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Michael Zerafa set to bring a pair of Donaires to the ring for Erislandy Lara fight

Michael Zerafa and Erislandy Lara. Photo credit: Sean Michael Ham/TGB Promotions

Middleweight contender Michael Zerafa 31-4 (19) will have not one but two Donaires in his corner when he challenges WBA 160-pound champion Erislandy Lara 29-3-3 (17) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night.

The 32-year-old Australian teamed up with former four-weight world champion Nonito Donaire for this camp with the Filipino star taking on an evolving role.

“We’re like best mates and he wanted to be part of my camp,” Zerafa explained to Fox Sports Australia. “It started out as an advisory role but he’s now much more hands on and become my head trainer.

“The great thing is, he knows Lara really well. He’s been in camps and seen him train, been at the same gym, knows he is crafty, long… and we’ve worked hard on the movements we will have to implement on fight night.

“Nonito says Lara will walk straight up to me and try to knock me out. And that’s what we want because I’m not going to move. I’m going to stand centre ring as well.

“If he wants to fight, so be it.”

Along with the former world champ in his corner, Zerafa will also have the voice of a second Doanire in his ear: Nonito’s wife, trainer and manager Rachel.

“She’s something special,” Zerafa said. “She manages Nonito, Jessie Vargas, a few other big name fighters so she’s tough, man. Gets exactly what she wants. And we’re all a family. There are no outside voices for this camp. Just a small circle of people.”

Zerafa will be boxing on the undercard of his domestic rival Tim Tszyu, who will defend his WBO junior middleweight title against Sebastian Fundora in a bout that will also be sanctioned for the vacant WBC belt.

But despite boxing in Tszyu’s shadow, Zerafa plans on being the name on everyone’s lips when the dust has settled on Saturday night.

“I’m ready to steal the show,” Zerafa said of his fight against the Cuban southpaw.

“I respect Lara, I’ve been a big fan of his for a while and am grateful to be sharing the ring with him.

“But this is a very winnable fight for me.

“And while I realise it’s not prime Lara – he’s 40 – but he is still very dangerous, very slick and he’s coming to prove a point.

“But I feel this is everything I’ve worked for comes down to this fight.”

Lara has boxed just four times in the past five years, logging wins over Ramon Alvarez, Greg Vendetti, Thomas LaManna and Gary O’Sullivan. The last two of those fights were at middleweight and both ended by knockout.

The Zerafa fight will end a 22-month layoff for Lara, who remains a -325 favourite. Zerafa backers can get +250 on their man.