Lara, Charlo, & Hurd Win Big

By Caryn A. Tate on October 14, 2017
Lara, Charlo, & Hurd Win Big
Lubin threw a left hand and Charlo timed him. Nothing huge, but it landed. (Trapp Photos)

WBC super welterweight world champion Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo faced top contender Erickson “The Hammer” Lubin…

On Saturday, Premier Boxing Champions presented one of the best cards of the year at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The event, broadcast on SHOWTIME, featured a triple-header in the super welterweight division. All three bouts were title fights, and all three were excellent match-ups—and at least two of them were pick-’em fights going in.

In the main attraction, Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs), the IBO and WBO super welterweight world champion, took on U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha (20-1, 9 KOs). Lara, a Cuban amateur standout and a phenomenally skillful fighter, is widely considered the best boxer in the division.

Lara, a southpaw, began landing his straight left hand frequently in round one. Gausha got a slow start, feeling out the champion. In the second round he picked up his pace a bit more, letting his hands go more, but Lara used excellent blocking and most of the shots didn’t land. Lara, however, was also pretty aggressive and on occasion landed some beautiful combinations on his challenger.

Lara’s use of feints, manipulation of distance, and ring IQ were on beautiful display from the start. Gausha tried, but he just didn’t seem to feel comfortable enough to let his hands go, and Lara should be credited for that. He didn’t allow Gausha to get off or be first.

In round four, the crowd began to boo and immediately afterward, Lara knocked Gausha down with a beautiful left uppercut. The challenger didn’t appear to be hurt enough for Lara to feel it was time to end it—Gausha’s legs were still good, but it didn’t help his punch output. His confidence seemed affected negatively by the knockdown and he began clamming up even more.

As the rounds progressed, Lara continued to put on a boxing clinic. He dominated Gausha in the majority of the rounds by controlling the pace, distance, location, and timing of the fight. Gausha showed heart and he tried, but he just didn’t appear to have the tools to make it the kind of fight necessary to make someone of Lara’s caliber uncomfortable.

The commentators on the Showtime broadcast, with the exception of Paulie Malignaggi, didn’t seem to appreciate much of what Lara showed in the ring. They seemed bored on occasion and, while they often sought to compliment the champion, they struggled with what to say. After the fight ended, Mauro Ranallo called the bout a “rather somnambulant affair.” It’s odd to see highly trained analysts take this sort of approach to a top-level fighter like Lara (and also odd that rarely does anyone ever criticize the opponent for not making it more of a fight). Rather than focusing on negative aspects of a fighter’s style, it would be a breath of fresh air if commentators made more of an effort to talk about the technique of a superb fighter like Lara. In this specific bout, they could easily have called out Lara’s smooth and effortless footwork, his accurate and sharp punching, his ownership of the ring, the fact that he dictated nearly every aspect of the fight from round one. It’s important, particularly for casual boxing fans who are watching a fight on television and may not have yet had the opportunity to see a wide variety of fighters or bouts, that the analysts educate. Explain to people who may not yet know enough about the sport what they’re seeing and why a fighter is boxing the way he is. Highlight why all styles should be appreciated, regardless of which are your favorites to watch.

Personally, I didn’t score one round for Gausha. He just wasn’t able to land enough clean punches on Lara, while Erislandy controlled not only the number of clean punches—which are, of course, the number one scoring criterion that takes precedence over all else—but every other criteria. Yet the judges somehow had Gausha winning three or even four rounds: Julie Lederman scored it 116-111, while Don Trella and Steve Weisfeld had it 117-110. This felt like the classic “he did better in that round, so I gave it to him” type of scenario. That situation does not mean said fighter actually won the round.

After the fight, Lara said to Showtime’s Jim Gray about how he made the bout look so easy, “I don’t study boxers. I take the rhythm of the fight and I control it from there.”

When asked who he wants to fight next, Lara said, “I’m the best at 154. I’m ready for whoever wants to face me—whichever one (Charlo or Hurd). It’s a business—I trained with [Jermell] Charlo, but if Charlo’s the fight, I’m gonna take it.”Prior to the main event, WBC super welterweight world champion Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs) faced top contender Erickson “The Hammer” Lubin (18-1, 13 KOs). Lubin walked to the ring in a Roman soldier costume reminiscent of Hector “Macho” Camacho.

Coming into the bout, Charlo had a more proven track record against top level opposition. Some questions surrounded the 22-year-old Lubin, despite how good he appears to be, and whether he was ready for this level. Those questions got answered tonight.

Both fighters started out feeling each other out, but Lubin was the first to throw shots with his power hand (the left, for him, being a southpaw). Still, Charlo made him miss with them but had yet to make the challenger pay for trying the shots at all. In the last minute of the round, though, Lubin threw a left hand and Charlo timed him, throwing and landing his own power hand. Nothing huge, but it landed. Then, a few seconds later, it happened again—Charlo used absolutely spectacular timing to anticipate Lubin’s next move, which was actually a defensive move as the challenger ducked to avoid what he thought was coming. Instead, Charlo surprised him and caught him with a short, inside right uppercut that was hard to see land in the moment.

Lubin went down hard. He tried desperately to get up, but his body simply wasn’t responding. The referee counted to five, then waved it off.

Charlo told Showtime’s Jim Gray in his post-fight interview, “I want another belt. Get me another belt!”

After confirming he was indeed okay after the knockout, Lubin was asked why the banter leading up to the fight had gotten so personal. “Because I’m young, and I’m hungry,” Lubin said.

Kicking off the broadcast earlier in the evening was IBF super welterweight world champion Jarrett “Swift” Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) defending his belt against former world champion Austin “No Doubt” Trout (30-4, 17 KOs).

Despite his three losses on paper—of which two were very close fights—Trout is a very difficult out for any fighter, and he was a legitimate world champion, having beaten the legendary Miguel Cotto in a dominating performance in 2012. Hurd won the title back in February of this year with a stoppage over Tony Harrison. Leading up to this fight, Trout was often heard mentioning his superior skills over Hurd’s; while Hurd mostly spoke about his desire to stop Trout, who has never been knocked out, to send a message to the rest of the division. Both points came into play in the fight.

There was a clear and obvious size advantage for Hurd, but early on Trout used his smaller size and excellent skillset to good effect. Trout started off fairly aggressively, while Hurd patiently felt out his southpaw opponent. While Hurd landed a couple of decent shots in round one, Trout clearly outlanded the champion and his superior speed and footwork was on display.

As the early rounds progressed, Trout utilized excellent movement by turning Hurd consistently, not allowing him to set his feet and get off, while Trout peppered him with big punches. Hurd followed his opponent around while Trout played with the range, periodically smothering the champion while Trout effectively landed short, powerful punches on the inside. In the third round, Hurd came on harder, focusing on throwing big shots, but while he looked a bit better, Trout still landed more of the clean punches and successfully turned and controlled Hurd while doing so.

The action continued like that until round six, when Trout seemed to tire a bit and the two fighters ended up in the middle of the ring going to war. Hurd landed a clean, solid right hand that shook Trout, but the former champion recovered well and landed some excellent shots of his own, including a couple of great uppercuts. But towards the end of the round, Hurd landed another right hand that caused Trout’s legs to get shaky. It was the first round I could give Hurd.

In the seventh, Hurd seemed to see that Trout was a little tired and it gave the champion confidence. Perhaps as a result of this, Hurd began to use some odd timing and movements to good effect. Trout was getting hit a bit more but he made it a tight round to score. An accidental headbutt caused a huge cut over Hurd’s left eye and the blood flowed. At the end of the round, Hurd landed a clear, hard right hand to the back of Trout’s head, which the referee didn’t call or give a warning for.

Hurd came on stronger over the next several rounds, finally winning a string of his own. He seemed to gain energy, which was surprising considering the number of punches he’d taken in the first half of the fight—particularly to the body. Trout was getting tired, and Hurd began landing the occasional hard punch upstairs. As the rounds went on, he periodically landed a combination on Trout. Austin began to slow down and was no longer turning his opponent. To make matters worse, he had swelling around his right eye that seemed to make it harder for him to see.

In round ten, Hurd landed more and Trout seemed to be in more trouble. After the round ended, the doctor went to Trout’s corner to check on his eye for a second time, and advised the referee to stop it. It was an excellent fight, and both fighters showed their strengths.

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  1. Pontius Pilate 04:00pm, 10/15/2017

    154 is so much BS….these guys are middleweights plain and simple. Forget Lubin and Gausha….can Canelo beat the Charlos? Hurd? Did he beat Trout? Lara? Really?  GGG doesn’t need to move up….he already had that experience when he fought 185 lb Jacobs! GGG can finish out his career with this cast of characters…and guess what….Spence into the bargain!

  2. Pontius Pilate 08:18am, 10/15/2017

    First off Julie Lederman had it right at 116-111….the total dominance that you describe didn’t happen because in an attempt to increase his marketability he stayed in the pocket instead of flitting about the ring as he will most certainly do if he fights Jermall or Hurd. Big headed, brutish Lightheavyweight Hurd gave his best impression of the Frankenstein monster while Trout showed what a real fighter is all about as the beast ate his punches and finally mangled Austin. Both Charlos are clearly deranged with Jermall ever so close to physically attacking Jim Grey for having the temerity to ask if he was OK after the wack a doodle goings on at ringside.

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