Three fights, three junior middleweight titles on the line Saturday
SAN DIEGO, October 13, 2017 – Rivals in the often overlooked junior middleweight division will do what they can to stake their claim to top ten rankings on a Showtime tripleheader from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday.
Three titles will be at stake in three solid matchups. WBA world champion Erislandy Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs) of Cuba faces American 2012 Olympian Terrell Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs) in the main event. WBC champion Jermell Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) faces his number one contender Erickson Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs); and IBF champion Jarrett Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs) squares off against veteran and former champion Austin Trout (30-3, 17 KOs).
Depending on whose divisional rankings you follow, Lara sits atop the division, with Charlo and Hurd in the top three; Lubin in the top 20, Gausha in the top 30, and Trout the veteran who always makes a fight competitive. There’s really no telling how the cards might be shuffled here.
Hurd and Lubin want to see youth get served Saturday. Ringside Seat named 26-year-old Jarrett “Swift” Hurd our Emerging Star of 2016, with 21-year-old Erickson “The Hammer” Lubin our runner up. Both came roaring out of the gate in 2017. Lubin scored a spectaular fourth round knockout over Jesse Cota in March 2017 on the Thurman vs. Porter undercard, a fight seen by a record setting TV audience. Hurd picked up his title with a ninth round TKO of Tony Harrison in February.
Fighting in the opening bout. Hurd has a significant height and reach advantage over Trout, 32, who knows he’s got to have a win to stay relevant in the division beyond gatekeeper. He hasn’t had a fight in 17 months, but Trout says he’s stayed in the gym and isn’t too concerned.
“There was no reason for the layoff, no injuries, no nothing,” Trout said. “I’m not happy about it but it is what it is. But I thank God I’ve been in the gym and keeping in shape, call it vanity or not, trying not to get fat and trying to keep this beach bod so I’m still sharp. We’ve knocked all the ring rust out in camp. It’s time to work.”
Hurd hasn’t faced the sort of opposition Trout has, including fights against Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez. But he’s got no fear. “This is a fight I actually chose,” Hurd said. “We knew what was on the line with this fight with Austin Trout. He’s no slouch and with his three losses, he had been in every fight so we knew this fight was going to be tough especially for a first defense but that describes me as a fighter including my mindset.
“I am a true champion, I want to fight the best and I don’t want the fights that are not going to progress me and put me in line for the even bigger fights. I want to take the tough fights and I feel like if there’s the slightest chance that an opportunity presents itself why can’t I better myself? I’m willing to take that chance.”
Hurd’s fortunes are on the rise; he’s got momentum on his side over the veteranTrout. Trout has a lot of tools, but he hasn’t been active enough to pose a real threat. We see Hurd pulling out a rough and tumble decision in this bout.
In the second bout, Lubin takes on the Charlo brother who stayed at junior middleweight. Someone will leave the ring with his first loss. Lubin has already started firing verbal jabs Charlo’s direction, belittling his level of opposition. “I don’t feel like Charlo has ever fought anyone like me. October 14, the world will definitely know what my name is, Erickson Lubin. They’re going to know who ‘The Hammer’ is,” declaired Lubin.
Charlo brushed off the words. “Considering the talk of lesser opponents, I don’t know any of the opponents Lubin has fought,” said Charlo. Charlo spent time in his Texas training camp sparring sensational young welterweight Errol Spence Jr. “Erickson Lubin’s a crafty young fighter. He’s strong. He’s got some skills.
“Errol Spence Jr. is the perfect sparring partner, one of the best sparring partners that I’ve had even when I’m fighting right-handers because of his dominance. Guided by Errol and (mutual trainer) Derrick James, who are showing me different things in the gym, I’m growing smarter and most definitely a better fighter every time I step into the ring,” said Charlo.
If Lubin defeats Charlo, he would become the youngest current champion in boxing at age 21. Lubin said, “That wold mean a lot to me. That would mean a lot to Orlando, Florida, and that would mean a lot to kids out there.”
Don’t step out to the kitchen for a refill during this fight. Charlo vs. Lubin could steal the show and make a late bid for 2017 Fight of the Year, and we see Lubin putting the hammer down on an impressive performance, which should surprise more than a few people.
In the main event, the 34-year-old veteran Lara makes his sixth title defense against the 30-year-old Gaucha, whose career hasn’t progressed nearly as fast as his Olympic teammates Spence, Rau’shee Warren, Dominic Breazeale, or even Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz Jr. Nevertheless, Gaucha is grateful for a boxing career which lifted him out of an impoverished, rough childhood in Cleveland, Ohio.
Lara has been ripped over his level of opposition, which isn’t entirely fair since he’s face Canelo Alvarez and Austin Trout among others. Lara is a classic Cuban technician who uses skills instead of strength to win. Gausha doesn’t have a standout weapon in the ring, but he does everything well with few obvious weaknesses. Gausha is likely to run up against his limit against Lara, who should win handily in the least exciting fight of the night.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
Copyright © 2017 by Falcon Valley Group