown great poise in the ring, even when faced with adversity. Although Lara is considered to be one of boxing’s elite, he hasn’t enjoyed the same amount of mainstream recognition that Canelo currently relishes. This could be a huge factor in this fight, indirectly causing Erislandy to take unnecessary risks in the ring.

If Lara chooses to exude great patience and poise, he will prove to be a very difficult outing for Canelo Alvarez this evening in Las Vegas. But coming into this fight as the underdog and promotional “B-side”, will Lara elect to fight a disciplined and smart tactical match or will he succumb to the pressure and uncharacteristically take more chances than he has to?

Keys to Victory
Saul “Canelo” Alvarez – For Canelo to be successful against one of the best defensive fighters in the Junior Middleweight division, he must not allow Lara to dictate the pace of the fight. He has to mix strategies throughout the course of the entire bout and continuously keep Erislandy guessing.

Alvarez must occasionally cut off the ring while being the aggressor in spots, and also stay in the center of the ring at times while frustrating Lara with good upper body and head movement in a passive-aggressive manner as well.

He must utilize the jab while setting up the left hook to the body and straight right hand to the jaw. If he’s not successful landing the jab to start the contest, he must not abandon it and keep Erislandy’s mind occupied with the hard left hand to the body and head.


Because Canelo usually depends on being flat footed to explode with his offense, expect Lara to use the ring quite often and keep Canelo moving. Saul must not get frustrated and try to punch through the target every time he decides to let his hands go throughout this bout.

He must exercise a great deal of patience and self-control, just as he did against Austin Trout on April 20th, 2013. When fighting a very smart pugilist like Erislandy Lara, Canelo has to be creative with his punch selection and throw his shots in sporadic intervals, making his offense difficult to anticipate.

If he picks and chooses his shots wisely while not wasting energy merely chasing Erislandy Lara around the ring, he could make the fight close enough to win a unanimous or split decision, due to having the edge in power. Because the Cuban exile has tremendous balance and defensive guile, he must try to punch at the target while mixing his wide assortment of punches from various angles, and not attempt to load up on everything he throws.

Erislandy Lara - For the crafty Cuban southpaw to be successful against a young, strong, confident fighter like Canelo Alvarez, Erislandy absolutely must stay poised and fight his fight.


He has to dictate the pace of the contest by keeping Canelo at a safe distance, using good footwork while fighting him at angles from long range. He must win the war of the jab by mixing feints, touch jabs, and forceful jabs in sporadic intervals.

Should Canelo stay in the center of the ring to begin the contest, Lara must turn this bout into an amateur contest…merely winning the early rounds on activity and clean, effective punching. He must be careful not to give the explosive counterpuncher a big sample to work with, and must throw one punch at a time while anticipating the counter left hook or straight right hand every time he throws a jab or stiff left.

If Canelo starts the contest aggressively, Erislandy must do everything he can do discourage his efforts by using the entire ring effectively while setting traps for the young fighter to walk into. Because Alvarez isn’t very proficient at cutting off the ring, his aggression shouldn’t be a big problem for a crafty fight veteran who is proficient at using his footwork as the foundation of his defense.

If Erislandy Lara fights a very disciplined fight and doesn’t get too anxious in the ring, letting his hands go at an unusually high work rate, the Cuban exile could be able to pull off the upset and become the toast of the talented Junior Middleweight division.

Canelo vs Lara Prediction
Although Canelo vs. Lara is a very intriguing and important match-up, it’s not the most aesthetic on paper. Expect to see many lulls in action with both counterpunchers waiting for their opponent to make a mistake by falling out of position after missing a punch. Because of the limited punch output of both fighters, look for the seemingly harder and more consequential puncher to grab the majority of the close rounds…ultimately giving him a very controversial, split or majority decision.

Canelo Alvarez SD12 over Erislandy Lara


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