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