KNOWLEDGEABLE and respected trainer Ronnie Shields worked the corner of Erislandy Lara on Saturday night, as the Cuban boxed Saul Alvarez. Fans and experts are still arguing over who deserved the decision that ultimately went Canelo’s way in Vegas.
Here, in a candid interview with Boxing News, Shields gives his take on the big fight. Ronnie also gives his opinion on what may be next for both fighters.
Q: It was a good fight and everybody enjoyed it, but the scoring is still being debated. First of all, how did you have it?
Ronnie Shields: “I had it eight rounds to four for Lara. It was pretty obvious that Canelo couldn’t hit him. The stats say Canelo hit Lara with 73 body shots and I’m still trying to see where he landed that many body shots. I didn’t see that at all. The idea is to hit and not get hit, and that’s what we did. You saw Lara make Canelo look bad, he had him swinging for the fences, so how can you lose a fight when you don’t get hit? The thing is, reactions don’t lie, and if you go back and watch the end of the fight, look at the two corners, you see that they didn’t get excited or jump around or anything, whereas we did. They only got excited when they got the decision.”
Q: When you were in the ring waiting for the decision, did you think you were going to get it or did you think you’d maybe get robbed?
R.S: “Getting robbed is always in the back of your mind, but you have to give the judges the benefit of the doubt and hope they do the right thing. When they announced the first score, for us, I thought, ‘okay.’ Then they announced the second card for Alvarez and then, when they announced the third card, at 117-111, I thought, ‘finally, someone got it right.’”
Q: Did Lara do everything you were asking him right through the fight, or were there any things he didn’t do that you wanted from him?
R.S: “He did most of what I asked him. In some of the rounds, which were a little closer, I wanted to see him do a little bit more. But why should Lara have to do that bit more than Alvarez to get a win? Why should Alvarez have to do less to get the win? It’s not fair if a guy has an advantage simply because of his name. You look at a fight and it’s a case of who does more, and my guy did the most hitting and not getting hit.”
Q: You want the rematch of course, what are your chances of getting it?
R.S: “Slim and none (laughs). Oscar De La Hoya said at the post-fight press conference that there wasn’t going to be a rematch. I don’t think they’ll get in the ring with Lara again, not ever. I said before the fight that they [Team Alvarez] would regret having taken the fight and now they know why, now they know.”
Q: Was Lara ever hurt in the fight?
R.S: “No. Some of the body shots Alvarez landed, of course he felt them, but did they take anything out of him? No. Look at the fight and you’ll see how Lara was just as good in the last round as he was in the first-round.”
Q: Did Canelo do anything to impress you?
R.S: “No. I don’t think he did anything to impress anybody. People are still talking about how he lost the fight. Did he impress me by cutting the ring off? No. Did he impress me with his body shots? No. Did he impress me with his head shots? No. He landed one good shot to the head and cut Lara, that was pretty much the only good shot to the head Alvarez landed. Again, it’s hit and not get hit and we did that.”
Q: In terms of the really bad decisions you’ve seen in boxing, where does this one rank?
R.S: “Let me tell you something, I’ve seen a lot of bad decisions and I’ve been involved in some bad decisions – the Paul Williams fight [with Lara] the Pernel Whitaker fight with Chavez Senior. Will it keep happening? Yes! They could do something about it but they don’t want to, because they want to see the favourite win. It’s all about politics and money. When your guy is fighting, you want to see him box well and win, and you just hope that the judges will do the right thing.”
Q: Who would you like to see Lara fight next if he cannot get Alvarez again?
R.S: “I’d love to see an [Alfredo] Angulo rematch, or if not that the fight we were originally going to take before Alvarez, Ishe Smith. There are a lot of good names at this weight, and Lara is still champion so he can get a good fight. K-9 Bundrage is there, and Carlos Molina, those two are going to fight each other. Demetrius Andrade is also out there.”
Q: How soon would you like to see Lara box again, this year?
R.S: “Oh, yeah, definitely this year. Maybe September, October or November.”
Q: And finally, in your opinion, how does Alvarez do with James Kirkland and/or Gennady Golovkin, who have both been mentioned as possibilities for him next?
R.S: “He has a good shot against a guy like Kirkland, because he’ll stand in front of Alvarez and go toe-to-toe with him. He’s a good puncher and so is Kirkland. Both can punch hard. Against GGG, Alvarez will get killed, he’ll get murdered. Golovkin is too big and too strong. He’s been fighting at middleweight for a long time, he makes the weight easily. He’s a tremendous athlete and he’s definitely too big and too strong for Alvarez.”