Jermell Charlo vs Erickson Lubin
The fight I’m most looking forward to out of the three is something of a rarity in modern boxing. A prime fighter in Jermell Charlo is seeking his defining win and instead of going after big-name veterans who are over the hill, he’s taking on a young stud in Erickson Lubin.
Lubin is also seeking his breakout performance, and has not picked an easy fight to do so. This fight is so fascinating because it’s largely an unnecessary risk for both fighters, and truly a competitive, tough to call fight on paper.
The WBC junior middleweight title is on the line in this one, however the belt is more of an after-thought. The real story here is whether these fighters are as good as they have been hyped up to be in the past. For Jermell Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs), he won a contentious decision over Martirosyan and mightily struggled against John Jackson before getting the knockout to win the title. His power seems good enough, but his skills may not be able to trouble top-level opponents. Is Lubin a ‘top-level opponent’, that’s is the most intriguing question that needs answering.
Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs), has no top-class names (or anyone close) on his record, and many are saying this fight will come too soon for the 22-year-old. However, the young fighter known as ‘The Hammer’ has shown an explosiveness that should make him extremely difficult to beat.
Whilst this is clearly a massive step up for the inexperienced Lubin, he has flashed the tools to become a true star of the sport. This isn’t an insult to Charlo, who I think is a good but not great fighter at 154lbs, but I see Lubin coming away with a win here on the scorecards. Lubin by unanimous decision.
Jarrett Hurd vs Austin Trout
Jarrett Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs) was not supposed to world champion, and maybe that’s why it’s so entertaining to watch his career development. An unimpressive amateur, Hurd was fed to two more-hyped prospects in Frank Galarza and Oscar Molina, stopping both inside the distance. He then went on to beat Tony Harrison fort he vacant IBF strap, finishing his opponent off in the 9th round.
Standing at 6ft 1″, Hurd is a rangy, powerful fighter that could cause a wily veteran in Austin Trout plenty of physical problems. He’s the taller and fresher fighter and far more powerful than Trout. This, however, should be the toughest test of his career, as Trout is almost as awkward as they come.
Trout never took off after his shocking signature win over Miguel Cotto, but his career has shown he’s at the very minimum tough to beat. It’s easy to forget that Trout went round-for-round with Canelo Alvarez back in 2013, and in his last fight he remained wholly competitive with the impressive Jermall Charlo for the entirety of their bout.
A crafty fighter, Trout excels at negating his opponents weapons and getting behind his jab consistently. He will never be a fan favourite, but he can be a nightmare for opponents as they struggle to find a rhythm.
A bad defeat to Erislandy Lara was a low point in his career, but he’s bounced back well and despite being 32 years-old Trout seems as if he has enough left in the tank to make this one difficult for the younger champion.
I’m picking a sizeable underdog in his one, as I like Trout to out-box Hurd and survive some tough moments on his way to a points decision. The physical advantages could define this matchup if Trout isn’t at his best, but his slick style up against a relatively limited Hurd gives him every chance of taking the world title home. Trout by unanimous decision.
Erislandy Lara vs Terrell Gausha
Easily the worst fight of the night, slick Cuban southpaw Erislandy Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs) defends his WBA title against Terrell Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs), who could be well out of his class. Albeit, Gausha is an ex-Olympian, part of the US boxing team at the 2012 London games, and is undefeated so far in his pro career. Unfortunately, he hasn’t shown any reason to believe he’ll trouble one of the most technically gifted defensive fighters in the sport.
Since taking over as WBA champion, Lara has struggled to find quality opponents to showcase himself against. The combination of his defensive style and lack of real fan following makes him an unattractive opponent that promoters will stay well away from. He does have wins over Austin Trout, Vanes Martirosyan and a very tight points loss to superstar Canelo Alvarez. He shouldn’t have an issue dealing with Gausha on Saturday night, so perhaps he will look to make a statement with an aggressive style to try and get a knockout.
Lara does not always perform as expected from a top-class fighter, but this will be a fairly comfortable night for him and his team. Gausha could gain some real exposure with a good performance, but expect Lara to boss proceedings on his way to a wide decision. Lara by late stoppage.
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