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Erislandy Lara ready for Yuri Foreman fight

By Eric Baldwin: WBA Super World junior middleweight champion Erislandy “American Dream” Lara (23-2-2, 13 KOs) can’t wait to share the ring with #9 WBA Yuri Foreman (34-2, 10 KOs) this Friday night on January 13 on Premier Boxing Champions on Spike at the Hialeah Park, in Hialeah, Florida.

Lara has been training weeks for this fight, and he’s really looking forward to facing the 36-year-old Foreman, who he has a lot of respect for as a former world champion. Foreman was a world champion in 2010. He lost his title to Miguel Cotto in getting beaten by a 9th round TKO.

(Photo credit: Eduardo Maldonado/Warriors Boxing)

Foreman lost the fight more because of a knee injury that he’d been dealing with for quite some time. Cotto was able to put enough pressure on Foreman to take advantage of his knee. When Foreman came back from the fight, he clearly wasn’t ready and he lost his next fight to Pawel Wolak. A 100 percent healthy Yuri Foreman would have been a lot of problems for Wolak in their fight in 2011, but not the version of Foreman that fought him on that night. Foreman lost the fight by a 6th round stoppage.

“Yuri Foreman is a great fighter and a very smart fighter,” said Lara. “I am also a very smart fighter, so Friday night we’re going to find out who is the smarter one in the ring…I feel great. I’m in great shape and feel very strong. I’m ready to fight right now. I just want the bell to ring.”

Foreman is a smart fighter, but he’s not yet proven himself to be a great one. He’s still coming back from a year-year layoff that he had from 2013 to 2015. Foreman fought once in 2015 and 2016. His activity level has not been optimal in the last four years. There may be some ring rust there for Foreman, as well as age. He’s 36, and that’s an age where most fighters are no longer in the sport unless they’re very good ones.

Lara is said to be moving up to middleweight in the near future. He could be fighting a unification match against WBC champion Jermell Charlo. We’ll need to see about that. Even if Lara chooses not to fight a unification fight, he needs to make the most of his title as the WBA champion. He’s not taken advantage of his championship status by facing the better fighters in the division.

Lara isn’t the one that makes his fights. He’s got a manager who does that for him. His management hasn’t put him in with the lions in the division yet, and it doesn’t look like he’s going to. Whether the lack of quality opposition hurts Lara’s sharpness will be determined when he eventually moves up to middleweight and finds himself in the ring with the likes of Gennady Golovkin.

“Erislandy Lara is a great fighter, but me being from the Soviet Union, I’m very familiar with Cuban boxing and have quite a bit of experience with their style, so I’m looking forward to stepping in and showcasing my talents and skills,” said Foreman.

Former WBC super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell (29-1-1, 23 KOs) takes a stay busy fight against Hungarian fighter Norbert Nemesapati (24-4, 17 KOs) in a scheduled 10 round fight. Dirrell is rated #2 WBC, and is looking for a title shot against Badou Jack, who beat him by a 12 round majority decision to years ago to take his WBC title in April 2015. Dirrell has since won his last two fights against Marco Antonio Rubio and Caleb Truax.

The 32-year-old Dirrell fought only once in 2016. He needs to be more active in 2017, because it’s not helping his career by him fighting so seldom. That’s the same problem Dirrell’s brother Andre Dirrell has had with him fighting only rare occasions since 2011.

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