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Canelo vs. Lara: Or is it a showdown between De La Hoya vs. Haymon and Schaefer?

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LAS VEGAS, Nevada – On Saturday, July 12 at MGM Grand Garden Arena, one of the most anticipated boxing matches of 2014 will take place. Light middleweight Mexican-superstar Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 KO's) takes on Cuban-born sensation Erislandy Lara (19-1-2, 12 KO's) in a scheduled 12-round fight to be fought at a 155-pound catchweight.

As time draws nearer to fight time, both fighters seem to be amped up and ready to go. Alvarez’s camp has repeatedly discussed how displeased they have been with the harsh words dished out by Lara. They have lashed back saying, "Come fight time, their fighter will make him eat every bad word he’s spit out against their fighter."

It all started back a few months ago in March, immediately after Alvarez's dismantle of Alfredo Angulo (22-4, 18 KO's) in a fight that wasn't even close. He came back on the scene after his loss to undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr., more impressive than ever. Alvarez was clicking on all cylinders that night and won over his fight fans once again. It was pure satisfaction from his supporters.

It was a moment during the post fight interview when a stranger to most, Erislandy Lara, hopped up on stage and walked to the podium, intercepted the microphone from Alvarez and called him out in front of all of his die-hard fight fans in attendance. What a clever strategy and courage it took to do what Lara did. He is now in one of the biggest fights of his career.

Not many people in the sport of boxing knew who Lara was until that day, especially Alvarez's fans. Lara said, "Every fighter in my weight class has been dodging me, including Saul Alvarez. I'm 150 percent better than the Mexican icon and I can’t wait to give him a Cuban boxing lesson. Alvarez is a hyped up fighter who is completely overrated and I will expose him on fight night."

Both Alvarez and Lara were the only two fighters to beat and knock down former champion Austin Trout (26-2, 14 KO's) in their fights against him. Many pundits thought that Alvarez closely pulled off a victory over Trout, but according to the judges and their lopsided scoring, most thought they must have been looking at a different fight.

When Lara faced Trout, it was his southpaw speed and quickness with unique footwork and his power that took over the fight. Most experts thought Lara's win was more satisfying than that of Alvarez. Lara also brutally beat Angulo as well, by TKO stoppage back in June '2013. He sent his opponent running back to his corner in retreat from a severely swollen intrusion over the eye from vicious head blows.

Many around the sport are aware that Alvarez is being tailored and groomed by Oscar De La Hoya and his Golden Boy Label. He is without a doubt their cash cow and they invest heavily in his fights. This will be his third pay per view fight put on by Showtime. It is no secret that Richard Schaefer, formerly the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, recently resigned from his position because of the future directions De La Hoya is taking the company.

For several years Schaefer has been known for being the brains and mastermind behind the success of Golden Boy. The news broke throughout the boxing world that owner De La Hoya has rekindled his relationship with Bob Arum, founder and CEO of Top Rank Boxing, who Schaefer didn’t want to have any business connections with. De La Hoya used to be promoted by Arum and his label early on his career.

Arum and Schaefer did not see eye-to-eye on anything of importance in boxing and because of that, they never developed a working relationship and have been at odds for many years.

Many around the sport also know that Cuban-born Lara is managed by Al Haymon. The name "Al Haymon" has become a very popular name around the sport of boxing. His stable of fighters, who he manages, is as potent as the sport itself. The list of fighters who camp out under his umbrella is nothing less than remarkable.

Schaefer's strong relationship with Haymon was a huge factor in his enormous success with Golden Boy. Anytime the two of them are working together, they seem to never have a problem headlining a big fight. As a manager, Haymon usually tells his fighters when and who to fight next and it seems they always obey. Pound-for pound king, Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr., is also under that banner and his extraordinary ride to fame and fortune continues to lie in the hands of this manager.

COULD THIS EVENT TURN OUT TO BE A FIGHT BETWEEN "OSCAR DE LA HOYA VS. AL HAYMON-RICHARDSCHAEFER?"

This bout on Saturday night could turn out to be a slippery slope for Alvarez and the Golden Boy label in more ways than one. It's apparent that Schaefer's presence and connections in the sport of boxing will still be lingering over this fight, even though he’s no longer De La Hoya's partner and right hand man.

So far, the betting odds slightly favor Alvarez. But if this fight goes the distance, it could end up in the hands of the judges. There is no stronger presence involved in this fight game than manager Al Haymon. His skills and expertise is known to be as solid as they come.

In the past, Golden Boy fighters usually gets the nod and favor with judges in close fights, but this time he doesn’t have Richard Schaefer on his side. More than likely, Schaefer will be siding with Haymon and his fighters, which rumors have already surfaced that the two of them may be working together in the near future.

If the 23-year-old Alvarez comes out victorious against the slick southpaw Lara, it sets him up for some even bigger events; possibly with Bob Arums’ light middleweight champion Miguel Cotto (39-4, 32 KO's), who just recently ventured up to middleweight and destroyed Sergio Martinez. That would be a popular matchup that would sell very easily to the public, especially now that De La Hoya and Arum are doing business again.

The flip side to this coin is, if the 31-year-old Lara defeats the younger Alvarez, he puts a huge cloud over the career of the Mexican superstar and possibly a damper over De La Hoya's new quest to run Golden Boy Promotions without Schaefer. This fight has been deemed by many as a pick'em fight. It could easily go either way. That's what makes this fight so exciting.

There is a lot riding on this fight—and like Oscar De La Hoya has mentioned, time and time again, that Lara is a very dangerous fighter for Alvarez. He said, "Had it been up to me, this fight would not be happening. Make no mistake about it; Erislandy Lara is a very dangerous fighter, that's why my hat goes off to Saul "Canelo" Alvarez for agreeing to take this tough fight."

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