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Jermell Charlo vs. Erickson Lubin – Weights

Erislandy Lara

By Jim Dower: WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) made weight on Friday in coming in at 153.6 pounds for his title defense against his mandatory challenger Erickson “The Hammer” Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs) on the Erislandy Lara vs. Terrell Gausha card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Lubin, 22, weighed in at 153.4 lbs.

(Photo credit Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME)

In other weights on the card, Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs) weighed in at 153.6 lbs. for his title defense of his WBA Super World junior middleweight title against #6 WBA Terrell Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs). For his part, the 30-year-old Gausha weighed in at 153.2 lbs. This is a step-up title defense for the 34-year-old Lara, even though it’s a voluntary defense. Lara has been taking it very easy in generally facing weak opposition for his title defenses instead of fighting good opponents.

It appears that Lara is trying to extend his time as the WBA champion for as long as possible by fighting the weakest guys he can before he eventually gets beaten. Lara’s past title defenses have come against the likes of Yuri Foreman, Vanes Martirosyan, Jan Zaveck, Delvin Rodriguez and Ishe Smith.

Martirosyan is obviously the best of a weak bunch, but even he’s not even relevant. It’s too bad that Lara hasn’t challenged himself to fight better opposition, but he hasn’t been forced to. With Showtime willing to televise Lara’s easy title defenses without rejecting these mismatches, he’s been able to face no real challenges. Lara surprisingly said this week that he wants to fight clean up the 154lb division and fight Saul Canelo Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin at middleweight.

Lara doing any of things would seem highly improbable. To clean out the 154lb division, it would mean that Lara would have to stop taking voluntary defenses against bottom feeders. He doesn’t seem to be willing to do that. Even in Lara’s fight against Gausha is another easy fight for him. Gausha is not seen as a world beater. He’s just a fighter with a pumped-up resume built on weaker opposition.

”I’m going to clean out the whole 154-pound division,” said Lara via Fight News. ”The Canelo rematch is there. The Golovkin fight is out there. I have unfinished business to be settled. Canelo knows who the true winner of our fight was, and he doesn’t want to do that fight again. I would love to move up to 160 and Canelo and Golovkin are the top guys, but 154 is much deeper. Those are the two guys we want, but if we can’t get them then we have to stay at 154 and clean it out, like I said. There are just better fights at 154,” said Lara.

154 is NOT the better division than at 160. The money fights are at 160. That’s where Golovkin, Canelo and Daniel Jacobs are. The junior middleweight division is barren of stars. There is small handful of good fighters in the 154lb division, but none of them are big money fighters. The only star in the 154lb. division is WBO junior middleweight champion Miguel Cotto, and he’s about to retire in December. Cotto hasn’t shown any interest in fighting good opposition at 154 since his loss to Austin Trout in 2012. That’s when Cotto stopped fighting good opponents in the 154lb. division.

It’s more likely that Lara has chosen to stay at 154 because he has a better chance of getting good paydays as a belt holder in that division than he would as a contender at 160. Contenders don’t usually get over $1 million each time they fight in non-risky fights. Lara gets well paid for his mismatches against the likes of Foreman, Rodriguez, Smith and now Gausha. Why would Lara want to mess that all up by moving up to 160 and be stuck as a contender without the size or the power to beat Canelo, Golovkin, Danny Jacobs or Jermall Charlo.

What’s strange to a lot of boxing fans is the Lara-Gausha fight is the main event on this Showtime World Boxing televised card. Of the 3-televised card, the Lara vs. Gausha fight is seen as the least interesting of the 3.

IBF World junior middleweight champion Jarrett Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs) weighed in at 153.6 lbs. for his defense against former WBA 154 lb. champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout (30-3, 17 KOs). Hurd, 27, looked great at the weight and ready to battle it out on Saturday. Trout weighed in at 153 lbs.

This is a must win fight for Trout, who lost his last fight against former IBF World super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo over a year ago on May 21, 2016. It’s kind of odd that Trout is being given a title shot with him coming off a loss in another world title shot against Jermall Charlo. That alone would seem to be enough to disqualify him as being a worthy challenger. It’s like a team losing in a bid to challenge for the Super Bowl, and then immediately getting another Super Bowl shot without having played a game for 1 year. This is way boxing is unfortunately. Once you build up a name, you get opportunities without having to earn them like other fighters. Trout clearly doesn’t deserve this title shot against Hurd. He’s just getting the crack at the title based off his name and past accomplishments, and of course due to his management.

Hurd is a pretty good fighter. He’s not a great one though, and he’s far from being the best guy in the 154lb division. Hurd wasn’t a great amateur fighter unlike most of the guys on Showtime’s 3-fight telecast on Saturday night. Hurd fought only 40 times in the amateur ranks before turning pro in 2012. Hurd learned on the job, and has shown steady improvement with each fight. Hurd won the vacant International Boxing Federation World 154lb. title in beating a flawed fighter in Tony Harrison on February 25 this year on the undercard of WBC heavyweight champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder’s defense against Gerald Washington at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama. Hurd stopped Tony Harrison in the 9th round to capture the vacant IBF junior middleweight title. On Saturday, Hurd will be making his first defense of his IBF strap.

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