Tonight at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn (SHOWTIME @9pm ET), Cuban great Erislandy Lara (25-3-2, 14KOs) attempts to continue his “American Dream” by recapturing WBA super welterweight supremacy against a super tough WBA super welterweight champion Brian Castano (15-0, 11KOs) from Argentina.
It's a solid card that features the return of fellow Cuban defector and heavyweight great Luis Ortiz (30-1, 26KOs)…
..who should rusty nail a false Christian Hammer (24-5, 14KOs) in two or three rounds to set up an exciting rematch with disrespected WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. Either that, or he'll most likely sit on the shelf after coming to terms with Eddie Hearn to face Anthony Joshua, who should turn Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller into a very abused child.
But this event is all about Lara, who resuscitated his career in defeat to Jarrett Hurd.
Though he lost his WBA “super” belt, it was the BWAA's FOTY, featuring more action than Angelina Jolie's “Tomb Raider” and any fight he's been a part of over the last five years. Lara is arguably the slickest boxer to ever grace American soil, featuring a mesmerizing medley of pure skills and rare athletic ability. However, in the upstart Argentinian, “Lara's Craft” won't be enough to offset Castano's cojones and prevent an upset.
To the uninitiated, Lara would look just fine during a Media Day workout on Wednesday, where he opined of himself that he's no different than the fighter many believe outboxed Canelo Alvarez in July 2014. To which he's, well, dreaming. Any such notion of that ended during that war with the monstrous Hurd; who with a plodding nature and 50lb feet, still managed to force Lara into a war of attrition that a 2016 version of himself would've never allowed.
This can only mean his legs weren't quite the same after making the camera crew filming him – and virtually everyone remaining to watch at Barclays in October 2017 as the feature attraction – look for a bottle of Adderall during a technical masterpiece over Terrell Gausha that still qualified as execrable. Call it the Guillermo Rigondeaux Effect, where you're so damn good that you suck; but Lara definitely felt the impact of being an irrelevant main event after Jermell Charlo electrified that same Barclays crowd (or what was left of it) by electrocuting Erickson Lubin just prior.
I'm also of the opinion that Premier Boxing Champions and their braintrust, would've never put Lara in this position again if they didn't see some sort of sequel to Hurd V Lara– and I think that's what we're in for. It may sound crazy but, “You'd be crazy to miss this Erislandy Lara fight!” It has everything to do with who he's facing and what he no longer is.
Forget about Castano's limited record and the fact that you have no idea who he's fought as a pro, just know this: He damn near died trying to lose 22lbs in 3 days to make 147 against Sebastian Lujan in 2014, defeated IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr in the Pan Am Games, and was victorious over solid middleweight Sergey Derevyanchenko in the World Series of Boxing– a man last seen giving Canelo Alvarez's next opponent, Daniel Jacobs, absolute hell a few months ago.
In talking to an extremely relaxed and energetic Team Castano the other day at Gleason's Gym, there was this feeling of a coming out party we're all invited to at Lara's expense. Look for Brian Castano..
.. to grind his way to a resounding 10th round TKO, to retain his title while becoming a problem for anyone near super welterweight.