Spike banking on champ underestimating challenge

Gary 'Spike' O’Sullivan said he was in better shape than his opponent Erislandy, 'The American Dream' Lara, after the Corkman weighed in at exactly 159 pounds ahead of tonight’s world title bid
Spike banking on champ underestimating challenge

Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Gary 'Spike' O’Sullivan said he was in better shape than his opponent Erislandy, 'The American Dream' Lara, after the Corkman weighed in at exactly 159 pounds in Brooklyn yesterday [FRIDAY] ahead of tonight’s world title bid.

The popular 37-year-old middleweight who is two years younger than the Cuban champion clocked in three quarters of a pound lighter in front of a sizable crowd gathered outdoors at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn.

As the challenger mingled with a dozen or so Irish fans while the proceedings of a tense weigh-in drew to a close, he told the Irish Examiner that he is planning for a less than prepared Lara to take the ring at around 3am Irish time.

“I feel very good,” O’Sullivan said. “I feel as though I was in better shape than him. I felt like I was the bigger man too.

“I looked bigger and in better condition. I think I trained harder than him. I hope he’s underestimating me which helps a lot.

“That’s what I’m banking on - that he is underestimating me. I’ve trained as hard as I ever have. There’ll be no regrets. I’ll go in there and do my best. 

“I’ve worked as hard as I can and I’m going in there to win.” 

Houston-based Lara, who has a record of 28-3-3 with 16 knockouts, said he appreciated O’Sullivan taking up the offer to challenge him.

“I’m expecting a tough fight because Gary O’Sullivan is a very tough fighter,” the southpaw told The Ring on Wednesday.

“At this point in my career, it’s hard getting anyone to fight me, especially the young up and coming guys. So, I give him a lot of credit for stepping in the ring with me.

“I’m going to try to get him out of there, but it won’t be easy. In addition, I think he’ll have a lot of fans in attendance so he’ll have that advantage.” 

Lara, who has trained in Las Vegas for the past couple of years under the watchful eye of Ismael Salas, made a late career move to this division and he has claimed that it helped keep him fresh and ready for a challenge like this during the twilight of his career.

“O’Sullivan is one of those guys who will leave everything in the ring and those guys are dangerous.

“He might not be the most skilled guy with his footwork and all, but he can take a punch and he always comes to fight. This will not be an easy fight by any means.” 

This pairing will be a co-headline with the hotly anticipated main event which will see five-time world champion Gervonta 'Tank' Davis defend his WBA Lightweight Title against mandatory challenger Rolando Romero.

With no love lost between the two, their post-weigh-in posing for cameras almost ended in blows between the dueling entourages after Davis nudged Romero off the stage.

O’Sullivan was a much calmer presence, shaking hands twice with Lara and then finding the Irish who had gathered near the stage.

“I saw a few Irish jerseys while I was up there,” smiled O’Sullivan.

“A Kerry one stood out. I waved at her and got eye contact. It’s great! Brilliant atmosphere - lovely weather. It’s everything, you know.”

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox