Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Erislandy Lara both weighed in at the contracted limit of 155 pounds Friday for their junior-middleweight pay-per-view Saturday night fight at MGM Grand.
Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 knockouts) is expected to pack on as many as 20 pounds before reporting back to the arena Saturday.
“I don’t know how much, but I’ll get to where I’m comfortable,” Alvarez said.
While respecting Lara’s slickness and admitting he’ll need to improve his speed after a disappointing loss last year against Floyd Mayweather Jr., Alvarez also said Friday he intends to pressure Lara, forcing him to the ropes and pounding him with heavy punches.
“Push him, of course,” Alvarez said.
Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs) helped gain a shot against "Canelo" by calling him out on stage in March following Alvarez’s 10th-round technical knockout of Alfredo Angulo, whom Lara beat by 10th-round TKO in 2013 after Angulo knocked the Cuban down twice.
Angulo attended the weigh-in, and although the MGM Resorts sports book lists Alvarez at just better than a 2-1 favorite, Angulo said, “It’s a 50/50 fight.”
“Lara has good defense and he’s been through that Cuban school of boxing,” Angulo told The Times. “He’s very good. Obviously, if he fought 'Canelo' the way I did, going straight at him, he wouldn’t win, but he could win by using the same strategy he had in beating me.”
Showtime Vice President Stephen Espinoza spoke to both fighters after the weigh-in and said Alvarez was “unflappable and calm ... you always feel his pulse is at 60. Lara was intense and relaxed. Both guys seem 110% confident they’re going to win.”
The greatest pressure falls on Alvarez, who opted to test himself with a tricky, educated fighter and push Espinoza to make the bout a pay-per-view relying almost completely on his own brand to generate extra revenue rather than embrace a fixed purse.
“The event is squarely on him and I’ve never seen him break a sweat as a result of it,” Espinoza said. “He’s taken the bull by the horns with his career.”
The Alvarez-Angulo fight generated more than 300,000 pay-per-view buys.
“This one, in the middle of summer with the Spanish-speaking media devoting most of its resources to the World Cup ... if he maintains those buys in this one, that’s a huge achievement,” Espinoza said.