On Saturday, October 14th, the boxing world will be treated to three junior middleweight title fights at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn New York. In a division that is jammed packed with talent, there are many differing opinions about who is the king of the division. Below is Eightcount.tv’s take on who the top five junior middleweights are ahead of this weeks tripleheader.
1. Erislandy “The American Dream” Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs)
Thirty-four year old Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs), a former Cuban amateur standout, stands out as the clear #1 junior middleweight. He is a technically sound fighter with superior quickness and defensive skills. Lara has made five defenses against generally weak opposition, including the worst of them all on Jan. 13, when he destroyed semi-retired former titlist-turned-rabbi Yuri Foreman in the fourth round of a shameful mismatch. The two most skilled opponents that he has faced were Austin Trout, (who is also headlining Saturday nights tripleheader), who he beat in a dominant performance by unanimous decision ( in 2013 and Canelo Alvarez. despite suffering a split decision loss (115-113, 117-111, 113-115), against Canelo, many in the boxing world thought that Lara clearly beat Alvarez by leveraging his quickness and defensive prowess. He’ll return to the ring after nearly twenty months since his last professional bout, to headline the Showtime card against 2012 U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs).
2. Jermell Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs)
Houston’s Charlo, twin brother of former titleholder Jermall Charlo, is a close #2 to Lara in terms of skill and impressive victories. He possesses brutal punching power in both hands as demonstrated when he returned from an 11-month layoff on April 22 and, in a dominant performance, schooled mandatory challenger Charles Hatley in a brutal sixth-round knockout victory. When he steps into the ring, he brings an intense aggression and the desire to KO his opponent. Next up is an outstanding fight with mandatory challenger Erickson “The Hammer” Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs ) on Showtime.
3. Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade (24-0, 16 KOs)
Andrade, a former US Olympian in 2008, is a southpaw and currently holds the WBA light middleweight title. In 2015, Andrade (24-0, 16 KOs) was stripped of the WBO junior middleweight title because of inactivity and his own poor business decisions, but looked outstanding in June 2016 on Showtime when, fighting for only the second time in two years, he dropped Willie Nelson four times in a dominating 12th-round knockout victory. On March 11, Andrade returned from a nine-month layoff by going to Germany as the mandatory challenger for secondary titlist Jack Culcay and outboxed him to claim the WBA belt. He is the mandatory challenger for titleholder Erislandy Lara but the organization refuses to order the fight. So Andrade has decided to return to HBO this fall on October 21st against an opponent to be announced.
4. Jarrett “Swift” Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs)
A long and rangey fighter from Maryland that possess a devastating upper-cut, Jarett Hurd was a relative unknown until his stoppage victory over Puerto Rican hopeful Frank Galarza in 2015. He has quick reflexes and is a solid counter puncher. On Feb. 25, on the Deontay Wilder-Gerald Washington undercard, Hurd scored another impressive victory as he knocked out Tony Harrison in the ninth round to win the vacant IBF World Junior Middleweight Title. Hurd got an exception to his mandatory defense against Cedric Vitu in order to make his first defense against former titleholder Austin Trout (30-3-0, 17 KOs), who he will meet on a Showtime tripleheader on Saturday night.
5. Austin Trout (30-3-0, 17 KOs)
Trout is the most experienced of the top 5 junior middleweights, having fought 33 professional fights. He has faced the best in the division including Canelo Alvarez, Miguel Cotto, Erislandy Lara, Luis Galarza and Jermall Charlo. Another long and rangey fighter, after back-to-back decision losses to Alvarez and Lara, former titleholder Trout has scored four victories in a row (three by knockout), all against decent opposition which landed him another title shot against Jermall Charlo in May 2016. Despite Trout being competitive, he lost by unanimous decision. He will get another shot at the same belt when he challenges Jarrett Hurd (20-0-0) on Showtime, Saturday night.
Other notable junior middleweights: Miguel Cotto (41-5-0, 33 KOs) , Julian “J-Rock” Williams (23-1-1, 15 KOs), Erickson Lubin (18-0-0, 13 KOs), Terrell Gausha (20-0-0, 9 KOs), Liam Smith (25-1-1, 14 KOs) and Maciej Sulecki (25-0-0, 10 KOs).
Tune into Showtime on Saturday, October 14th at 10pm ET for Premier Boxing Champions live junior middleweight telecast from Barclays Center.
Showtime Fight Card
Erislandy Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs) vs Terrell Gausha (20-0-0, 9 KOs)
WBA Junior Middleweight Title
Jermell Charlo (29-0-0, 14 KOs) vs Erickson Lubin (18-0-0, 13 KOs)
WBC Junior Middleweight Title
Jarrett Hurd (20-0-0, 14 KOs) vs Austin Trout (30-3-0, 17 KOs)
IBF Junior Middleweight Title