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Jermell Charlo vs. Charles Hatley on March 11


By Eric Baldwin: WBC World junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo (28-0, 13 KOs) will be defending his title for the first time against #2 WBC Charles Hatley (26-1-1, 18 KOs) on Showtime Boxing at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Charlo, 26, recently won the vacant WBA title on May 21 last year in stopping John Jackson in the 8th round.

Charlo hasn’t fought since then, and that obviously isn’t good news for him. He needs to be busier if he wants to take advantage of his time as the WBC champion. Jermell is the brother of the big punching IBF junior middleweight champion Jermall Charlo.

Jermell doesn’t have the same kind of power that his brother Jermall possesses, but he seems to be improving in that department. Jermell is starting to sit down more on his punches than he did in the past, and it’s paid off with him knocking out his last two opponents John Jackson and Joachim Alcine.

The Charlo-Hatley fight will be the co-feature bout on the Gary Russell Jr. (27-1, 16 KOs) vs. Oscar Esandon (25-2, 17 KOs) card. Russell Jr. will be defending his World Boxing Council featherweight title. Russell Jr. has been out of the ring since April of last year when he stopped Patrick Hyland in the 2nd round.

It’s unclear why Russell Jr. is choosing not to be a busy champion. You have to hope that Russell Jr. doesn’t regret it later on that he didn’t fight as much as possible while he was the WBC featherweight champion. Escandon last fought in stopping Robinson Castellanos in round 7 last year in March.

Hatley is a talented fighter with respectable power and hand speed. Hatley has been out of action since stopping Anthony Mundine in the 11th round on November 11, 2015. Hatley has mostly fought journeyman level opposition during his 9-year pro career. Hatley was knocked out in the 1st round by Lanado Tyner on August 18, 2012. That was a fluke loss for Hatley, as he was caught cold in the 1st round by Tyner. In February 2011, Hatley fought to an eight round draw against Chris Chatman. Hatley has improved a lot since the Tyner and Chatman fights, and he’s now won his last nine fights.

Of his last nine wins, Hatley has beaten the likes of Mundine, Saul Roman, Richard Gutierrez, Jose Flores, Mark Suarez, Mario Alberto Lozcano, Dedrick Bell, Jose Adeaydo Gonzalez, and Rogelio De La Torre.

Leo Santa Cruz named the World Boxing Association boxer of the month for win over Carl Frampton

Newly crowned WBA Super World featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs) was named the WBA boxer of the money for January for his 12 round majority decision win over WBA champion Carl Frampton (23-1, 14 KOs) on January 28 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Santa Cruz out-boxed Frampton for 12 rounds in winning by the scores 115-113, 115-113 and 114-114.

Santa Cruz avenged his loss to Frampton from last July in New York. In that fight, Frampton won a close and somewhat controversial 12 round majority decision at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Some boxing fans felt that Santa Cruz did enough to deserve the win.

The fans were pro-Frampton from the outset, and it’s possible that the judges were influenced by the crowd noise rather than from what they saw in the fight. Santa Cruz appeared to win the last seven rounds of the contest against a very tired looking Frampton.

Santa Cruz bet out WBA Super World junior middleweight champion Erislandy Lara for the WBA award of boxer of the month. Lara defeated 36-year-old former WBA 154lb champion Yuri Foreman by a 4th round knockout on January 13. It was a good win for Lara, but it wasn’t comparable to the victory that Santa Cruz won over Frampton. Foreman hasn’t been a major player in boxing since losing to Miguel Cotto and Pawel Wolak in back to back fights in 2010 and 2011.

Erickson Lubin faces Jorge Cota on the Danny Garcia vs. Keith Thurman card on March 4
Unbeaten junior middleweight contender Erickson “Hammer” Lubin (17-0, 12 KOs) will be facing the big punching Jorge Cota (25-1, 22 KOs) in a 12 round fight on the Danny Garcia vs. Keith Thurman card on March 4 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The Lubin-Cota fight will be the co-feature bout on the card, which will be televised on CBS. This is a World Boxing Council junior middleweight title eliminator between Lubin and Cota. The winner of the fight will be the #1 WBC mandatory challenger to WBC champion Jermell Charlo.

Lubin is ranked #5 WBC, #8 WBA, #10 WBO at 154, and he’s taking a considerable step up in class in facing the Mexican Cota. Only 21, Lubin would have to be viewed as a heavy favorite to defeat Cota in this fight. Lubin was a highly decorated amateur before turning pro as a teen in 2013. Lubin has quickly risen up the ranks in the 154lb division with wins over Juan Ubaldo Cabrera, Ivan Montero, Daniel Sandoval, Jose De Jesus Macias, Alexis Camacho, Orlando Lora, Ayi Bruce, Kenneth Council, Michael Finney and Noe Bolanos.

Lubin looks like a real threat to Jermell Charlo, but not his arguably more talented and powerful brother Jermall Charlo. Lubin would be up against it if he had to fight Jermall for his IBF belt. Jermell is vulnerable, but it will still be a very tough fight for Lubin at this early stage in his career. Lubin might be too young and green to be fighting someone as good as Jermell.

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