MEXICAN star, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez didn’t need to take the fight with talented Cuban Erislandy Lara. But, with no title at stake, the two will meet on Saturday July 12 in Las Vegas. Lara insists his public challenge to “Canelo” needled the Mexican’s pride and goaded him into accepting this challenging assignment.

“”He took this fight because he didn’t want to look like a coward to his fans. He knows the fans would have belittled him if he didn’t take the fight. I give him a lot of credit because he’s willing to fight the best opponents out there. That shows he has a lot of heart but it won’t help him in this fight,” Lara told Boxing News.

“This is a very important fight because I’m on a global stage to showcase my talents to the world and prove I’m one of the best fighters out there. The fact that Canelo didn’t want to fight for the title is very disrespectful. He has a problem making weight so he had no choice.”

Cuba is known for having some of the finest boxing talents in the world but the fighters who have defected to America and the professional ranks have struggled with different aspects of the sport. Yuriorkis Gamboa, who looked phenomenal early on in his career, was hammered recently by Terence Crawford. Guillermo Rigondeaux has looked imperious in the ring and he is recognized as the best super-bantamweight in the world. But deemed a poor draw in the USA, his next fight takes place in Macau later this month.

“You have to prove you’re worthy to get their respect,” Lara reflected. “I believe I’m getting their respect with each fight.”

It may not be for a title but the July 12 clash in Las Vegas, for both Alvarez and Lara, is all about respect.

 For the Alvarez-Lara preview and an exclusive interview with “Canelo” don’t miss this week’s issue of Boxing News

Photo: Showtime