ERISLANDY LARA, JERMELL CHARLO & JARRETT HURD SUCCESSFULLY DEFEND 154-POUND TITLES IN WORLD CHAM
On a night where the Super Welterweight division was on showcase with 3 title fights, both the youth and experience of the division were able to put on an entertaining display. The event started with a bang as veteran Austin Trout faced young champion Jarrett Hurd, who was making the first defense of his IBF title. Trout entered the fight after being out of the ring for the previous 16 months. Prior to the bout it was felt that Trout's inactivity would be a huge handicap for him as he was the elder of the two fighters.
Trout started off the bout in tremendous fashion. If inactivity was a question heading into the bout, Trout certainly did not show any ill affects early on. He was able to catch Hurd with straight left hands and stifle the young champion with his movement the first half of the fight. However, Trout did carry a pace that was not common to him and appeared to catch up to him after round 6. Hurd was cut in round 7 from an incidental head-butt. But that did not detour the young champion.Trout appeared to be gassed in round 7, as Hurd was able to stun him a few times. Hurd appeared to grow stronger as the fight went on even with the cut over his eye. Trout developed a mouse under his right eye in round 9. The mouse definitely factored into Trout's corner stopping the fight at the end of round 10 as the swelling was excessive and he appeared to have no legs left as the movement he displayed in the first half of the bout was no longer present.
The second fight of the night pit 2016 prospect of the year Erickson Lubin against WBC champion Jermell Charlo. On paper this fight was definitely worthy of being the main event. For the 22 year-old Lubin, some felt this fight may have come too early in his career including Jermell Charlo, but he was certainly up the challenge in his first opportunity to fight for a title. Both started off the fight tentatively as it was Lubin who looked to establish his jab from the southpaw stance. In pre-fight interviews Lubin felt the first few rounds of the bout would ultimately be a chess match. However, Charlo also known as Iron Man had other plans for his young foe. Charlo threw a jab and followed it with a short right hook that knocked Lubin out immediately as he ducked into the punch. The referee called for a halt to the bout within seconds of Lubin falling awkwardly to the canvas. Charlo definitely made a statement with this first round knockout. In his post-fight interview, he called out winner of the previous bout Jarrett Hurd to unify titles.
The main event of the night marked the return of Erislandy Lara to the ring after being inactive since his January knockout of Yuri Foreman. He put his WBA and IBO titles on the line against Terrell Gausha of Cleveland, Ohio. Lara found a home for his straight left hand early in the fight and Gausha never seemed to have an answer for it. Lara is known for using every inch of the ring but he took an unfamiliar approach for this fight with Gausha. He stood in the pocket against Gausha, allowing him opportunities to go on the offensive. Gausha seemed reluctant to take the bait from Lara for majority of the fight. While he did have a few shining moments throughout the fight when he did decide to let his hands go, the flurries to the body of Lara came very sparingly. Gausha's output declined more after round 4 when he was knocked down with a short right hook followed by a left uppercut. Lara easily won the bout but it was another lackluster display for the long-reigning champion from Cuba. Lara is regarded as the most-skilled champion at 154, but with the entertainment factor that the younger champions at 154 bring to the table, Lara's main event days may be behind him unless he can land a unification bout against former training partner Jermell Charlo or Jarrett Hurd.