All three 154-pound world champions prevailed on a night where the division's best put on an exciting show in Brooklyn, New York.

Lara vs Gausha

WBA champion Erislandy Lara lands a straight left hand on Terrell Gausha in the main event of a 154-pound title tripleheader Saturday, Oct. 14 in Brooklyn, New York. (Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment)

Erislandy Lara looks like one of those athletes that never ages. Sure, the Cuban expatriate has those little creases and cracks in his face that boxing veterans accumulate from the years of wars. But overall, Lara seems like he can go on forever.

Against untested Terrell Gausha, that’s what the 34-year-old titlist looked like, knocking his younger opponent down in the fourth en route to a unanimous decision and retain his title before 7,643 fight fans at Barclays Center.

Gausha (20-1, 9 KOs) did close to nothing. Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs) reached a comfort zone early and stayed there. He kept Gausha off with a jab and used distance to build a big lead. Gausha had his moments, though they were sparse. Feeling a sense of urgency, Gausha opened up briefly in the seventh and went after Lara.

But Lara, a southpaw, found his rhythm again. 

“We want to give a lot of credit to Gausha. He’s an Olympian and he came to fight. I take the rhythm of the boxing match and that’s when I take over. He’s fighting with the best in the division. He’s not a stupid fighter, but he knew who he was facing today.

“I’m ready to box anyone that comes my way. I’m the best boxer at 154 pounds and I won’t shy away from anyone that wants to fight me. I’ll box whoever, just line them up. I’m not afraid. I have proven that I’m a true champion. I’ll fight (Jermell) Charlo if I have to. We are friends, but business is business.”

Lara landed 121 of 528 total punches thrown to Gausha’s 77 of 329.

Charlo vs Lubin

WBC champion Jermell Charlo looks back on his devastating first-round KO of Erickson Lubin. (Ed Diller/Dibella Entertainment)

Jermell Charlo shocks Erickson Lubin

No one saw it coming. It was fast, devastating and shocking. If you blinked, you missed it. Jermell Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs) slugged Erickson Lubin (18-1, 13 KOs) with unbelievable torque, leaving the highly regarded Lubin in a heap on the canvas at 2:41 of the first round. Referee Harvey Dock never bothered counting.

Entering the fight, some thought Lubin was taking too big of a step in fighting someone as experienced in Charlo. Maybe it was. Lubin moved to his left trying to move from a Charlo left jab. Consequently, Lubin was down and bent over when disaster struck in the form of a Charlo right uppercut.

Lubin immediately fell. Dock looked down and waved it over.

That was it.

“They were giving him a lot of attention,” Charlo said. “I was quiet the whole time. They said they were going to come take my title. I had to defend it. They didn't know what I was brining into this and I think (Lubin) was worried about the wrong things.

“We're going to unify. The other champions want to fight me and I'll take any of them. Give me another title. I want Hurd. Hurd just won. Give me Hurd.”

The stunned Lubin said afterward, “I’m fine.  He caught me with a blind shot. I didn’t see it coming. He landed it. I felt like when I got up I could have kept fighting, but it’s boxing. It happens.

“This is boxing and I got caught with a nice shot on the chin and couldn't recover in time. I didn't see the punch coming, so I have no excuses. I'm young and have plenty of fight left in me. This is just a minor setback. I'll be back sooner than later and hungrier than ever.”

Hurd vs Trout

IBF champion Jarrett Hurd lands a hard right against Austin Trout in their title fight Oct. 14 at the Barclays Center. (Ed Diller/Dibella Entertainment)

Hurd outlasts Trout in an unforgettable slugfest

They couldn’t miss each other if they tried. It had the feel of a collision you would find in the mid-1950s on a Zenith black-and-white on an autumn Friday night watching the “Gillette Cavalcade of Sports.”

That’s the impact the Jarrett Hurd-Austin Trout fight had on those watching, and obviously the two participating for Hurd’s title. As an indication as to how close this fight was, Hurd landed 190 of 579 total punches (32%) to Trout’s 187 of 576 (32%), according to ShoStats. Neither fighter gave way.

Hurd, who at 27 years old, 6'1" and 76½” reach, held all of the physical advantages over the 32-year-old Trout, who stood 5'9" and had a 72” reach. Trout had not won a fight in over two years. The scar tissue around both of his eyes was thought to be too thin. A whisper could open a cut there. At 32, his best thought to be behind him.

For 10 rounds, it would have been hard to convince anyone of that.

Trout, the former junior middleweight titlist, put on an incredibly valiant display. So much so that the Hurd-Trout fight may be a Fight of the Year candidate.

In the end, however, Trout (33-4, 17 KOs) couldn’t sustain the frenetic place of the younger Hurd. By the 10th, the corner of Trout, who had both eyes badly swollen, justifiably stopped it.

Trout had a fantastic second round, which was answered by Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) in the third. After the third, Trout’s right eye was beginning to swell. Still, every shot Hurd made, Trout countered back. The hovering question was how long Trout would be able to keep with the pace.

Trout answered that in the fourth, working well up and down. Hurd, however, kept coming. 

The 10th meant the end for Trout. Hurd smothered him with devastating power shots, causing Trout’s head to snap back. In the round, Hurd landed 38 of 74 (51%) power punches to Trout’s decreased work rate of 8 of 39 (20%).

“It’s most definitely tougher to defend the title than win it,” Hurd said. “I’m always the one that comes on stronger at the end of the fight. We knew we were going to wear Austin Trout down in the later rounds and eventually stop him. My cut made me a little better with my head movement.

“I'm always a slow starter. Trout was good in the beginning, but I showed that it's tough trying to go the distance with Jarrett Hurd.

"The cut over my left eye came early in the seventh round from an accidental head butt, but I feel like that actually helped force me to move my head better. Team Swift, we don’t run from anyone. I’m ready to unify. 2018 is the year for unifications. It doesn't matter who it is. I’m ready to fight anyone.” 

For complete coverage of Lara vs GaushaCharlo vs Lubin, and Hurd vs Trout, visit our fight page.

Charlo vs Lubin Highlights: October 14, 2017 (Showtime Sports)

Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares both publicly agreed that with wins on Saturday evening, the next logical step was a rematch of their August 2015 classic slugfest.

An unspoken agreement came of their respective performances, both turning in near-perfect performances in separate legs of a Premier Boxing Champions on Fox telecast Saturday evening from the StubHub Center in Carson, California. 

Santa Cruz made the first defense of his second tour as featherweight champion with a one-sided 8th round stoppage of Chris Avalos in the evening’s main event. The win was every bit as dominant as Mares’ technical unanimous decision victory over Mexico’s Andres Gutierrez in the co-main event, pitching a near-shutout to register the first defense of his featherweight belt. 

By the time he entered the ring for his own title defense, Santa Cruz was already able to take in the masterpiece turned in by Mares, whom he outpointed more than two years ago to begin his first featherweight title run. Having since lost and regained his title in a pair of thrillers with Carl Frampton, the free-swinging pressure fighter from California by way of Mexico sought to make a statement on the heels of a career-long nine-month layoff, wasting no time in immediately taking the fight to Avalos.

The opening three minutes set the tone for how much of the main event would play out. Avalos refused to back down, but was miserably outgunned in what served as his second career title fight. A high octane opening round for Santa Cruz was punctuated with a pair of right hands that briefly shook his challenger. 

Avalos did his best to stand his ground, showing a willingness to trade with the defending champion in rounds two and three but paying a heavy price. Santa Cruz ended round three with another booming right hand and had the Lancaster, Calif. product in serious trouble in round four. When a stoppage didn’t present itself, he made sure to heed the advice of his father and trainer, Jose Santa Cruz in between rounds. 

“I had a long layoff, I was trying to go in there and please the fans, brawl and go toe-to-toe,” Santa Cruz (34-1-1, 19 KOs) admitted after the win. “I wasn't doing what my corner was telling me I was trying too hard to please the crowd. Then my dad told me, “What are you doing in there, you need to box.” 

Just as he listened to his father in making an optional defense before heading into a Mares rematch, Santa Cruz decided to slow down just enough to make it a boxing match in the middle rounds. It was still target practice for the defending champion, who landed 42% of his punches over the course of the evening, but none bigger than the volley of shots to end the contest. 

Santa Cruz had Avalos in trouble late in round seven, and decided the night had lasted long enough. Round eight saw the four-time champion in three weight divisions pour on a power-punching assault, connecting on a staggering 70% of his power punches in prompting referee Thomas Taylor to stop the contest with Avalos still on his feet. 

The official time was 1:34 of round eight. 

With the rust-shaking optional defense out of the way, the defending champion can go back to focusing on bigger game. 

“I said before tonight, if I won this fight and Abner Mares won his fight, let’s get it on for the first fight [of 2018],” insists Santa Cruz. “I wanted to take this fight first to see how my body feels. Now we’re ready for Mares.”

I said before tonight, if I won this fight and Abner Mares won his fight, let’s get it on for the first fight [of 2018]. Leo Santa Cruz, following his defeat of Chris Avalos

Mares vs Gutierrez Highlights: October 14, 2017

It seems Mares is equally as ready for such an event, though having to settle for a technical decision win over Gutierrez. 

The initial reaction suggested that the 2004 Mexican Olympian and three-division world champion had produced a stoppage win. The bout was halted due to a cut over Gutierrez’ left eye that gushed from round two onward, a testament to the level of commitment put forth by Mares, who knew when to slug and when to box over the course of their featherweight title fight.

“I’m 31 and looked 27 years old in there tonight,” quipped Mares (31-2-1 15KOs), though an odd statement to make considering what took place in his career when he was in fact 27 years old. It was a year that produced his first career loss, a stunning 1st round knockout at the hands of Jhonny Gonzalez in this very venue on a night designed to lead to a showdown with Santa Cruz while both were still unbeaten.

Mares has since won five of his past six starts, the lone loss coming at the hands of Santa Cruz in Aug. ’15. He rebounded with a title-lifting points win over Jesus Cuellar last December, and battered Gutierrez in his first defense. A stoppage victory appeared imminent the moment Mares sliced a cut over his challenger’s left eye in round two, which in fact came from a punch.

The wound served as a bullseye and only worsened over the course of the contest. Gutierrez did his best to make a fight of it, but would only earn points for his bravery and durability as he never hit the deck. 

He did, however, hit a wall as referee Jack Reiss decided in round ten that the cut was severe enough to require medical attention. The ringside physician offered a brief examination before deciding the 24-year old from Mexico was no longer fit to continue. Because it was determined the cut worsened from a clash of heads, though, the bout went to the scorecards. 

Mares was denied a stoppage victory, but scores of 99-91 (twice) and 100-90 declared him winner and still champion. 

“I thought they could have stopped it earlier,” said Mares. “He's a young guy who was too brave for his own good. 

“I was happy with the decision. I deserved the stoppage but I'm happy I got the win.”

It may not have been the finish he preferred, but still enough of a statement sent to the opponent he really wanted on this evening. 

“Leo…we gotta do this (again), baby,” Mares noted after the fight. “I’m thinking March, April… I’m ready to go.”

Opening the telecast, former lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco turned in an entry for Upset of the Year with a stunning 1st round stoppage of previously unbeaten super lightweight prospect Eduardo Ramirez.

For complete coverage of Santa Cruz vs Avalos, and Mares vs Gutierrez, visit our fight page.

WBA champion Erislandy Lara meets 2012 Olympian Terrell Gausha, WBC champ Jermell Charlo takes on top contender Erickson Lubin and IBF titleholder Jarrett Hurd faces former champion Austin Trout tonight on a Showtime title tripleheader at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

A 154-pound title tripleheader airs Saturday, Oct. 14 on Showtime at 10 p.m ET/7 p.m. PT.

Here’s something you don’t see everyday: six of the world's top 154-pounders fighting For three world championships on the same card.

All three matchups feature at least one participant faced with the burden of entering their biggest challenge to date, yet also carries the suggestion of pick-‘em affairs. 

The entire lineup also carries the caveat of not just winning the bout, but making enough of an impression to entice the fellow victors into title unification clashes in 2018.

So how can anyone claim the Premier Boxing Champions' superwelterweight title fight tripleheader on Showtime (which airs live at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) is anything short of must-see TV? 

The answer is: You can’t. 

It’s not just three titles on the line over the course of the evening at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, but all three carry future implications. The round-robin nature of the show means that the winners of each bout will see each other down the line in a battle to determine supremacy in the 154-pound division.

Erislandy Lara, in the seventh defense of his version of the 154-pound crown, faces unbeaten 2012 U.S. Olympian and current rising contender Terrell Gausha in the main event. Gausha joins Jarrett Hurd and Erickson Lubin as young hungry lions stepping up in class, even though Hurd is a champion making his first title defense.

Like Gausha, Lubin is putting his unbeaten record on the line in his first crack at a world title. Lubin, a former amateur standout and rising superstar, challenges champion Jermell Charlo, who is making his second title defense in a matchup of undefeated super welterweights. The bout is pegged by many experts as not just a 50/50 match, but a pairing of styles that has the makings of a Fight of the Year contender. 

Hurd is the lone wolf of the show. He is the champion stepping up in class in the first defense of the title he won earlier this year. The unbeaten Maryland resident faces former champ Austin Trout in a clash of youth versus experience. Trout is searching for one more (or one last) taste of the championship life, while Hurd hopes to stake his claim as a major player in a division on the threshold of crowning a clear-cut leader. 

Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs), the longest-reigning champion in the division, already believes that slot is filled and with a win on Saturday it will be confirmed. He claimed his title against Alfredo Angulo on June 8, 2013 and made his first defense against Trout at Barclays Center on Dec. 7, 2013.

“I'm going to have to show a little bit of everything: show my boxing, and show my power,’’ Lara said. “I will show everybody I'm the best in the 154-pound division, and I'm here for a long time.”

I will show everybody I'm the best in the 154-pound division, and I'm here for a long time. WBA 154-pound world champion Erislandy Lara

Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs) was only three fights into his pro career when Lara, who turned away former champ Yuri Foreman in his most recent title defense this past January. Still, the unbeaten Cleveland resident believes he is ready for this moment and views the matchup not as a major step up in class but the perfect platform to showcase his full potential. 

“This is going to be my best performance to date and I look to be sharp and focused,” said Gausha, who climbed off the canvas to outpoint Luis Hernandez this past February in Toledo, two hours from his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. “I love the competition and the tough challenges, and I look to be at point on Saturday night.’’

Gausha was a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic boxing team with Errol Spence, Jr. and Rau’shee Warren, who have gone on to win world championships. Gausha said it’s time for the young guns to stand tall in boxing.

That sentiment is shared by Hurd and Lubin, who firmly believe youth will prevail over experience on this loaded night in Brooklyn.

“This is the fight I've been waiting for and that I've wanted, so I'm ready to fight,” said Hurd (20-0, 14KOs). "I really want to go out here and make a statement and be the first to stop Austin Trout and send him into retirement.” 

Barclays Center is the lone venue where Trout feels his only true career defeat took place, never disputing the outcome of his Dec. 2013 loss to Lara. Trout (30-3, 17 KOs) firmly believes he was wronged in questionable decisions at the hands of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Jermall Charlo (Jermell’s twin brother, whom outpointed Trout last May). This latest title shot comes with the additional challenge of exorcising past demons for the 32-year-old from Las Cruces, New Mexico. 

“I have a lot of family and friends and fond memories in Brooklyn, but probably the only guy on this show who can’t boast a good experience at Barclays,” said Trout. “But I’m thrilled to come back here, as I get to create new memories, one that will include my returning to the championship circle and then collecting all the belts in 2018 against the other winners on Saturday.”

The evening’s chief support is a battle of undefeated warriors. It’s also the one match where both sides are fighting for more than just a title, but to provide hope for hometowns ravaged by tragic hurricanes in recent times. Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) is also fighting for his hometown of Houston.

In his last appearance at Barclays Center, Charlo knocked out Charles Hatley in the fourth round.

“I told my brother [Jermall] that I'm competing with one of his knockouts against an undefeated fighter (Julian Williams last December),’’ Charlo said.  “It's not about the world title because my city needs it. My family needs it. My son loves it. Therefore, I've got my life on the line."

The 22-year-old Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs) who lives in Orlando, Florida shares that sentiment. He relocated his training camp from Florida to Hackensack, N.J. as Hurricane Irma barreled toward Orlando.

“This means everything. I'll be a big, huge inspiration to Orlando,” said Lubin. “I am already a huge inspiration to Orlando. I can't wait to bring it back to Orlando to give more people hope to go out there and do something positive.”

For a complete look at Lara vs GaushaCharlo vs Lubin, and Hurd vs Trout, visit our fight page.

Erislandy Lara vs Terrell Gausha,

Top 154-pound fighters (left to right) Jarrett Hurd, Jermell Charlo, Erislandy Lara, Terrell Gausha, Erickson Lubin and Austin Trout pose during the introductory press conference for their Oct. 14 title tripleheader on Showtime. (Stephanie Trapp/Showtime)

A rematch against Leo Santa Cruz sounds great on paper, but having suffered a devastating knockout before at the StubHub Center, Abner Mares isn't looking past any opponent.

Abner Mares vs Andres Gutierrez

126-pound champion Abner Mares must get past contender Andres Gutierrez before he can think about a rematch with Leo Santa Cruz. (Andy Samuelson / Premier Boxing Champions)

Abner Mares has one man standing in the way of a rematch with Leo Santa Cruz, and he isn't going to take him lightly.

If there is going to be a rematch, Mares and Santa Cruz must first both take care of business. Mares must face another hungry young fighter, once-beaten 24-year-old Andres Gutierrez. The bout is part of a championship doubleheader on FOX (7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT) that takes place Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

This will be Mares' second bout with renowned trainer Robert Garcia in his corner. At 31, Mares (30-2-1, 15 knockouts) looked revitalized with a split decision win over Jesus Cuellar last December in their first bout together. 

"Everything that’s working is working really good," Garcia said. "Training has gone great, sparring is beautiful. We have great sparring partners - young, hungry kids that want to prove themselves against Abner. And Abner is doing his work being able to control those young contenders that want to get in there and hurt him."

Mares is returning to the StubHub Center for the first time since suffering a devastating one-round knockout loss at the hands of Jhonny Gonzalez. It's been a long road back to the upper echelon of the 126-pound division, but after acquitting himself well in a close loss to Santa Cruz in their first fight — and the win over Cuellar — he's back in the conversation as one of the division's best talents.

“I will be returning to the scene of the crime but there have been many great fights there at the StubHub Center and we hope to give a good fight that night,” Mares said about returning to the same spot he lost to Gonzalez.

Mares can't look past Gutierrez (35-1-1, 25 KOs), a hungry fighter who is getting a second chance after a freak injury kept him from facing Carl Frampton earlier in the year. Gutierrez was set to face Frampton but slipped in the shower and broke his nose and lost two teeth.

I will be returning to the scene of the crime but there have been many great fights there at the StubHub Center and we hope to give a good fight that night. 126-pound World Champion Abner Mares, on returning to StubHub where he suffered a devastating KO by Jhonny Gonzalez

Opportunity has knocked twice and the hard-charging Mexican isn't going to waste it.

"Look, I’m coming to surprise everybody," Gutierrez said. "I feel very good. It is my dream to bring home the World Championship and I’m going to go ahead and really shock boxing fans in Los Angeles. I am not just an opponent."

Gutierrez is a notoriously slow starter and Mares should be able to use his experience to get out ahead early. At 5-foot-4 and ½ inches tall, Mares is slightly shorter than the 5-foot-6 Gutierrez, and only has a slight reach disadvantage. Mares will still look to take the fight inside, which suits Gutierrez - and the fans - well for a brawl.

A rematch with Santa Cruz hangs in the balance, but Mares made it clear he's not just interested in a rematch with his former foe, he wants fights with all the top-tier featherweights and a move to 130 pounds before he hangs them up.

"If I get Frampton over Leo next on the list, any order, Leo, Frampton, Gary Russell Jr., Oscar Valdez and if I could make it jump to 130 and if you’re still there Gervonta Davis. I’ll fight them,’’ Mares said. “That’s four or five fights that could totally be my career right there."

Gutierrez will be ending a one-year layoff when he faces Mares, the longest time out of the ring since turning pro in 2009.

"I'm back 100 percent from what happened in the whole Carl Frampton situation," Gutierrez said. "That's all behind me. My focus is Abner Mares. I'm ready for Abner Mares. You all will see on (Saturday) that I am 100 percent and extremely focused and ready."

For a complete look at Mares vs Gutierrez, visit our fight page.

A 126-pound championship doubleheader airs Saturday Oct. 14 on FOX at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT.

The talk surrounding Saturday's 126-pound championship doubleheader is about a future Leo Santa Cruz vs Abner Mares rematch, but Santa Cruz says he must pass a tough test first.

Leo Santa Cruz vs Chris Avalos

126-pound world champion Leo Santa Cruz faces Chris Avalos Saturday night in championship doubleheader on FOX. (Erick Ramirez/Premier Boxing Champions)

It’s easy for most boxers heading into a prizefight to dismiss talks of the future with “I’m just focused on the guy that’s in front of me.”

But what if you already know the future, and that it depends on getting past the guy in front of you? 

Such a scenario awaits Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares.

The two top featherweights are on a collision course for a rematch of their sensational Aug. 2015 thriller, in which a then-unbeaten Santa Cruz prevailed by 12-round decision to defend his featherweight title. He’s since lost and regained the crown. Now he will defend it again, against Chris Avalos Saturday night in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX (7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT), live from StubHub Center in Carson, California.

For the three-time world champion Santa Cruz there is no escaping the thought of his immediate boxing future. A win on Saturday night will put Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs) in direct line for an early 2018 rematch with Mares, who appears in the evening’s co-main event versus Mexico’s Andres Gutierrez.

“I'm prepared, motivated and focused for this fight with Avalos,” Santa Cruz said. “I need to win on Saturday so that I can get the Mares rematch. That's the fight that we want.” 

I'm prepared, motivated and focused for this fight with Avalos. I need to win on Saturday so that I can get the Mares rematch. 126-pound World Champion Leo Santa Cruz

It was the fight Santa Cruz wanted the moment he avenged his lone career loss versus Carl Frampton earlier this year, scoring a 12-round win barely six months after dropping a decision to the then-unbeaten Frampton of Northern Ireland last July. Had he been granted his wish, the rematch with Mares would’ve been the next fight on his ledger, in fact with earlier plans calling for the sequel to originally headline this card. 

So how did we get to separate title defenses before the two once again cross paths? Call it a case of father knows best. 

“I wanted the rematch real bad.” Santa Cruz said. “Right after the first fight, Abner asked for the rematch. I told him I’d give it to him, because it was only right. If he won (that night), I’d have wanted the rematch.

“I told my dad (Jose Santa Cruz, who also trains his son) that I’m ready right now. But he didn’t want to see me take on another tough fight after being out of the ring (for nine months). You don’t know how your body is going to react to the long layoff.” 

Enter Avalos (27-5, 20KOs) on the title stage. The 27-year old from California was once hot on the rise, but fell on hard times in the ring in recent years before turning things around in big way earlier this summer. 

A major upset stoppage win over Miguel Flores—albeit in controversial fashion—resurrected his falling career, putting him in line for a second career title shot.

“It would be a blessing to derail plans for a Santa Cruz-Mares rematch with a win (on Saturday),” Avalos said. “I've been in training and I've been working hard, staying focused, at the gym and jogging and if I'm not in the gym I'm with my family. 

“So it's been a really good chance for me, so yes, I'm really planning to pull an upset that night.”

Of course, any talks of a rematch could be rendered moot by the time the main event rolls around should the co-feature not go according to script. 

Mares (30-2-1, 15KOs) has fought just once since the loss to Mares, capturing a featherweight title of his own with a 12-round win over Jesus Cuellar last December. If he had his way, a shot at redemption versus Santa Cruz would’ve been next on his wish list.

But Papa Santa Cruz knows best—at least when it comes to his son, Leo.

For a complete look at Santa Cruz vs Avalos, visit our fight page.

A 126-pound championship doubleheader airs Saturday Oct. 14 on FOX at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT.

This week's PBC Jabs features a check-in from 126-pound champion Leo Santa Cruz ahead of his upcoming title defense. Plus, we preview our October 14th fight cards featuring five title fights on two networks, Fox and Showtime.

Get ready for another round of PBC Trivia!

Think you know the answer to this week's question? Submit your answer below, and if you guess correctly, you'll be entered to win a PBC t-shirt!

Four-time world champion Abner Mares talks about his upcoming 126-pound title defense, what it means to be a role model in the Mexican community and how he plans to end his career.

Abner Mares

126-pound champion Abner Mares hits the heavy bag during a recent training session as he prepares for his Oct. 14 title defense against Andres Gutierrez. (Ryan Greene/Premier Boxing Champions)

The altruism of three-division world champion Abner Mares is epitomized in his giving back to his native Mexico and mentoring youth in the Los Angeles community where he grew up.

Mares was 7 years old when his mother, Belen Martinez, made a treacherous journey with seven of her children from their native Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, to Los Angeles in search of a better life for her family. She worked three jobs early on to support them.

One of 11 siblings who grew up in Hawaiian Gardens in Los Angeles County – once called “The City of Hate” by Mares -- the 31-year-old counsels teenagers from rough areas such as South Central and Compton, and trains them at his Del Mares Gym in East Los Angeles.

Mares has provided tickets to his past two fights for underprivileged and at-risk youth, their parents and members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department whose Century Boxing Gym amateur program he financially supports and provides equipment for.

The Century’s Youth Activity League hosts Mares’ annual back-to-school drive highlighted by the donation of backpacks and other supplies. The champion also sponsors a Thanksgiving turkey giveaway and recently joined a pair of local businesses in loading donations onto trucks headed for earthquake-ravaged Mexico.

Mares (30-2-1, 15 KOs) is preparing for Andres Gutierrez (35-1-1, 25 KOs) as part of a 126-pound championship double-header featuring a defense by Leo Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs) against Chris Avalos (27-5, 20 KOs) from Stub Hub Center in Carson, California, airing live on FOX at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT on Oct 14.

Mares is making the first defense of the crown earned by split-decision to dethrone Jesus Cuellar in December, scoring an 11th-round knockdown to rebound from a majority decision loss to Santa Cruz in August 2015.

Mares shared his thoughts about life, charity and his upcoming fight in advance of a recent workout.

Will there be a symbolic gesture made to honor Mexico on your part?

Yes, we’re definitely having a patch on our shorts that will read, “Fuerza Mexico,” which means “Be Strong, Mexico.” It’s just letting them know that we’re here for them and that they’re in my heart.

How is training going under Robert Garcia?

I’m in Riverside, California, with Robert, and we’ve spent two years together although it’s only our second fight, so I’ve been blessed to work with him. We both know that the performance I put up against Cuellar in my last fight was solid and just what I needed.

Now against Gutierrez, we’re facing another tough fighter who is only 24 years old, is hungry and has an amazing record. He’s getting the opportunity to fight for a world title, and it’s going to be a hard fight. We’re mentally and physically prepared to display something new and better.

How dangerous is Gutierrez, who pulled out of a potential fight with Carl Frampton earlier this year due to an injury?

It’s a dangerous fight for a young guy like Gutierrez getting a title opportunity. I remember fighting Vic Darchinyan for an IBO title, and I just wanted to go out there and perform.

I was around the same age as Gutierrez, and it was an opportunity that I took advantage of.  I know it’s a tough task, and that I have to show my overall experience, abilities and conditioning.

A deal is apparently in place for a rematch with Santa Cruz in March, but what are your future goals?

This is my Christmas list. If I get Frampton or [126-pound champions] Leo, Gary Russell or Oscar Valdez, and if we can make the jump to 130 and fight [ex-titleholder] Gervonta Davis, I’ll fight them.

Those are four or five fights that could totally be my career, right there. You’ve got to think of the future, and that’s the way that I see it.

What are your thoughts on returning to the site of your initial loss to Gonzalez?

Gonzalez is the fight that changed my focus to having an effect on the world through boxing, where I realized, “Hey, you’re not invincible, you’re beatable” and just have to go out there and perform. You can win some and lose some.

You don’t know how long you’re going to be on top in boxing. So many kids are looking up to you, so I try to be that example of, “Hey, you can rise up from adversity.” I’m not here just to make a lot of money and look good on camera.

In retirement, you want that 20-year-old to come up to you and say, “Abner, I used to watch you growing up, I admire you, and, now, I’m a future world champion.” I want to be remembered as someone who changed as many lives as possible before retiring. That means more to me than a world title.

This is my Christmas list. If I get Frampton or Leo, Gary Russell or Oscar Valdez, and if we can make the jump to 130 and fight Gervonta Davis, I’ll fight them. 126-pound World Champion Abner Mares

Do you have a boxing idol or hero?

I don’t imitate his style, but I have always looked up to Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. growing up. There was also Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera who you watched on TV.

Of all the boxers in history, who do you wish you could’ve fought, and how would the fight have played out?

It would have been an exciting fight if I were to have fought either Erik Morales or Marco Antonio Barrera because of their styles. Barrera or Morales, standing there, toe-to-toe, would have been a great thing.

With someone like Juan Manuel Marquez, it would have been more of a technical fight.

Each of us likes to think in there and not just go throwing power punches. I’m not sure if that would be an exciting fight, but a Barrera fight against myself would have been stunning and a war. Obviously, I can’t bet against myself against any of them.

Finish this sentence: If not for boxing, I would be …

I would be either in prison or dead. There is a large percentage of friends that I had growing up who are all either dead or in prison, so I would have been within that percentage, also. But what’s great is that the other day, one of my friends brought his kid up to me and said, “Hey, champ, my son looks up to you.”

Then, he pulled me aside and said, “Hey, Abner, remember when you used to see me in the streets and I wasn’t doing too good, on drugs and not making sense?” I said, “Yes, and I’m happy that you’re doing well.” He said, “Yeah, I don’t make that much, but I’m with my family and I’m happy.”

To me, you have to use the platform not to be flashy, but to educate and motivate the young kids and everybody who is watching you. So when someone says, “Oh, you’re my idol, and I look up to you,” it’s great that his kid can go home and say, “Wow, that’s Abner Mares, and he’s my Dad’ friend.”

What about a favorite punch to throw?

Before Robert Garcia, I used to say that my left hook was pretty major, but, now, I’m getting very good with my jab. I know it’s not a knockout punch, necessarily, but it’s key. So you will see a more efficient jab in this fight.

Do you have a favorite boxing movie?

I like all of the Rocky movies, and I also like the recent movie, Southpaw. It tells you how it is where you have it all in one night, and then you can lose it all.

I didn’t finish watching the movie the first time because it touched me so deeply, but it gives you perspective.

If there was one thing you could change about the world, what would it be?

Hate. There’s so much racism, hate, jealousy and envy and all of the above going on in this world, nowadays, and that’s all that we see. So those are the No. 1 things I would change.

For a complete look at Mares vs Gutierrez, visit our fight page.

Four-time world champion Abner Mares returns to the ring in a 126-pound title doubleheader Oct. 14 on FOX.

Six of the world's top 154-pound boxers are ready to pay homage to their division's deep history, while trying to strengthen their own legacies Saturday night during a title tripleheader in Brooklyn, NY.

A 154-pound title tripleheader airs this Saturday, Oct. 14 on Showtime at 10 p.m ET/7 p.m. PT.

It’s a weight class that holds a list of greats, all-time greats and transcendent greats: Nino Benvenuti, Manny Pacquiao, Wilfred Benítez, Roy Jones Jr., Sugar Ray Leonard, Miguel Cotto, Thomas Hearns, Mike McCallum, Julian Jackson, Roberto Durán, Terry Norris, Tommy Hearns, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Winky Wright.

Almost all of them are Hall of Famers or will be Hall of Famers. Yet, if you asked most boxing experts what weight class most of the above fighters are associated with, not many would say 154 pounds. Although, every fighter listed fought and held titles in that weight class.

Throughout the history of boxing, junior middleweight, or super welterweight, whatever moniker you prefer, has sometimes held the status of the ugly redheaded stepchild that has been the conduit connecting two great historic divisions—the welterweight class and middleweight division.

On Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the current crop of world-class 154-pounders clash with titles at stake as WBA world chamion Erislandy Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs) meets 2012 U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs) in the main event of a 154-pound title tripleheader airing on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The other championship bouts feature WBC champion Jermell Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) vs WBC No. 1 contender Erickson Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs) and IBF titleholder Jarrett Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs) facing former 154-pound champ Austin Trout (30-3, 17 KOs).

Through time, the division has received a modicum of respect. Maybe this group can change that, because there isn’t really a deep history at 154.

By most accounts, the division was created by the Austrian Board of Control so Emil Griffith could fight—and defeat—Teddy Wright on October 17, 1962, in Vienna, Austria. It was on a Wednesday. And to show how nebulous the division’s history began, some accounts go back to the early 1920s as to the establishment of the 154-pound class.

Another account has the division making its legitimate debut on October 20, 1962, three days after the Griffith-Wright “world” junior middleweight title bout that was sanctioned in Austria. A sanctioning body approved of the Denny Moyer-Joey Giambra fight, won by Moyer in the Portland Coliseum. Sonny Liston was the referee. has the weight class being established in 1952.

So even the history of the 152-pound division gets greeted with some lack of respect.

The division’s longest streak of consecutive title defenses belongs to a middling Italian named Gianfranco Rosi, who defended his title a record 11 times—before meeting a real title holder in Donald Curry in 1988.

“The strongest historic time for the junior middleweight division was in the 1980s, and no offense to Gianfranco Rosi, he’s the one who’s made the most defenses as a junior middleweight champion,” said Showtime boxing broadcaster, noted boxing historian and Hall of Famer Steve Farhood. “Rossi was a good fighter, but he wasn’t Bernard Hopkins at middleweight, Bob Foster at light heavyweight and Roberto Duran at lightweight.

“Today’s junior middleweight class isn’t as strong as the division was in the 1980s, when you had the four kings (Leonard, Duran, Hagler and Hearns) hovering around 152, but is growing and has something to aspire to. I break down the division today into three categories. You have the veterans, which is obviously Lara and Trout, the other is the young stars, which is Jermell and Demetrius Andrade, who could move to middleweight, and then the younger guys, like Lubin, who could be a future champion.

“It’s a good mix of today, tomorrow and yesterday.”

Today’s junior middleweight class isn’t as strong as the division was in the 1980s, when you had the four kings (Leonard, Duran, Hagler and Hearns) hovering around 152, but is growing and has something to aspire to. Showtime boxing broadcaster and historian Steve Farhood

Farhood addressed the history of why junior middleweight has been sometimes viewed as a way station between welterweight and middleweight.

“Fighters go where the money is, and it’s like cruiserweight, the money has historically been at light heavyweight and heavyweight,” Farhood said. “Money has been at middleweight, and its why Ray Leonard moved up, and why Mike McCallum moved to 160. Historically, the money has always been at middleweight.

“Junior middleweight is not a division unlike any other weight class. Would Aaron Pryor not be Aaron Pryor if he fought at any other weight class than 140? I don’t know. The division is certainly capable of producing outstanding champions.”

John David Jackson held titles at 154 and at 160. Now a highly successful trainer, Jackson recalls how the division was viewed, and in the past how it was overlooked. Jackson ruled when Julian Jackson, Vincent Pettway, Rosi, Terry Norris, Curry and Vinny Pazienza came through there.

“There were a lot of great fighters at 154, and it is a division that doesn’t get the respect that it’s due, because it is in the shadow of the glamour division, which is the middleweight class,” Jackson said. “The weight was easy for me to make. I was a natural 154-pounder. But I had been a junior middleweight since I was 17 and it’s a weight class that you can grow out of.

“Today, there is also talent there. Like when I fought, it is a division that gets overlooked because of the middleweight division, which is obviously where you have Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. In my era, in the late-1980 and early-1990s, the top junior middleweights weren’t allowed to fight each other. Imagine how many great fights would have been made if the best were allowed to fight the best back then. I was turned down 35 times for a fight—and it was a title fight.”

One time, Jackson recalled, sitting in the office of a prominent promoter when six calls were made to the managers of six contenders. They all said ‘no.’

Julian Jackson was one of the most terrorizing punchers of his time. Most of his most prominent victories came at 154.

“I started at welterweight but I moved up to 154,” Julian Jackson said. “A lot of people were looking at the heavyweight division, and that was Mike Tyson’s time, but I think we have among the best fighters in the world at 154 today. Boxing back then was more about the sport than it was about the money, I think. We had more love of the sport than you have today.

“I loved 154 and was comfortable there. It was a division filled with quick, powerful guys and that’s what makes the division unique.”

For a complete look at Lara vs Gausha, Charlo vs Lubin, and Hurd vs Trout, visit our fight page.

Erislandy Lara vs Terrell Gausha

Top 154-pound fighters (left to right) Jarrett Hurd, Jermell Charlo, Erislandy Lara, Terrell Gausha, Erickson Lubin and Austin Trout pose during the introductory press conference for their Oct. 14 title tripleheader on Showtime. (Stephanie Trapp/Showtime)

Unbeaten 154-pound contender will carry former trainer's principles into the ring with him Saturday night when he faces champion Erislandy Lara in the main event of a 154-pound title tripleheader on Showtime.

Terrell Gausha

Unbeaten 154-pound contender Terrell Gausha lands a blow in his August 2016 victory over Steve Martinez. The Cleveland native fights for his first world title Saturday night on Showtime. (Andy Samuelson/Premier Boxing Champions)

When Terrell Gausha challenges champion Erislandy Lara for a 154-pound championship on Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, his inspiration will be to honor a fallen mentor and father figure.

Bob Davis introduced a 10-year-old Gausha to boxing at the Glenville Recreation Center in Cleveland, stepping in two years after the youngster’s father, Melton, died of heart failure. Gausha was deprived of a male role model to help him navigate the crime-ridden neighborhood.

While Gausha’s mother, Taretha Jones, instilled discipline and perseverance, Davis guided Gausha to five Cleveland Golden Gloves titles and a pair of amateur national crowns. Gausha went on to represent the United States in the 2012 Olympics in London and is now on the threshold of winning his first professional world championship.

At the Olympics, Gausha scored a third-round knockout over Armenia’s Andranik Hakobyan in the first round of the games before being eliminated, 16-15, by India’s Vijender Singh, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist.

Davis died of an illness in 2015. That same year Gausha won four bouts to improve to 17-0 with eight knockouts as a professional. A 2005 graduate of Glenville High School, Gausha credits Davis for saving his life.

“I missed time with my father, but my mother was a great example working 32 years at Chrysler starting at the age of 19 before retiring. Bob Davis came and got me every day, took me to church, taught me about life,” said Gausha, who has a 9-year-old daughter, Ty’era, and fiancé, Christa Kondru

“He taught me principles, to channel my anger, frustrations, energy and helped me to believe in myself. Watching me put that belt around my waist would mean the world to him. He’s always on my mind. I wish he was here to see me. I know he’d be proud.”

Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs) challenges Lara (24-2, 14 KOs), a 34-year-old making his sixth defense, in the headliner of a 154-pound championship tripleheader featuring defenses by Jarrett Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs) against left-handed former champion Austin Trout (30-3, 17 KOs) and Jermell Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) against left-hander Erickson Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs) on Showtime (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).

“I’ve always paid homage to my coach,” said Gausha. “I pay tribute wearing the black and red colors of the uniform for the Glenville Recreation Center and I have Glenville written on my mouthpiece.”

Bob Davis taught me principles, to channel my anger, frustrations, energy and helped me to believe in myself. Watching me put that belt around my waist would mean the world to him. 154-pound contender Terrell Gausha, on his mentor and former trainer

Gausha is looking forward to fighting in the main event for a world championship at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

“As a human being, you’re gonna have some nerves, want to engage, prove yourself and put on a good show, but I’m focused rather than being anxious and feeling pressure,” said Gausha, who is now trained by Manny Robles. “We’ve worked for this moment. I’m looking forward to embracing the atmosphere, executing my game plan and making some new fans. I can’t be overwhelmed as the main event.”

Gausha’s past two victories were majority and unanimous decisions over Steve Martinez (August 2016) and Luis Hernandez (February), following a seventh-round stoppage of Orlando Lora (April 2016).

Gausha last faced a southpaw in July 2014, his first round stoppage of Ronnie Warrior Jr. improving his mark to 11-0 with six knockouts. He sparred Ukrainian 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Taras Shelestyuk (16-0, 10 KOs), power-punching Chris Pearson (14-2, 10 KOs) of Dayton, Ohio, and South African Chris van Heerden (25-2-1, 12 KOs).

“I’ve gotten different looks preparing for a Lara’s craftiness, but nobody’s going to emulate his style, completely. I’ll have to be smart and bring out more tools than in the past,” said Gausha.

Gausha draws inspiration in his first title fight from his Olympic teammates who have won world championships–Errol Spence and Rau’shee Warren.

“We’ve always talked about winning world titles," said Gausha. "It's inspiring for Errol Spence and Rau’Shee Warren to accomplish their dreams. A few of my teammates, like [175-pound contender] Marcus Brown, will be ringside to support me.”

Lara’s resume includes stopping ex-titleholders Alfredo Angulo and Jan Zaveck, decisions over Trout and ex-champ Ishe Smith, title challengers Vanes Martirosyan, Delvin Rodriguez and Freddy Hernandez, and losing by majority and split-decision to former two-division titleholders Paul Williams and Canelo Alvarez.

“It doesn’t matter that fans doubt me after seeing Lara against bigger names,” said Gausha. “Being the underdog motivates me. I have everything to gain and nothing to lose. I want to keep my ‘0,’ become a world champion and establish my legacy.”

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Current and former world champions Andre Berto, Jermell and Jermall Charlo, Erislandy Lara and Abner Mares teamed up with business partners in their local communities to provide assistance to victims of recent hurricanes and earthquake.

Much love to my girl @beyonce pullin up on us, getting her hands dirty showin love to the city appreciate u for that. #TheHarvest #BirthdayLove #VirgoGang #SnapChat: Andre_Berto

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As Abner Mares trained at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Century Boxing Gym last Thursday for an October 14 defense of his 126-pound title, the second of several supply trucks Mares and his team helped fill was headed for earthquake-ravaged Mexico.

Parts of his home country were devastated early last month when a powerful earthquake killed 370 people. Mares and his wife, Nathalie, a makeup artist, have joined a pair of Los Angeles-based businesses in loading donations onto vehicles, the first of which left on September 25, and shipping items to Mexico.

Nathalie has family living in Mexico City. For the past few weeks some of her clients have brought donated items to her Essence of Beauty salon in Downey, California.

“Nathalie’s promoting everything from clothes, water, canned food, baby diapers, baby wipes, food for dogs and syringes for needles,” said Mares, 31, who was 7 when his mother, Belen Martinez, came to Los Angeles with her children from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.

“Nathalie was born and raised in Mexico City. Her Mom, a sister, a grandmother and uncles live there. Thank God, they’re okay, unlike in some places where they pretty much lost it all. This is what it really means to be ‘A fighter for the people.’ Using the platform to change lives when they need you to help our immediate family and our country.”

Mares (30-2-1, 15 KOs) is training to defend his title against Andres Gutierrez (35-1-1, 25 KOs) on FOX (7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT) as part of a 126-pound championship double-header on Oct. 14, featuring a title defense by fellow champion Leo Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs) against Chris Avalos (27-5, 20 KOs) from StubHub Center.

While Mares champions Mexico, others have assisted with disaster relief in the wakes of Hurricanes Harvey in Texas and Irma in Florida and the Caribbean.

This is what it really means to be ‘A fighter for the people.’ Using the platform to change lives when they need you to help our immediate family and our country. 126-pound World Champion Abner Mares

Last week, 154-pound champions Erislandy Lara and Jermell Charlo joined the Houston Food Bank along with Charlo’s twin brother, Jermall, preparing boxes of food for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs) is busy training for his world title defense on Oct. 14 against Terrell Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs) as the headliner of a 154-pound championship tripleheader on Showtime (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

The hurricanes affected Lara on three fronts. Harvey ravaged parts of his adopted hometown of Houston, and Hurricane Irma rattled loved ones in his native Cuba as well as friends in Florida.

The Cuban southpaw trains under Ronnie Shields at Plex Boxing Gym in Sugarland, Texas — a suburb of Houston, 20 minutes from his home with his wife, Yudi, and three children. Two more sons, Erislandy and Robertlandy, live in Cuba with Lara's mother, Marciel.

"My family back home in Cuba are safe,’’ Lara said. “Houston has suffered with Hurricane Harvey. I've seen the devastation. Coming to the Food Bank with my wife is my little grain of sand to help a bigger cause. I come from Cuba, an island that is often battered by storms. I've seen people lose a lot to Mother Nature. I feel for them.”

Jermell Charlo shares trainer Derrick James with left-handed 147-pound champion Errol Spence, who has been sparring with Charlo at the R&R Boxing Gym in Dallas. While Charlo’s home in Houston experienced some flooding, James said their regimen has been unhindered.

"I didn't get a chance to really see my house [during Hurricane Harvey] because I've been gone,” said Charlo. “Everybody basically was like 'Don't worry about what's going on.' I'm trying to keep my mind off of it.”

Andre Berto delivered food and cleaning and bedding supplies last month in Houston.  The two-time 147-pound world champion remains heavily committed to relief efforts in Haiti, his parents’ birth country, through his Berto Dynasty Foundation since an earthquake rocked the island nation in January 2010.

“It’s an automatic instinct for me. Being charitable is close to my heart,” said Berto, a native of Winter Haven, Florida. “In Florida people we’re prepared for it. But I’m still on the phones seeing if people need [help] and just checking on damage in general.”

Irma ripped the Caribbean, including St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, where trained chef and 175-pound contender Julius Jackson used his culinary skills to help his neighbors. Nicknamed “The Chef,” Jackson, 30, has fed thousands as manager and head chef for the non-profit, My Brother's Workshop Cafe and Bakery.

“It’s my home,” said Jackson. “I don’t want to be anywhere else but here, saving lives, doing what I can to rebuild. That’s my mission for as long as it takes.”

Erislandy Lara and Jermell and Jermall Charlo

154-pound champions Jermell Charlo (left) and Erislandy Lara, along with Charlo's twin brother, Jermall, joined workers at the Houston Food Bank on Sept. 26 in preparing boxes of food for victims of Hurricane Harvey (Andy Hemingway/Showtime).


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