Jorge Lara fights as if his life depends on it. Because it has.
“I am talented with the desire to be a world champion,” says Lara, 24, who turned pro five years ago. “But if I hadn’t started boxing, I don’t know if I was going to die in the streets or someone would kill me.”
Starting at the age of 15, Lara was jailed several times for street fighting in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, where, he says, “I grew up poor in a ghetto.”
“I would fight with my hands. No guns, knives or weapons. Just my hands,” Lara says. “I lived with my older brother and my mother. She worked long hours at a furniture store to provide for us. My grandmother would cook our meals, but I was always in the streets.”
After his final trip to jail, Lara—who does not acknowledge the existence or know the name of his father—found a local gym.
“I was almost 18 years old,” says Lara, a southpaw. “I was boxing well against professional fighters as a rookie. I had about seven amateur fights before I turned pro.”
Lara debuted as a pro in July 2010 with an 18-second stoppage of Adrian Soto Morales, the first of four consecutive knockouts to start his career.
Nearly two dozen victories later, Jorge Lara (27-0-1, 19 KOs) continues his quest for a title September 8 against Puerto Rico’s Jesus Rojas (21-1-1, 15 KOs) at the Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood, California. The bout is the lead-in to the Austin Trout vs Joey Hernandez showdown, which headlines a Premier Boxing Champions series card (Fox Sports 1 and Fox Deportes, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
“It’s going to be a war between Mexico and Puerto Rico,” says Lara, whose idol is fellow Mexican and four-time champion Juan Manuel Marquez. “I’ll come to fight, he’ll come to fight. He’ll be aggressive, I’ll be aggressive. Whatever music is played, that’s the way I’ll dance.”
Lara credits his family—including his four young children, who live with their mother in Guadalajara—for inspiring him to greatness.
“My children, my mom and my brother, they’re my motivation,” says Lara. “They’re why I’m here training hard to give them a better life.”
The clash against Rojas will mark Lara’s second fight in the United States. His debut on American soil was a first-round knockout of Mario Macias at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in March. Lara called the experience “a dream come true. I was hungry to show the American people who I am.”
“Jorge is an entertaining, fan-friendly television fighter who throws bombs in that traditional Mexican style,” says promoter Sampson Lewkowicz. “I have no doubts he will be a world champion within the next couple of fights.”
That sentiment is echoed by former two-time champ Ulises Solis, a Guadalajara native who is training Lara for the first time at Lara’s workout facility in Glendora, California.
“Jorge Lara is a very talented fighter who is learning every day in the gym,” Solis says. “Jorge is already very aggressive, but he’s gaining knowledge and becoming a better boxer every day.
“He will be a complete fighter and a world champion—if not this year, then definitely next year.”
For complete coverage on Lara vs Rojas, visit our fight page.