- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book for a desperate boxer looking to land a big fight: Go to the star’s press conference and call him out. Demand that he fight you. Sometimes it even works.
It did for Antonio Tarver years ago when he made a scene at the press conference after Roy Jones Jr. had just beaten John Ruiz to win a heavyweight world title.
In his next fight, Jones returned to light heavyweight and gave Tarver a shot, outpointing him in a championship fight that turned out to be the first bout of their trilogy (which Tarver won 2-1).
The latest to pull the stunt was Houston’s Erislandy Lara, the skillful Cuban defector who crashed Canelo Alvarez’s post-fight news conference following his dominant 10th-round knockout of Alfredo Angulo on Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Lara, a southpaw, has been looking for a major fight. He was upset that even though he survived two knockdowns and stopped Angulo in the 10th round to win a vacant interim junior middleweight title in June that it was Angulo who got the money fight with Alvarez instead of him.
Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs), who, like Alvarez, is promoted by Golden Boy, took to the podium at the press conference and, with Alvarez standing right next to him, said, “Everyone wants to see the fight. When can you and I fight?”
It was only Lara’s latest attempt to lure Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 KOs) into facing him. Calm and cool, the Mexican star didn’t miss a beat.
“Everyone wants to see it? Who wants to see the fight,” Alvarez asked the crowd inside the media center at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
One person raised his hand – Luis DeCubas Jr., Lara’s manager.
“Isn’t that that your manager,” Alvarez asked Lara in a mocking fashion that drew laughter from the crowd. “This is not how you make fights, so you’ll have to wait.”
Alvarez is due back in the ring on July 26, according to the plan Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer laid out a few months ago calling for Alvarez to have three Showtime PPV fights in 2014.
Alvarez does not have an opponent, so Lara conceivably could get his wish, although there will be other candidates for Alvarez to pick from.
Lara, meanwhile, will have other business to attend to first. Schaefer said Lara is likely to defend his belt in Las Vegas on May 2 – on the eve of Floyd Mayweather’s welterweight unification fight with Marcos Maidana – against former titlist Ishe Smith of Las Vegas.
Smith (25-6, 11 KOs), thanks to being promoted by Mayweather, would be getting the interim title bout despite coming off losing his world title to Carlos Molina in September on the Mayweather-Alvarez undercard.