A full Jermell Charlo vs Erickson Lubin preview from Boxing News and Views’ Peter Wells ahead of a stacked card.
Miguel Cotto may soon be vacating the boxing scene altogether, leaving a Super Welterweight division full of champions, but no standout leader in the 154lbs weight class.
Six fighters, with just a total of 5 defeats between them, will all look to make their respective claims for being top dog on Saturday night in Brooklyn.
But the truth is that no fighter will take such a prize with them after a show that highlights the sheer depth in one of boxing’s most underrated divisions.
Young studs, Jermell Charlo, Jarrett Hurd, Erickson Lubin and Terrell Gausha feature along with wily current and former champions Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout.
And this show does not include another of the divisions best names, Demetrius Andrade – who has sparked somewhat of a beef with the Charlo twins.
This triple header could have been thrown together with any combination of fights and it would still be a standout card for what has been a fine year of boxing at its best.
The most intriguing of the three may be the battle of unbeaten’s, as Erickson Lubin makes a vastly quick move onto the world scene. The man many see as one of the hottest prospects in world boxing will face another of boxing’s future stars, Jermell Charlo.
Charlo 29-0 (14KO’s) has displayed a knockout tendency that was not previously noted as part of his game prior to a world title clash in May last year.
Both John Jackson and Charles Hatley have been felled by the fists of Charlo, and now Jermell looks to make it a trio of world title wins inside the distance.
But despite his inexperience, the potential of Lubin 18-0(13KO’s) suggests he is the toughest test yet as WBC ruler for Charlo.
One figures that the 22-year old is still in need of further education in a boxing ring, but the hotshot who first made waves on ESPN did not cause such uproar from Team USA when Mike Tyson lured him from the unpaid code for nothing.
Lubin would have been hot property in the 2016 Rio Olympics, but on Saturday he will be vying for far more valuable gold in the form of a WBC title.
Lubin has world champion written from head to toe, but the question looms as to whether this is too early or not.
Pitched in with recent IBF champion Hurd and the odds would look far more favourable for Lubin, but in Jermell he is facing a man entering the prime years of what could be a very successful career.
A little lack of know-how could prove fatal in this fight for Lubin, although the feeling is that he will grow into the contest to give more than enough indication that he is already world class.
Charlo is rightly the favourite, but it is hard not to believe that Lubin may just be the real deal, and the champion is actually the one who has taken an unwise risk.
Lubin can come out the blocks fast, stunning Charlo and, to a lesser extent, the boxing world as he survives a trip to the canvas in the fights later stages to pull off a sensational win by the slightest of margins.
Charlo vs Lubin should have all the ingredients of a stellar fight, but Jarrett Hurd’s quest to steal the show against Austin Trout could prove the fight of the night.
The hype round Hurd had him as a favourite to dominate the capable Tony Harrison in February, but in truth he struggled before Harrison came unstuck in the 9th.
Now he faces Trout 30-3(17KO’s), who desperately needs victory here to keep his name from becoming a stepping stone for the next generation. And despite a solid display last time out, his points loss to Jermall Charlo suggests that other fighters are already seeing the former world title holder as exactly that.
Victory over Miguel Cotto seems a long time ago for Trout now. Defeats to Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara should not be considered as failures, but the worry is that the motivation to get back to those headline fights is dwindling.
Defeat to Hurd – considered as the most vulnerable of the Super Welterweight champions – simply cannot happen if Trout is to stake his claim to more big paydays.
Hurd 20-0(14KO’s) will not be able to rely on his power in this contest, but the feeling is that he does not yet possess the boxing skills over a 12-round distance to outclass a fighter as experienced as Trout.
Hurd can take an early advantage, but Trout will find his way to frustrate and nullify the champion from his southpaw stance. After taking the initiative and lead in the fight, Trout can count on his resilience to see off a wild final quarter of the contest. Hurd will give his all to keep hold of his belts, but barring some favourable scoring towards the champion, Trout will place his name back among the champions.
Erislandy Lara’s hold on the WBA title is the grip that all the other champions and contenders are looking to loosen.
Like Trout, Lara has shared the ring with some of the most notable names in boxing, and certainly feels that his two defeats should be marked as wins – controversial loses to both Paul Williams and Canelo Alvarez.
Lara 24-2-2(14KO’s) has been adjudged to be a runner, but that tactic of consistent and smart movement has worked well in his biggest fights to date, but it is against the likes of Delvin Rodriguez that fans would like to see a more ruthless side to a fighter who does possess decent power to go along with his speed and precision.
Terrell Gausha is making the move down from Middleweight, and although a quality amateur and a professional with plenty of up side, he looks to be out of his depth in challenging the world class Lara.
Gausha 20-0(9KO’s) will be best suited to remain at Super Welterweight after a gallant effort at the Barclays Center. This fight though, will be as competitive as Lara allows it to be.
Gausha will hit the canvas at some point in the contest, and Lara may well force a stoppage between rounds 8-10. But the safe pick is for Gausha to show great heart and see out the championship distance, only to lose by wide margins on the scorecards.
Later that same night, Abner Mares and Leo Santa Cruz should both take care of business in tune up bouts for a WBA Featherweight rematch next year.
Mares has the tougher ask as he defends the lesser WBA ‘regular’ title against Andres Gutierrez. The challenger has a pretty 35-1-1(24KO’s) record, and he gave a good account of himself against former champion Cristian Mijares, losing a tight decision.
But that may have shown us all the level Gutierrez is at, and he should find it much harder against the experienced Mares 30-2-1(15KO’s). The champion can use up the full 12 rounds to outclass Gutierrez from both the inside and outside.
Santa Cruz 33-1-1(18KO’s) will find it much easier defending his WBA ‘Super’ championship, destroying the overmatched Chris Avalos 27-5(20KO’s) in 5 rounds.
The Fantasy Springs Casino hosts an interesting Light Welterweight bout between Fidel Maldonado Jr and Ismael Barroso 19-1-2(18KO’s) on Friday night.
The latter may still be affected by a damaging defeat to Anthony Crolla, and could be found wanting yet again in the higher division.
It’s still a fine contest in a wide open division, but Maldonado 24-3-1(19KO’s) can continue his good form with a 7th round technical knockout of the Venezuelan.