Erislandy Lara: The Night I Fought...

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The two-division world champion recalls some of his most memorable nights in the ring as he prepares to defend his world middleweight title against top contender Michael Zerafa Saturday, March 30 in Las Vegas, live on PBC Pay-Per-View available on Prime Video.

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Lara vs Lamanna - Watch Fight Highlights | May 1, 2021

On Saturday, March 30, two-division world champion and Cuban boxing great Erislandy Lara will put his WBA Middleweight World Title on the line against top contender Michael Zerafa as part of a star-studded, four-fight PBC pay-per-view card available on Amazon Prime Video (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT), live from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. 

The glitz, glamor, and the biggest stage that boxing can produce is an environment Lara is accustomed to, having fought Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in Vegas back in 2014, Jarrett Hurd also in Vegas in 2018, and Brian Castano in Brooklyn one year later. Here’s a look at how "The American Dream" recalls those memorable nights. 


When: July 12 , 2014

Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada

Result: Alvarez SD12 Lara

The fight was dubbed “Honor and Glory.” Lara's WBA 154-pound world championship was not at stake as the bout took place at a 155-pound catchweight.

“I didn’t know back then what Canelo was going to become but I did know he was a young fighter who had all the hunger in the world,” said Lara. 

“He was an aggressive fighter, and I was always more of a stylish fighter. So, what we wanted on that night was to make sure that I was able to move around the ring, pick my spots, and know when to attack but, then, also to use his aggressiveness against him.

“For us Cubans, fighting in hostile atmospheres is second nature because we're used to traveling since we're kids. We're used to going places where we do not necessarily have the crowd behind us.

“In the beginning, there were 20,000 Mexicans rooting for Canelo but the fight turned into a Rocky-Drago situation because as it went on those fans were all like ‘Oh, damn, he actually won this fight,’ and they all, kind of, shut up. It was a unique experience when they became quiet, that's for sure.

“I'm still really convinced that he lost that fight to me. And if he didn't know that then he wouldn't be dodging me up until almost a decade later without giving me the chance for a rematch, ever.

“Everything would have been different if the result went my way, as I would have had at least a couple of fights a year, and my fortune would have been that much greater. You can't go back and change it, but my life would have changed with that win.”


When: April 7, 2018: Vs. Jarrett Hurd 

Result: Hurd SD12 Lara

Where: Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

One of the greatest fights of the past decade, Lara-Hurd was a 154-pound unification bout putting Lara's WBA championship at stake alongside Hurd's IBF belt.

“I never expected this to be a Fight of the Year, candidly, like it was, but Jarrett Hurd is certainly a great fighter. I knew he was super big, and super strong. But you know how life is, you know how sports are. I didn't think that he really earned that win,” said Lara.

“In the fight, I was like, ‘Okay, let’s dance. If you want to fight this way, let’s do it’ so we went to war.

“Now, if you ask me if I enjoy those kinds of fights; how am I supposed to? It was f---ing crazy. It was something so real and I think I proved myself and proved my worth out there in the ring. 

“We both proved our mettle in that fight. And I’m thankful I came out of it physically and mentally well, but damn if it wasn’t hard that night


When: March 2, 2019

Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York

Result: 12-round Split Draw

“This is another fight where I felt like I was the winner,” Lara recalled. “This was a good fight and Castano is a good fighter but nobody has ever knocked me out. I can never get cocky by thinking nobody can knock me out, and that it’s impossible. But this is why you train so hard to be able to be your best every time out.

“My jabbing, ring IQ, and distance management are things I’ve always been polishing and improving on every single time I fight. And the Castano fight in particular is where you realize you reach a new level and learn things about yourself. That was really amazing.

“I don’t dread the announcement of results even if these ones didn’t go my way. I can’t let it get in my head, it’s more like, ‘Okay, do your job, do your thing’ and if you do that well, then the judges should give the wins that you deserve.

“Overall, I feel really proud of the work I’ve done throughout my career having fought against all those great fighters, and also I'm proud of the fact that I distinguished myself as a champion at 160 pounds, and also had a distinctive career at 154. Those are things that I'm not taking for granted. 

“I give thanks for that to Luis DeCubas Jr., my manager, because he’s been there for me from the beginning. He has been by my side during the good and the bad times, just going through it all. And we’re still going through it all. The story isn’t over—it continues.

“Right now, I’m training really hard for my fight against Zerafa on March 30. I’m putting in all my effort in the gym, and i'm gonna tell you, it may sound cliche, but this is what I say before all my fights, if a knockout comes—it would be my third in a row—then, it comes. And if it doesn't, it doesn't.

“Then, after Zerafa, bring on Danny Garcia. This was a fight we wanted to make happen plenty of times already, so let’s make it happen.”

For a closer look at Lara vs. Zerafa, check out our fight night page.

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