World Boxing Association super welterweight world champion Erislandy Lara is looking for a big win on Friday against Israeli ex-champ Yuri Foreman to springboard him to a unification bout and the middleweight ranks.
"I'm going to go out there and make a statement," the US-based Cuban said. "I'm in great shape, I'm focused on this fight and most importantly the way I'm looking, when I do hit him, I think he will go (down)."
Lara has just three wins inside the distance in 12 fights since March of 2013 - a first-round stoppage of Ronald Hearns, a gritty 10th-round technical knockout of Alfredo Angulo in which Lara was down two times and a third-round stoppage of Jan Zaveck in November of 2015.
The 33-year-old southpaw is known less for his knockout power than for his footwork and movement.
In his most recent fight, he defended his title with a unanimous decision over Vanes Martirosyan in Las Vegas on May 21 in a rematch of their controversial draw in 2012.
He improved to 23-2-2 with 13 wins inside the distance, but his defensive style hasn't been a hit with fans and the clash with Foreman, a 36-year-old Belarus-born Israeli now living in Brooklyn, is hardly one to set pulses racing.
In 2009 Foreman (34-2-0, 10 KOs) out-pointed Daniel Santos to become the first Orthodox Jewish fighter in more than 70 years to win a world title - claiming the same belt he'll be fighting for on Friday.
But he has fought just twice since 2013, against lightly regarded opponents.
"I'm thrilled to be fighting for the world title," Foreman said. "I'm really looking forward to showcasing my skills and talent and becoming a two-time world champion. At this stage of my career it would be a tremendous accomplishment."
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