NEW YORK, United States — World super welterweight champions Erislandy Lara, Jermell Charlo and Jarrett Hurd defend their crowns Saturday in New York in a triple-header pitting American title-holders against elite US challengers.
The battle for bragging rights in the 154-pound weight class at Barclays Center features Charlo (29-0 with 14 knockouts) facing southpaw Erickson Lubin (18-0 with 13 knockouts) in a matchup of unbeatens for the World Boxing Council crown.
Undefeated Hurd, the International Boxing Federation king of the division at 20-0 with 14 knockouts, meets southpaw and former world champion Austin Trout (30-3 with 17 knockouts).
Cuban-born US southpaw Lara, the World Boxing Association champion at 24-2-2 with 14 knockouts, takes on unbeaten 2012 US Olympian Terrell Gausha, 20-0 with nine knockouts.
“This is a display of the top 154-pounders in the world,” Hurd said. “All the fans should expect fireworks.”
It will be the first defense by Hurd, 27, of the vacant title he took by stopping compatriot Tony Harrison in February.
Trout, 32, lost title fights to Lara, Mexico’s Canelo Alvarez and 17 months ago to Charlo’s brother Jermall in his most recent bout — all by decision.
“I’m feeling great,” Hurd said. “I really want to go out here and make a statement and be the first to stop Austin Trout and send him into retirement.”
Hurd, however, has never been past the 10th round.
“You know this man isn’t going to last 12 rounds,” Trout said. “I’m going to drown this kid. We’re taking him into deep waters. This is unchartered territory for him.”
Charlo, 27, makes his second defense of the vacant crown he won by knockout from US Virgin Islander John Jackson in May 2016 and retained by knocking out countryman Charles Hatley in April at the Barclays Center.
“There are so many positive things coming from this fight card,” Charlo said. “It’s going to do a lot for boxing and the 154-pound division.”
Charlo had some trees at his Houston home flattened by Hurricane Harvey last month and he hopes to provide extra inspiration for a city still suffering from the floods brought by the storm.
“It’s so important for me to bring a world title back to Houston,” 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.”
Lara, 34, has won five fights in a row since a 2014 loss to Alvarez and makes his fifth title defense with an eye toward unification and downing his rival champions later.
“I have to be a smart boxer to win this fight. I’m going to have to show a little bit of everything: show my boxing, and show my power,” Lara said.
“Absolutely I want to unify. That’s what I’m here for — to win all the belts. After this fight, hopefully one of these young guns will step up to the plate and fight me. I will show everybody I’m the best in the 154-pound division and I’m here for a long time.”
And he also calls Houston home.
“It’s very important to bring this world title back to the people of Houston,” he said. “There has been a lot of tragedy in Houston and I hope with this win it brings just a little bit of joy to my fans and people going through a hard time.”