With his upcoming fight for a vacant interim junior middleweight world title having been sanctioned this week, former titlist Erislandy Lara said Thursday that he is excited for the opportunity to exact revenge on the Alvarez family.
Lara will face Ramon Alvarez -- middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez's older brother -- in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card on Aug. 31 (Fox, 8 p.m. ET) at The Armory in Minneapolis, formally announced on Thursday.
"This fight against Ramon Alvarez is personal for me, as I have history with the Alvarez family," Lara said. "Expect another great fight and a spectacular performance. I can't wait to perform at this tremendous venue in Minneapolis. Don't miss this fight, because I'm going for the knockout."
After relentlessly calling out Canelo Alvarez, Lara got his opportunity against him in 2014 and, in a much-hyped nontitle fight in Las Vegas, lost a disputed split decision.
After the loss, Lara (25-3-3, 14 KOs), 36, a Cuban defector fighting out of Houston, went on to make six title defenses. He lost his belt by split decision to Jarrett Hurd in a unification bout in April 2018 that was the fight of the year. Lara took off 11 months and returned in March by fighting to a draw with Brian Castano for a secondary world title.
Ramon Alvarez (28-7-3, 16 KOs) 32, of Mexico, has not had the success his superstar brother has. The fight with Lara, Alvarez's second in the United States, will be his first opportunity to go for a world or interim belt.
He will be the heavy underdog after having been knocked out by the faded Brandon Rios in the ninth round in November, although Alvarez rebounded with a 10-round split decision win over journeyman Jose Carlos Pas on April 6.
"I am very excited for this opportunity," Alvarez said. "I've worked hard my whole career for a fight like this and I'm going to take advantage. My brother beat Lara a few years back and I'm going to be the next Alvarez to beat Lara."
The co-feature will pit former world titleholders Caleb Truax (30-4-2, 19 KOs), 35, a Minneapolis native, and New Yorker "Kid Chocolate" Peter Quillin (34-1-1, 23 KOs), 36, in a super middleweight title elimination fight. It is a rematch of their April 13 no decision, an elimination bout that ended in the second round when Truax suffered a terrible cut from an accidental head butt and was unable to continue.
"I'm going to finish what I started this time," Quillin said. "I'm treating this like any other fight and working hard to put on my best performance Aug. 31. I was in control of the first fight and ready to go for it. I'll be ready again for a dominant statement when we get back in the ring."
The first fight was also at The Armory, and Truax said he was pleased to be at home again and hoping for a more conclusive result.
"I'm ecstatic to have the opportunity to run it back against Peter Quillin at home again at The Armory," Truax said. "The ending of the first fight was a huge buzz kill to what had shaped up to be a great night. We obviously have unfinished business, and I am again confident I will get the job done."
In the opener, 6-foot-6 junior middleweight prospect Sebastian Fundora (13-0, 9 KOs), 21, of Coachella, California, will face fellow southpaw Jamontay Clark (14-1, 7 KOs), 24, of Cincinnati. Fundora is known as "The Towering Inferno" for his massive size relative to the 154-pound division.
"I'm preparing for an experienced fighter and a good chess match," Fundora said. "This is one of the tallest guys (6-2) I've fought as a pro, plus he's a southpaw. I'm ready for a challenge."
Clark suffered his first loss, a 10-round decision at The Armory to Jeison Rosario in August, before winning his next fight in March.
"I'm feeling really strong right now and ready to show the new Jamontay Clark," he said. "I'm going to show everyone how the shorter fighter can out-box a taller opponent. I know he's got length and throws a lot of punches, but I'll be ready for everything he brings. This is the start of a new beginning. I'm bringing the pressure and pain for this one."