Cuban defector Erislandy Lara says Cubans unable to defect would shine here

Erislandy Lara/photo by Associated Press

Cuba’s amateur program has always been top-notch, so one has to wonder how many of its great amateurs would have been fine  pros here in the States had they been able to freely come here to fight.

Sure, some have defected. But not everyone who tries succeeds. Erislandy Lara, a Cuban defector, first tried to defect in 2007. He was caught and returned. He defected again in 2008, that time successfully.

Lara, who Saturday will take on Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on Showtime pay-per-view), agreed we have missed out on a lot.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Obviously, Cuba’s a very strict country. It’s a country that you’ve got to do a lot of things to get over here to be free. And there are a tremendous amount of fighters in Cuba that would be world champions or very good fighters over here that are never able to make it.”

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