Ronnie Shields: “Erislandy Lara deserves to fight for the universally recognized Junior Middleweight Championship”
On Saturday, June 8th, at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, top rated Junior Middleweight Erislandy Lara became the 154 pound interim WBA title holder when he retired the aggressive minded Alfredo “El Perro” Angulo in the tenth stanza of a scheduled twelve round contest.
After getting off of the canvas twice within the bout, the thirty year old southpaw displayed great physical and mental toughness by fighting through adversity and stopping his granite chinned opponent late in the fight.
The Cuban native’s world renowned trainer, Ronnie Shields, believes his fighter proved a great deal during his entertaining scrap against one of the hardest hitters in the talent enriched Light Middleweight division.
“Erislandy Lara showed the world how badly he wanted to become a champion,” claims the prolific boxing mentor. “After overcoming two knock-downs, regaining control of the bout both times, and finally stopping a relentless fighter like Alfredo Angulo, Lara proved that he deserves the big fights at 154 pounds.”
Although the talented pugilist was floored with perfectly executed left hooks from the Mexican born fighter in the fourth and ninth rounds, Lara repeatedly landed clean, straight left hands and hard right hooks to the face of the unrelenting aggressor throughout the entire fight. The damaging blows eventually forced the brave Mexi-Cali warrior to forfeit during the tenth and final round of action.
Mr. Shields recollects his view from the corner during the fan friendly scrap.
“First of all, try to remember that Erislandy is a boxer who can punch,” states Ronnie Shields. “He’s not the type of fighter who is going to stand toe to toe the entire time against a dangerous puncher like Alfredo. But we knew Erislandy was going to have to hurt him consistently throughout the fight in order to temper his pressure in the mid to late rounds.”
“So the plan was to catch him with straight left hands, left uppercuts, and right hooks as he attempted to close the distance, then either tie him up or step to the side and out of harm’s way while creating distance between the two fighters once again. And that’s what Erislandy did throughout most of the fight. The goal was to keep him at angles, so he couldn’t plant and get off effectively.”
“Obviously my fighter made a couple of mistakes in the fourth and ninth rounds. I wasn’t too worried about the knock-down in the fourth because Erislandy wasn’t hurt. As a result, I think my fighter won the next three or four rounds by effectively implementing the game plan once again.”
“But in the ninth, Erislandy was badly hurt. He pulled back while trying to avoid a shot and was caught at the end of an Angulo left hook. Because Lara was in such superb, physical condition, he was able to not only weather the storm, but take control of the action in the closing seconds of the round.”
When the well conditioned southpaw came back to the corner after the very difficult ninth round, the time tested trainer knew exactly what to tell his fighter.
“I saw that Angulo’s eye was badly swollen, so I told Lara to keep loading up with the left hand and pounding that eye as he attempted to close the distance.”
“So, Erislandy kept hitting Angulo with clean left hands throughout the tenth round until he couldn’t take any more punishment. When we saw Angulo turn away from Lara, we knew the fight was over. And for a warrior like Angulo to turn away and submit like that, the pain had to have been excruciating.”
Mr. Shields believes that Erislandy Lara caused many fight critics to reshape their pre-existing opinions of the talented Cuban southpaw after the impressive performance.
“I think Erislandy proved a lot in how he won the fight. First of all, anyone who believed that Lara didn’t have real power going into last night’s fight discovered that he can punch. Secondly, the critics who stated that Lara wasn’t an entertaining fighter found out that he is more than capable of providing exciting and dramatic action in the ring.”
“Finally, and probably most importantly, anyone who watched the fight learned that Erislandy Lara is one of the best fighters in boxing and deserves to fight for the universally recognized 154 pound championship.”