Cuban Erislandy Lara known in the boxing world as ‘The American Dream’ assured in an interview that he is in “perfect” condition to revalidate the title of world super welterweight champion in a fight to be held this Saturday in Los Angeles.
A native of the eastern province of Guantánamo, the Cuban living in the US for several years will face the American Greg Vendetti, a rival that Lara says she did not analyze before the fight: “I don’t study the rivals, I don’t look at how they fight. ; When we are in the ring I draw all my conclusions “.
The final will be held without an audience, due to the coronavirus pandemic, a measure that Lara considers will not affect her because she will take the fight “as if it were one more training.”
Why does a Cuban call himself “The American Dream”?
“It is a name for all Latinos and immigrants who come to this country to fight for a better life, for their family and for themselves. My manager and I chose this name because that’s what I came here: I came to this country with nothing, to fight, to make myself known in boxing and in my career. The United States represents a lot to me, it has given me everything. Opportunities to continue in my career, a better life and a better education. “
How did you get to the country, did you desert?
“Honestly, in 2007 in my first attempt in Rio de Janeiro I was given the opportunity and I left, I decided to defect, but things went wrong and I had to return to Cuba.” On that occasion Lara left the Cuban delegation along with the double world monarch, Guillermo Rigondeaux.
“In the second opportunity, everything was better,” says the boxer who left the island on a speedboat to Mexico and then signed a contract with a company in Germany, before arriving in the US.
“It was very hard to leave my mother, two children, sister, family, friends from the neighborhood … But they understood that it was for me to give a better life to my children and my mother; and then I have already been able to return to be with them and they are very proud of what I did. “
How are you for the fight against Vendetti, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic?
“The preparation has gone perfectly well, everything has gone great in the training camp. I am perfect to win the title. Despite this virus in the environment, we have taken this fight just as seriously. There were more restrictions in the game. gym, we have been more careful, both myself and the coaches, and we have not allowed more people to come to training. ”
“On a mental level nothing has affected me. I am going to fight on Saturday as if he were an esparrin in a training field, without an audience. We are going to face it that way, it will be similar to training.”
What are your opponent’s weaknesses?
“If I tell you the truth, I always answer the same thing when they ask me this question: I don’t study the rivals, I don’t look at how they fight. Only on the day of the fight, in the first round when we are already in the ring, I I draw all my conclusions and I already know how I have to fight, what I do know is that the boy is younger, he has his talent and he is going to come for everyone.
At 37 years old, the Cuban left-hander is clear about his plans for the future
“Until I see that things get complicated for me in the ring, I will continue fighting. But I have been taking punches since I was 12 years old, and I cannot be like that all my life either. First you have to arrive and then stay. I think it is more difficult stay because there are many very good fighters who want to be in your same place. I have always worked very hard to be among the first. “
“Now and as always, physical preparation and nutrition are vital, along with my coach Jackson. I have been in the same division for almost 18 years, from Cuba, and I have never had problems in that regard. I do not feel 37 years old. In fact, in these training sessions I have felt much better than for example six years ago. I am mentally super good, thank God, and in tremendous health “.
In Erislandy Lara’s career there have been several controversial moments due to the decisions of the referees in their fights. Considered by many to be one of his most notorious fights was the one that faced former American world champion Paul Williams, in Atlantic City, where despite winning clearly, his opponent was awarded a majority victory.
Judges Don Givens and Hilton Whitaker favored the American, while Al Bennett tied. The indisputable superiority of Lara and the scandal after the result, forced a review of the fight and the suspension of the three judges, although the ruling remained unchanged and marked a setback for the Cuban’s career.
The controversy in the Cuban’s career returned on July 12, 2014 when in a fight against Mexican Saul Alvarez “El Canelo”, many of those attending the MGM Grand Garden Arena saw him win according to round victories, but nevertheless the fight With no title at stake at an agreed weight of 155 pounds, it was taken by the Mexican who won the scorecards by split decision of the judges.