Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp
SAN ANTONIO — Former titlists Erislandy Lara and Ishe Smith completed their final media workouts yesterday at the Champion Fit Gym. The fighters compete this Friday December 12 live on Showtime Championship Boxing. The Mayweather Promotions triple-header will also feature Badou Jack taking on Francisco Sierra, and Chris Pearson facing Steve Martinez.
People make excuses [for not wanting to fight me]. It has a lot to do with my style. I’m a crafty fighter but I can also punch. I look at it as excuses. Look at my record, look at all the styles I have fought. In 23 fights, there is not one guy in the sport who has fought all the guys that I have fought. I have fought [Carlos] Molina, Paul Williams, Alfredo Angulo, Canelo [Alvarez], [Austin] Trout. That’s six top 10 guys in 23 fights. Not even Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao have fought that type of opposition in 23 fights.
Absolutely, I’m living the American dream. I am living a dream in general. To get good things in life, you have to go through hard times. Just like they say, hard times don’t last, tough people do, so I just keep marching forward.
I have been working on making it absolutely clear there is no question of who won the fight [against Canelo]. As fights go on, you have to keep getting better and keep improving.
You take an experience from every fight. I think there is no question I won over seven rounds of the fight [against Canelo]. If you want to give Canelo some of the rounds I wasn’t punching, that’s no problem, but you are not going to tell me I wasn’t punching and that he beat me in seven of the rounds. That’s crazy.
“I just want to fight the best. I want to fight Floyd Mayweather. I want to fight [Miguel] Cotto. If Canelo dares to do it again, I’ll beat him again. I’m not afraid of fighting anyone. I’ll fight the best. Look at my record, it speaks for itself.
This is a good opportunity being in San Antonio. This is my first time fighting here, but the fight fans are wonderful. I was here for Canelo vs. Trout and it was great. It’s just good to be here in San Antonio. Fighting in the main event, I’ve done it before and I’ve done it on the road. I won a title fighting Cornelius Bundrage in his hometown so its nothing I haven’t experienced before.
Every fighter’s dream is to win a world championship. This is just another opportunity where I can cement my legacy in boxing when I’m gone. Obviously I can’t do this forever. I’m 36 now, it’s getting to that point but I’ve got many years left. I’m just excited to cement my legacy Friday.
Lara had to do what he had to do in terms of making more money to fight Canelo. The opportunity was greater and he was on a bigger stage, so I understand that. Things happen for a reason and now we’re back here.
We’ve prepared for the best possible Erislandy Lara on Friday. Whatever he brings to the table we’re ready for. He may shock everyone and want to stay there and fight. I’ve been hearing reports that he wants to be the first to knock me out so that means he has to fight. I’m excited about that. We’re just prepared for anything he may bring.
Floyd brought me in when he was training for Cotto. He said boxing hadn’t been fair to me and that I deserve a title shot at least. He said, ‘I’m going to get you to the door. It’s up to you what you do when you get there.’ This is just another opportunity. He’s got me back to the door and I’m going to take advantage of it.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself to realize I’m here. Every day I count my blessings and I don’t take it for granted that I’m still here and one of the few guys that made it out.
On Friday, I’m going to win and as Al Davis says: ‘just win baby,’ that’s it. That’s the only thing I’m focused on. After I win I’m going to take a long vacation. These camps take a lot out of my body. I’m not 26, I’m more like 46…All I’m focused on is winning. That’s how I was going into the K9 fight. Everything was against me, we were in his backyard. All I told myself was ‘just win.