WBC orders Erislandy Lara vs. Julian William final eliminator
By Sean Jones: World Boxing Council have ordered a final eliminator between Erislandy Lara and Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams to decide the mandatory for WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo.
This is a very tough fight for Lara, 35, to take after the grueling fight he just had with Jarrett Hurd last April. Under normal circumstances, Lara would ikely agree to the Williams fight straightaway, but given how punishing his fight with Hurd was, it’s possible he’ll choose not to take it. Williams looked terrible in losing to Jermall Charlo by a 5th round knockout two years ago in 2016, but that was against a guy with huge power and size.
There’s no word whether #2 WBC Lara will agree to the fight or not. If Lara chooses not to take the fight, then the WBC will need to find someone else in their top 15 rankings that is willing to fight the 28-year-old Williams (25-1-1, 15 KOs) in the WBC eliminator.
The next highest ranked contender is #3 WBC Kell Brook. However, it’s unlikely that Brook will bother fighting J-Rock Williams, because he’s waiting and hoping to fight Amir Khan. The increasingly more and more fragile Brook isn’t about to take a risky fight against the 5’11” Williams and possibly ruin his shot at a big payday
Lara (25-3-2, 14 KOs) recently lost last April to Jarrett Hurd by a 12 round split decision in a unification fight. Hurd had too much size, power and youth for Lara, but the fight was still very close. It was a close enough fight where Lara would have a chance of beating Hurd in a rematch.
It probably wouldn’t be the wisest thing for Lara to fight Hurd again, but he would have at least a chance of winning. Assuming that Lara turns down the WBC’s decision to order him to face J-Rock, he can still pursue a fight against WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia.
Charlo, 28, doesn’t have a title defense scheduled for his WBC belt. That could be solved by the WBC for him if Lara and Williams agree to fight each other as ordered. Even if the Lara-Williams fight does take place, it likely won’t happen until the end of the year or in early 2019. Charlo (31-0, 15 KOs) needs to stay busy by fighting someone unless he’s satisfied with just fighting once in 2018. Charlo’s only fight this year was a close 12 round decision win over former World Boxing Association 154 pound champion Austin Trout last June.
In other boxing news, the WBC ordered WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter to make back to back title defenses. Porter recently captured the vacant WBC title in beating former two division world champion Danny Garcia by a 12 round decision on September 8 in a close fight. The WBC hasn’t picked out who Porter needs to defend against yet for his first mandatory. However, the second mandatory is Andre Berto (32-5, 24 KOs). The 35-year-old Berto put himself in as the WBC secondary mandatory challenger in beating Devon Alexander 12 round split decision last August. Berto had lost two out of his last three fights at the time he fought Alexander, which makes you wonder why the WBC picked him of all people to fight in an eliminator rather than a contender whose career was running a little more smoothly.
Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman, who gave up his World Boxing Council belt after sitting out of the ring for 12 months, has the option of fighting for the title against Porter if/when he returns to the ring. It’s unlikely Thurman will want to take a tough fight with Porter in his first fight back after being on the shelf for close to two years, but he still has the option if he wants it.