Five keys for Canelo Alvarez
Plotting a path to victory in Saturday's showdown with Erislandy Lara
Former junior middleweight titlist Canelo Alvarez will be facing a dangerous challenge in Cuba's Erislandy Lara in a 12-round battle on Saturday (9 p.m. ET, Showtime PPV) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 KOs) has fought southpaw opponents, but none as complicated as Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs), who, along with his technical virtues, has more speed and mobility.
Will Canelo be able to impose his superior punching power and his aggressiveness?
Here are five keys Alvarez should consider before Saturday's fight:
Feel the power
|There's no doubt that Alvarez has an advantage over Lara in one department: power punching. The dynamite he carries in his punches will determine his main strategy: pressure, aggressiveness all the time and combinations up the middle, just as he did against Austin Trout, to avoid quick counters. And when we talk about punching, we talk about the hammer. Alvarez must punish Lara from every angle. He will have more weight and power, so he should take advantage.|
Make the ring smaller
|As a slick boxer, Lara needs to create space with his legs or put some speed on the trajectory of his punches in order to be successful. That's why he had to work so hard against Alfredo Angulo, who stalked him relentlessly and sent him to the mat twice. Alvarez should use the same procedure; he will have to cut off the ring early and accurately in order to punish Lara in the short distance and at the same time neutralize the Cuban fighter's speed.|
|As Lara looks to rely on movement, Alvarez will have to slow him down by punishing the body. That's how Alvarez kept Trout in check, and that's also how he finished Michel Rosales in April 2009. Lara will move a lot, and he will get tired if he feels Alvarez's punches to the body early on.|
|The left hook is one of Canelo's greatest tools. He feints with his right hand and then surprises his opponents with his front hand. Against a left-handed stance and an opponent in perpetual motion, Alvarez will need to look for his opponent's chin with that punch both inside and outside. Canelo sent Luciano Cuello down in the very first round with a jab that he suddenly turned into a long, looping outside hook. This recipe might also be useful against Lara.|
Don't fall asleep
|Most analysts agree that Lara does not have enough power to hurt Alvarez. But beware: a carefully placed counterpunch does not need too much power to finish an opponent. The Cuban fighter always tries, and thanks to his speed, he usually lands it. Canelo must take some precautions against Lara's explosive responses, which have been enough to finish some opponents and put others in trouble.|
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