Kerman Lejarraga destroys Frankie Gavin – RESULTS
By Mike Smith: EBU welterweight champion Kerman Lejarraga (27-0, 22 KOs) had little problems in destroying 33-year-old Frankie Gavin (26-4, 15 KOs) by a 4th round knockout last Saturday night at the Bilbao Exhibition Centre, Baracaldo, Spain.
The powerful punching Lejarraga, 26, flattened Gavin with a left to the body in the 4th round. Referee Christophe Fernandez then halted the fight. Gavin came in overweight by over five pounds last Friday in weighing in at 151 1/4 lbs at the weigh-in. The welterweight limit is 147 lbs. Gavin’s weight made him ineligible to fight for the EBU welterweight title last night. As it turns out, it didn’t matter. Lejarraga was too young and powerful for Gavin, and the fight turned out to be a big mismatch.
Lejarraga is rated #4 WBC and #4 WBA. He’s in position for a world title shot in 2019. Whether he has the talent and/or the experience to compete for a belt is another thing. It’s one thing for Lejarraga to defeat mediocre fighters like Gavin and Bradley Skeete, and quite another thing for him to take on WBC champion Shawn Porter or WBA belt holders Manny Pacquiao or Keith Thurman. Lejarraga is a good puncher, but he looks pretty basic with his fighting style. He can hit hard, but so can Pacquiao, Porter, Danny Garcia, Terence Crawford, Errol Spence Jr. and Keith Thurman.
This was the second big win for Lejarraga over a UK fighter in 2018. He defeated Bradley Skeete earlier this year in stopping him in the 2nd round to win the vacant EBU welterweight title last April. Lejarraga looked impressive in beating Skeete.
The one thing that boxing fans are forgetting about Lejarraga’s wins this year is the fact that he’s facing guys with very little punching power and defensive skills. Lejarraga didn’t need to worry about getting hit back by a hard punch like he would if he were facing the cream of the welterweight division. There’s a big difference in Lejarraga fighting Gavin and Skeete than there is if he were battling Errol Spence Jr., Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, and Terence Crawford. Those fighters would all destroy Gavin and Skeete as well, and perhaps even quicker.
Lejarraga’s promoter Lou Dibella wants to have his fighter come over to the United States to take on the big names. When Dibella does bring Lejarraga over, he’s likely going to be very selective in the guys he puts him in from the start. He won’t stick Lejarraga in with Errol Spence Jr., Terence Crawford, Keith Thurman or Shawn Porter. Those guys are too advanced. It’s more likely we’ll see Lejarraga fighting guys like Joseito Lopez, Andre Berto, Keita Obara and Rashidi Ellis.
The loss for Gavin puts his career in jeopardy. This was his third knockout loss in the last three years, and perhaps the toughest one for him to take. Gavin was knocked out in the past by Kell Brook and Sam Eggington. Gavin had turned things around recently in winning three fights in a row over Kevin McCauley, Felix Matamoros and Renald Garrido. Gavin looked good in beating those three, but none of them are in the same league as the top fighters at 147. Gavin doesn’t have the talent to compete at the highest rungs of the welterweight division. We’ve seen that now in his four losses. Moreover, Gavin can’t make weight for the 147 lb division, and he needs to move up to 154 for him to be counted on to make weight. The issue confronting Gavin in fighting at junior middleweight is he lacks the size, speed, power and talent to compete against the best fighters in that weight class. Even though Gavin is a junior middleweight in size, he’s not as powerful, fast or talented as the best guys in that division. As a result, Gavin is forced to fight at welterweight, a division he can’t make weight for.
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