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Erislandy Lara vs. Jarrett Hurd heading to StubHub Center, Carson, CA

Image: Erislandy Lara vs. Jarrett Hurd heading to StubHub Center, Carson, CA

By Jeff Aranow: The April 7th unification fight between Erislandy Lara and Jarrett Hurd on Showtime is reportedly heading to the StubHub Center in Carson, California. RingTV broke the news of the Lara-Hurd fight heading to the StubHub Center. It’s still not official though.

It’s an odd place to stage the Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs) vs. Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) fight, because the two fighters’ fan basses are on the East Coast rather than the West Coast.

WBA Super World junior middleweight champion Lara, 34, will be meeting up with IBF World 154 lb. champion Hurd in this important unification fight. The winner of the Lara vs. Hurd fight is expected to face WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo (30-0, 15 KO), who is interested in fighting the winner of that match. It would give Charlo, 27, the chance to add another 2 world titles to his collection. The only belt that would be out of Charlo’s grasp would be the WBO title, which is currently in the possession of Golden Boy fighter Sadam Ali.

5 years ago, Lara defeated pressure fighter Alfredo Angulo by a 10th round knockout in June 2013 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. It was an exciting match that saw Lara knocked down 2 times with body shots in rounds 4 and 9 in the fight before the contest was stopped in the 10th round due to swelling of Angulo’s left eye. Hurd, 27, uses the same kind of pressure style as Angulo, but he’s a lot bigger and stronger than the Mexican.

The 6’1” Hurd is much younger than the 5’9” Lara, who will be turning 35-years-old on April 11. Hurd has a 2 inch reach advantage as well. Hurd is simply a bigger, stronger and younger fighter than Lara. That doesn’t mean that Hurd will win. Hurd was having a lot of problems in his last fight against Austin Trout in the first 8 rounds before he wore him down with his pressure and stopped him in the 10th round on October 14h. The southpaw Lara moves a lot more than Trout, so he’s likely going to force Hurd to cut off the ring on him to force him to exchange. But if Angulo and Saul Canelo Alvarez were able to press Lara and give him problems, Hurd will do the same thing.

This will be a war of attrition type of fight. Both guys will take punishment. The question is does Lara still have enough youth to turn back the threat of the younger, bigger and stronger Hurd? We’ve already seen that Hurd is willing to take any amount of punishment in order to land his hard punches to the head and body of his opponents. Hurd’s last 2 opponents Trout and Tony Harrison hit him with everything but the kitchen sink, but he was able to come on late to stop them both. Hurd knocked out Harrison in the 9th round on February 25, 2017. Harrison was ahead on 2 of the scorecards at the time by a 77-75, 77-75 and 76-76,

Lara and Hurd both fought on the same card on Showtime on October 14. Lara defeated Terrell Gausha by a workmanlike 12 round unanimous decision. Hurd stopped Trout in the 10th round. Hurd put in a much more exciting performance, as he was going to war with Trout the entire fight. Hurd took everything Trout could dish out in that fight in the early rounds, and he came on strong in the later part of the contest to get the stoppage. Lara’s fight with Gausha was boring in comparison. Lara boxed the whole time, and threw mostly pot shots. The boxing fans at ringside wanted to see Lara make a fight of it, as his match against Gausha was the main event rather than co-feature or the first fight of the televised portion of the card. Lara wouldn’t take any chances of going to war with Gausha.

Lara chose to use safety-first approach to the fight by boxing the entire contest to avoid getting hit. In hindsight, Showtime should have known better than to have Lara as the main event and Hurd the co-feature. But at least with Hurd now fighting Lara, it means their fight will be exciting regardless. Hurd will force Lara to punch with him whether he wants to or not. If Lara runs from Hurd for 12 rounds like he did against Saul Alvarez in 2014, then it’s going to be a really hard fight to watch. Canelo was chasing Lara for 12 rounds, and he was only able to hit him with 31 head shots during the entire fight due to his movement.

“These guys got to fight me,” said Lara said to “When I fight action fighters, I make good entertaining fights like I did with Paul Williams and Angulo. These young guys have to bring that out, and if not I’ll cruise to a decision.”

It’s too bad Lara isn’t able to initiate offense on his own to make his fights a little more palatable for the average boxing fans. I don’t think you can compare Hurd to the slender Paul Williams, who had started his career out at welterweight. Hurd is more like a big middleweight with lots of power than bulked up welterweight like Paul Williams was when he fought Lara. That fight took place 7 years ago when Lara was 28. He’s not that age anymore, and he’s fighting a much bigger fighter in Hurd.

Even if Lara wins, it’s going to be interesting to see whether Hurd can force him to fight him or not. Lara is obviously is going to try and move all around the ring to avoid Hurd like he did against Canelo. The thing that Hurd has going for him that Paul Williams didn’t is he’s a pressure fighter, and he doesn’t mind taking shots in order to land his harder shots. This is going to be a very hard fight for Lara. For his sake, he needs to show that he can stand and fight, because he could badly hurt his popularity if he’s seen running from Hurd for 12 rounds.

Hurd has an excellent chance of ending Lara’s 4-year reign as the WBA 154 lb. champion. Lara hasn’t taken a lot of chances in terms of his title defenses. He’s been largely playing it safe in defending against older fighters with Showtime televising the mismatches.

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