How Family And Fighting Gave Erislandy Lara Purpose
For Erislandy Lara, April 7th is the culmination of a dream that began as a boy on the baseball diamonds of his native Cuba, as he faces Jarrett Hurd in a super middleweight unification battle. Lara grew up in love with the sport of baseball which battles with boxing as his nation’s most popular sport for its citizens and its athletes.
“I used to fight a lot as a kid in the streets. My first sport was baseball and I really wanted to be successful in that sport,” Lara told FIGHT SPORTS this week.
“But my uncle saw me beating up kids in the neighborhood and on the baseball field and told me, ‘Hey, you’re in wrong sport. You are a boxer.’ Since that day I went to the gym and started to box. It changed my life.”
Lara’s family is a major part of his growth not only as a boxer, but as a person. But there has been a hole in his heart for nearly ten years, which has been the amount of time he hasn’t seen many of his friends and family in the nation he was born.
Lara did confirm that he is returning to Cuba this year and is excited to return back to “the land I was born and [see] many of my loved ones.”
And while he has not seen his family in Cuba, it is his wife and children that have inspired him to take his skills to the point where he can become the undisputed junior middleweight champion on April 7th.
“My family is the most important thing to me in this world. They’re the reason I train so hard and fight to win. It’s so I can support them and put food on the table,” Lara explained in the lead up to fight week.
“Boxing is a lifestyle for me it’s a job. So I do a lot of fatherly and husband activities while still training. As it gets closer to fight, I start to zone in more and focus on my task at hand. But I’ve been fighting now for over 20 years and it becomes routine and nothing more than putting the gloves on and then ‘let’s go.’
Lara and Hurd will be the headliner of a Showtime Network broadcast beginning at 10pm EST from the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.