With four title fights on the card, the Saturday slate at Barclays is the most packed fight yet at the arena, which offered boxing for the first time on Oct. 20, 2012. The vacant WBA junior middleweight faceoff between Erislandy Lara, a Cuban fighting out of Texas, and New Mexico's Austin Trout, features some pretty high stakes, according to Lara's trainer, Ronnie Shields, apart from that crown.
With Floyd Mayweather signaling that he'll be campaigning at 147 pounds, the 154 pound hood is ripe for a takeover. The winner of this Lara-Trout bout, Shields told me, is in the mix big-time to get a scrap with Canelo Alvarez, the Mexican phenom who impressed fight folk with the intensity of devotion his fans showed in his last two bouts, a win over Trout and a loss to Mayweather. "Both guys have to make a statement," Shields told me at a fighter workout for press held at Gleason's in DUMBO on Tuesday afternoon. "With Floyd going to welter, someone has to step up and face Canelo. A win might force that."
No surprise, Shields likes his guys' chances to get his hand raised. "Lara told me he wants to punish Trout," he said. "These guys don't like each other. Lara wants to knock him out, and nobody's ever done it." Shields said he'd like Lara to take away Trout's jab, and be busier than him.
"It'll be a good fight, a technical fight, but Lara will show some different things than we've seen before," he said. "He's a little more angry. They both hate each other."
Shields, who has worked with Pernell Whitaker and Evander Holyfield, said he doesn't worry that his guy loses composure in trying to remove Trout's head from his shoulders. With the immense experience gained fighting in the highly structured and competitive Cuban amateur system, he said, there's little to no danger Lara leaves himself open for a vicious counter because he gets overanxious in his quest for a conclusive stoppage in his favor.
Lara enters at 18-1-2 with 12 KOs. He hit the deck twice in his last outing, a TKO10 win over Alfredo Angulo on June 8. Trout enters at 26-1 (14 KOs).
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