A potential unification bout between world champions Jarrett Hurd and Jermell Charlo could be on the horizon ... but there's plenty of historically awesome 154-pound showdowns to whet your appetite until then.
He was cooling down when things heated up.
There Jarrett Hurd was, having just dispatched game British Commonwealth champ Jason Welborn with a right to the ribs that sent Welborn to his knees in a pose equally suggestive of pain and penitence.
As Hurd recalled the action during his post-fight interview with Showtime Sports’ Jim Gray during the Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury SHOWTIME PPV event on December 1, fellow 154-pound champ Jermell Charlo surged into the ring inside STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
“We definitely want Charlo,” Hurd said of his uninvited guest in the spotlight. “I’m calling the shots. I’m number one right now. When I say answer the phone, answer the phone.”
Charlo countered as quickly as he does with his right hand.
“This is easy money,” he said. “I like those belts — they look real good on you. He said he wants another fight. I’m ready now.”
And with that, the fuse was lit on what is one of the most anticipated unification fights the division has seen in years.
Charlo is set to fight former Hurd victim Tony Harrison this Saturday night on a PBC on FOX card (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Though not looking past him, he nevertheless reiterated his desire to throw down with the man he confronted a few weeks back.
“Hurd is another fighter that we’re looking to fight in 2019,” Charlo said on a recent media conference call.
Fight fans will have to wait for a date to be set for said tilt. In the meantime, we can all whet our appetites for that clash by looking back on some of the most significant unification bouts in the history of the junior middleweight division:
1 Felix Trinidad vs. Fernando Vargas, Dec. 2, 2000
It was like kerosene clashing with a blow torch when these two then-undefeated warriors threw down in incendiary fashion. The fight featured six knockdowns and three points deducted for low blows, making for countless water cooler discussions the following Monday.
Vargas ate punches like a kid gobbling Skittles in round one, getting dropped twice by the dynamite-fisted “Tito.” “El Feroz” cleared his head and worked his way back, flooring Trinidad with a left hook in the fourth. Some borderline-low shots by the Puerto Rican sharpshooter slowed Vargas’ charge and allowed him to the weather the storm. Then he rained blows on the game Mexican-American, planting him on the canvas three more times in the twelfth, the finale inducing ref Jay Nady to call an end to one of the greatest bouts in modern history.
2 Jarrett Hurd vs. Erislandy Lara, April 8, 2018
Volume puncher vs. counterpuncher. Bull-in-a-China-shop vs. Tactician. The style match-up here was classic, and so was this 2018 Fight of the Year candidate. Heading into the bout, Hurd averaged 62 punches per round to Lara’s 41. Something had to give. Turns out it was subtlety and nuance, as both went for broke in this back-and-forth rager.
Lara’s speed and precision punching won him the early rounds. Heading into the final stanza, Hurd was trailing on all three judges’ cards. But with only 37 seconds left in the fight, he dropped Lara with a thunderous left hook, eking outing out a split decision victory. The other winner that night? Fight fans.
3 Thomas Hearns vs. Roberto Duran, June 15, 1984
It might take you less time to read about this fight than the fight actually lasted, as Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran got rocked into submission in but two rounds. This was no small thing: Duran had never even come close to being stopped previously, his chin as hard as his fists. Hearns-Duran was initially billed as a unification bout but the WBA stripped Duran of his title for choosing to fight Hearns over his mandatory, Mike McCallum. In hindsight, Duran probably wished he had chosen McCallum instead.
Hearns began worked Duran over from the word go, dropping him twice in the first. Duran was so dazed, he went to the wrong corner at round’s conclusion. Hearns would end things swiftly in the second, flattening Duran with a senses-scrambling right to the jaw, as Hearns correctly predicted in the lead-up to the clash.
4 Oscar De La Hoya vs. Fernando Vargas, Sept. 14, 2002
Bad blood equals a good scrap. This was the case when these two Mexican-American fan favorites squared off in this long-gestating grudge match where ill will and blood both flowed freely. These two plain didn’t like each other, but there was plenty to like about this action-packed duel. Vargas bloodied De La Hoya’s nose in the fifth; De La Hoya opened a gash underneath Vargas’ eye by the eighth. Three rounds later, he sent Vargas to the canvas with a lightning bolt of a left hook. Vargas beat the count, only to take a beating for his efforts, with the referee stopping the fight shortly thereafter for a De La Hoya TKO.
5 Ronald “Winky” Wright vs. Shane Mosley, March 13, 2004
The underdog proved to have serious bite here, as Ronald “Winky” Wright outclassed 5-2 favorite Shane Mosley in a masterful display of slippery defense and laser-like punching accuracy. Wright took it to Mosley all night, firing his ramrod right jab behind an impenetrable high guard. Mosley, known for his power and speed, was like an Uzi firing blanks on this night, unable to get inside on his taller opponent. As a result, Wright would win a comfortable, unanimous decision in the breakout fight of his Hall of Fame career.