By Rajeev Lewis
Sunday Puncher staff go head-to-head picking this weekend’s winners
This Saturday, Showtime will broadcast five Junior Middleweights who could beat Miguel Cotto. The same weightclass that contained Mayweather-McGregor this summer also happens to have some of the most talented boxers active in the sport today. Here are our staff picks for this fantastic card.
Jarrett Hurd vs. Austin Trout
Gleb Kuzin: Trout is still a top-10 boxer. He is experienced and he knows best how to handle young up-and-coming champions. That’s what he done for most of his career, upsetting the odds. And Hurd is the least talented of Trout’s toughest foes. But what makes Hurd a favorite in my eyes is his understanding of his own limits, his strengths and weaknesses. He knows exactly what he can do to win a fight. For him, it is not about dominating the fight or making a point, but about getting his hand raised. And he will do everything that is in his power to do so.
Graeme Cross: Trout usually has the advantage of being rangy e.g. vs Canelo and vs Cotto. But when that’s taken away, he has a much harder time e.g. vs Lara and vs Charlo. Although Hurd towers over Trout, I’m not convinced he is slick enough to beat him. Trout’s only 32 so he has a couple years left before he declines physically. Trout on points.
Leo: Trout by Decision. Trout may be a bit older, but his style scales well with age. Trout has gone upstream with the best in the sport and has come close each time. Hurd is very good and I enjoy watching his fights, but I wouldn’t rate him a peer among Lara, Canelo, or Jermall Charlo in terms of skill. A slippery Trout boxing from range, angling, and staying mobile will give Hurd more than he can handle. If Harrison was doing well enough, Trout’s experience will keep him out of the net.
Rajeev Lewis: Hurd showed good skills and power when he won his title belt, but he didn’t indicate that he could beat the best version of Trout. Which version of Trout will it be, though? After Trout’s Lara loss, the former had to rebuild a bit before being able to challenge Jermall Charlo. So, will Trout be in a place to edge the decision? I think so.
Jermell Charlo vs. Erickson Lubin
Gleb Kuzin: Charlo can’t box. Period. Jermell has looked terrible against Jackson and Martirosyan. On the other hand Lubin hasn’t looked like a mature boxer either. This is the fight between a mediocre champion and a hot prospect that is not ready for a world title fight. I pick Lubin, because he can do something better than one good shot every 3 rounds.
Graeme Cross: Everyone will say this is a hard fight to pick and huge step up for Lubin, and they are right. I think people are letting Jermall’s performance against Heiland and Williams warp their view of Jermell. I love a good storyline so I’m backing Lubin on points.
Leo: Charlo by Stoppage. Lubin is a solid prospect, but betting against a Charlo is never a smart move. While Jermall is more the one looking for KOs, the more versatile Jermell still manages to get stoppage wins over good opponents through superior skill. Lubin will find himself beaten to the punch often enough in the mid-early rounds to make him shy. By the mid-late rounds, Charlo will start putting on more pressure until it’s stopped.
Rajeev Lewis: Charlo is somewhat difficult to rate, with some people holding his tough fights (looking ‘terrible’, as Gleb says) unfairly against him, while others give him credit for his older brother’s recent dominating displays. While Jermell has not shown the same dominance as Jermall, he has gone the rounds with good fighters at the top level before, I pick him to win points or late stoppage vs. the far too green Lubin.
Erislandy Lara vs. Terrell Gausha
Gleb Kuzin: Every time Lara fights you think “This is the P4P calibre fighter!” but then you forget about him for 8 months until he fights another irrelevant boxer. What changed?
Graeme Cross: I’ll put this out there, I’d love to see Gausha win. I don’t think he can beat Lara though. As a consolation prize, I hope he looks competitive enough that his stocks rise, unfortunately I’m concerned that if he looks good against Lara and loses, no one else will bother giving him a shot in the future.
Leo: Lara by Decision. While it is possible Lara could have lost a step or that the stars align for Gausha, it’s going to take the very best Gausha and a Lara on an off-night for him to steal it from the Cuban. Unfortunately, Lara won’t do himself any favors and push the pace. Please prove me wrong, Erislandy.
Rajeev Lewis: If Gausha’s greatest potential threat is his amateur achievements, then this outcome should be even more obvious. Lara by decision, even if it will appear underwhelming.
Staff Picks for Showtime’s Tripleheader: Hurd-Trout, Charlo-Lubin, and Lara-Gausha was originally published in sundaypuncher on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.