Erislandy Lara faces Jarrett Hurd tonight – Prediction
By Allan Fox: Erislandy Lara and Jarrett Hurd will meet up tonight in the main event in their unification fight at 154 on ShowTime Championship Boxing at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs) will have his WBA Super World junior middleweight title up for grabs against the younger, taller, bigger, stronger high-volume puncher IBF World 154 lb. champion Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs), who is fighting at a very high level at this point in his career.
The 27-year-old Hurd is the bigger puncher of the two, and he throws a lot more punches. Hurd is basically a boiled down middleweight with size that makes him a problem for anyone in the middleweight division. In terms of weight, Lara is also a middleweight. He rehydrates to the low 170s for his fights in the 154 lb. weight class, and he weighs around the same weight as IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin, but he chose to fight at junior middleweight. Obviously, it’s an advantage for Lara to stay at 154 rather than move up to middleweight to fight guys his own size. But in tonight’s fight with Hurd, Lara is facing a guy that is also a true middleweight, but with much more size and power than him. What this means is Lara is likely going to get on his bike the way he did in his loss to Saul Canelo Alvarez in 2014 and try and avoid Hurd for 12 rounds.
It could be very boring tonight if Lara runs as much as he did against Canelo, but there’s no way he can match Hurd’s punching power and high work rate if he chooses to stand and fight with him. Lara is too old, weak and small to fight Hurd in a one-on-one fight. He’s got to move and pot shot using the Floyd Mayweather Jr. style of fighting for him to have a chance of winning.
Hurd, 27, has studied how Alfredo Angulo fought Lara in their fight in June 2013, and he plans on using some of the things he saw from the Mexican fighter to trouble him. Angulo applied constant pressure on Lara, hitting him with body shots rather than focusing on throwing to the head. It worked well for Angulo with him knocking Lara down twice in the fight in rounds 4 and 9. However, the contest was halted in the 10th round due to Angulo suffering a swollen eye. At the time of the stoppage, Lara was narrowly ahead on two of the judges’ scorecards 85-84, 85-84, and losing 86-83 on the other. Angulo’s lack of hand speed wasn’t a big problem for him in the fight, as he spent most of the time targeting Lara’s midsection and causing him problems. It was clear that Lara did not like getting hit to the midsection, and he had problems avoiding those shots from Angulo. What Lara ultimately did was run, and it looked really bad, causing boxing fans to boo. Saul Canelo Alvarez used the same strategy against Lara in his fight with him a year later in July 2014. Canelo targeted Lara’s body, and ignored his head entirely. Canelo was able to land hard body shots the entire 12 rounds to win a close 12 round split decision.
“All Mexicans fight with their hearts. We’ll have to see if he [Hurd] does that in the ring, but Lara is a good fighter and he’s demonstrated that with his Cuban style,” Alfredo Angulo said to Fighthype in analyzing the Lara vs. Hurd fight. “I hope Hurd can do what he says and make it a good fight.”
Hurd was getting out-boxed in his recent fights by Austin Trout and Tony Harrison, but he was able to take their best shots and wear them down with his relentless style of fighting. Hurt’s nonstop pressure and his work rate was too much for Harrison and Trout, causing both to fold in the later rounds. But early on, Hurd was getting the worst of it by Harrison and Trout, and it looked like he was going to lose. Hurd just kept coming forward with his heavy punches, and he broke them both down with his Gennady Golovkin style of fighting.
The question for Lara is whether he can throw enough punches to match the high work rate from Hurd. Lara isn’t going to win rounds if all he does is run from Hurd. That style likely won’t impress the judges in Las Vegas tonight. If Hurd is seen as coming forward throwing most of the shots all night long, the judges are likely going to give him the rounds. Some boxing fans compare Hurd to the lanky Paul Williams, who Lara dominated but was given a controversial 12 round majority decision loss to in July 2011. I don’t think that’s a good comparison. Williams moved up in weight from welterweight, and he was a weak, volume puncher. Williams was nowhere near the puncher that Hurd is, and he was not heavy for that weight division. The 6’1” Hurd rehydrates well into the 170s for his fights at junior middleweight, and he’s a tremendous puncher with either hand. Lara is getting old at 34, and he’s fighting a much younger 27-year-old guy with a lot of size, power and a very high work rate in Hurd.
This fight could be a tough one for Lara even if he was in his 20s, but the fact is he’s about to turn 35. It’s a tough time for him to be facing a big puncher like Hurd. Lara also hasn’t fought a good opponent for many years. His management has let him milk his WBA title against mediocre old fighters like Ishe Smith, Yuri Foreman, Jan Zaveck and Delvin Rodriguez. None of those guys deserved title shots against Lara, and yet he still fought them. Lara has been taking it very easy as the WBA champion, and now suddenly, he’s facing a very good fighter in Hurd. The timing isn’t good for Lara. This fight would have made more sense for him in 2013 or 2014, when Lara was still fighting quality opposition, but now the contest is coming at a tough time with him having fought poor opposition for the last 4 years.
If Hurd and not weight drained from boiling down to 154, he has a very good chance of beating up the older Lara and stopping him with body shots. Hurd will be moving up in weight to 160 soon, because he’s in the same boat Jermall Charlo was in making weight for the division.
Youth will prevail, and Hurd will win by 12 round decision.
The co-feature bout between IBF super middleweight champion Caleb Truax (29-3-2, 18 KOs) and James DeGale (23-2-1, 14 KOs) should be a good one too. It pits a power puncher vs. a slapper, and it could be a fun fight to watch if DeGale doesn’t run around the ring too much. The last time they fought, the 32-year-old DeGale spent most of the fight covering up on the ropes and taking enormous punishment. The only reason DeGale wasn’t knocked out is because Truax slowed down his work rate in the later rounds. Neither of these guys is among the best in the division. DeGale is a played-out fighter that was never a strong champion to begin with, and Truax is just a guy that got lucky in fighting an over-the-hill champion. It’s a toss-up as far as who wins tonight. My guess is DeGale will slap his way to a decision, but it could be boring to watch if he moves too much.
DeGale wins a 12 round decision.