Ronnie Shields: ‘Erislandy Lara wants to face the best fighters out there’

WBA junior middleweight titlist Erislandy Lara (right) vs. Yuri Foreman. Photo credit: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions

WBA junior middleweight titlist Erislandy Lara (right) vs. Yuri Foreman. Photo credit: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions


On October 14, WBA junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara, 24-2-2 (14), will headline a card against 2012 U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha, 20-0 (9), at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.


In the co-main event, WBC champion Jermell Charlo faces Erickson “The Hammer” Lubin. In addition, IBF champion Jarrett Hurd will defend against former titleholder Austin Trout.


Lara will come into the ring with an impressive resume that has seen him make five defenses of the WBA 154-pound strap he won, as an interim distinction, in 2013, when he stopped Alfredo Angulo in 10 rounds. Lara boasts impressive defenses against Jan Zaveck, Delvin Rodriguez, Vanes Martirosyan, Yuri Foreman and Ishe Smith.


There are some impressive names in the junior middleweight division and Lara is looking to face the very best of the crop.


The combined records of the three feature beltholders on the upcoming Premier Boxing Champions show boast a combined recorded of 141-5-2. But Lara might just be the elite fighter of the class and he plans on proving it on the 14th.


The obvious blockbuster fight for Lara would be against Miguel Cotto, who picked up the WBO strap in Carson, California, on August 26 against Yoshihiro Kamegai. Lara would love a shot at the Puerto Rican star, who has announced that the December 2 bout, a defense against Brooklyn’s Sadam Ali, will be his final fight in a career that has spanned over 16 years.


However, Lara would be a tough outing for the battle-worn Cotto, who might have been looking for an easier style (see: avoiding the vastly talented Lara) in his final foray.


UCNLive caught up with Lara trainer Ronnie Shields to get his thoughts on the upcoming fight and where he sees the 34-year-old champion at this stage of his career.


“Listen, Lara is plain and simply one the very best, most talented fighters in boxing today,” said the Houston, Texas-based Shields.


As far as what type of fighter Lara will be facing in Terrell Gausha, Shields know they are facing a very good, undefeated and motivated fighter.


“While I wouldn’t describe Gausha as a big puncher, he is a strong junior middleweight, in that he fought in the Olympics at 165 pounds and has come down to 154 in the pros,” said Shields. “Sometimes he boxes from the outside and sometimes he likes to apply pressure but Lara will be ready for anything. He’s the best fighter in the world at this weight and one of the best fighters in boxing.”


While Lara has earned the respect of the boxing world, and fans alike, what has eluded him is that marquee fight that he and Shields would like to secure for the Guantanamo, Cuba-born southpaw.


“Of course there are some big names out there that we would love to fight,” said Shields. “We asked for two years for (unified middleweight champion Gennady) ‘GGG’ (Golovkin) but they don’t want any part of us. We told them we would go up to 160 pounds but they haven’t responded. Same with Cotto; that guy wouldn’t touch us with a 10-foot pole. The last press conference we had for this show, every guy on the stage said that they wanted to unify the titles, so, let’s see what happens. We are more than ready to unify and fight the very best at 154 pounds. If a guy is a fighter and calls himself a world champion, he should want to fight the very best in the world. That is what Lara wants; to face the best fighters out there.”




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