Junior-Middleweight Triple-Header Hits Barclays
The 154 lb. division has hosted some of boxing’s most exciting fights over the years, and the junior-middleweights will be on full display on Saturday night.
At the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, not one but three 154 lb. champions will defend their titles in a Premier Boxing Champions triple-header. WBA champion Erislandy Lara takes on Terrell Gausha, Jermell Charlo defends his WBC belt vs. Erickson Lubin and IBF champion Jarrett Hurd defends against former champion Austin Trout.
The event is a brilliant bit of matchmaking for many reasons. Not only will the three title fights provide guaranteed action and excitement, but the placement of them on the same night adds a new form of competition. The 154 lb. champions are not only competing against their challengers, but also against each other: which champion will look the most dominant? Who is the true #1 junior-middleweight?
In a sport where nearly every division is cluttered with multiple belts and champions, seeing the three junior-middleweight title holders compete on the same night should provide a refreshing level of clarity.
Erislandy Lara (24-2-2) vs. Terrell Gausha (20-0)
At 34 years old, Cuban boxer Erislandy Lara has been the top fighter in the junior-middleweight division for years. His only loss in the past four years was to Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez, and many believed that Lara deserved to win that decision. Since then, Lara has put together five straight victories.
He will face the 30-year-old Gausha, a solid undefeated fighter but one that has not competed against competition like Lara. While he has yet to lose professionally, he will have trouble dealing with the technical proficiency of Lara for twelve rounds.
Of the three champions on the card, Lara will likely coast to the most comfortable victory.
Jermell Charlo (29-0) vs. Erickson Lubin (18-0)
Because of Charlo’s potential as a future star, his WBC title defense against Lubin is the most interesting of the three championship bouts. Jermell and his twin brother Jermall Charlo have been pegged as two fighters that can be the elite fighters of the next generation. With Jermall having just moved up to middleweight, the 154-lb. division is Jermell Charlo’s for the taking.
The 27-year-old has been known as the more technical fighter while his brother was pegged as the heavy puncher, but Jermell Charlo has showcased serious knockout power in his last few fights.
Lubin, like the aforementioned Gausha, is taking a big step up by taking on Charlo. But unlike Gausha, Lubin has solid power that will provide a sense of danger to Charlo, making the fight that much more interesting. Of the three title fights, this one is the least likely to go the distance. Charlo has a solid chance of landing a knockout blow in the later rounds, but don’t be surprised if he gets stung at least once by Lubin.
Jarrett Hurd (20-0) vs. Austin Trout (30-3)
This bout is something of a reverse of the previous two: in this, the challenger is the one with the more big-fight experience. Austin Trout has faced the elite of the elite in the junior-middleweight division over the years, including Lara and Canelo Alvarez. He lost over a year ago to the other Charlo brother Jermall, but gave the heavier fighter a tough twelve-round contest.
Hurd, though he holds the IBF belt, does not have the same level of experience. But he looked the part of a champion in his title-winning bid back in February, where he stopped Tony Harrison in the ninth round.
He’ll need to prove that he has a multifaceted game against a veteran like Trout, who has proven to be too durable and crafty to be simply beaten with brute force. He’ll be looking to prove that he belongs at the top of the division, while Trout aims to reclaim the championship status he’s boasted in the past.
The Premier Boxing Champions junior-middleweight triple-header goes down on Saturday, October 14 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.