Middleweight contender Michael Zerafa is a few weeks away from his mandatory fight with WBA world champion Erislandy Lara.
Their fight takes place on March 30 in Las Vegas – as part of the card that features Zerafa’s Australian rival, WBO 154-pound champion Tim Tszyu, who faces Keith Thurman in the main event.
For the upcoming fight, Zerafa will be trained by former multi-division world champion Nonito Donaire.
Zerafa’s confidence has grown with the addition of Donaire in his corner.
“[Me and Nonito] met at a WBA convention and, immediately, clicked. At that stage, I was already the mandatory for Lara’s title and he said to me ‘look, when that opportunity does comes up, I’d love to work with you’. Given he’s a southpaw, has fought multiple southpaws … Nonito just said he would love to become that extra piece of arsenal in my preparation. So we’ve stayed in touch ever since,” Zerafa told Fox Sports Australia.
“He’s shared the ring with some of the most dangerous fighters in the world. Also, his expertise is in how to break down a southpaw and we’ve already spent hours together doing that, breaking down Lara. With our personalities too, we get on like a house on fire. And that is so important. Because you can have the best trainer in the world, but if there is a personality clash – a clash of egos – it’s just not going to work.
“But he and I, we’re always having a good time at training. Forever taking the piss out of each other. And when I’m in a good mode, I’m a dangerous fighter.”
While Lara is up there in age, Zerafa views him as a much younger fight – since the Cuban boxer has taken very little punishment in the ring.
“He’s a guy with great boxing IQ who, at his peak, was a mover, and never really engaged in wars. I feel like he will still have all that. And he’s fresh,” Zerafa said.
“He is not a beat up, broken down 40-year-old. I’ve been tracking him for a while, watching what he’s up to, and he’s a guy who is always in the gym, always sparring, always working. And he’s confident. I cannot wait.”