Jermell Charlo Scores Huge Knockout Against Erickson Lubin
Jermell Charlo is one minute younger than his twin brother, Jermall. He came into the world just a little later, and he had his breakout moment in boxing just a little later as well.
And oh, what breakout moments they were.
Jermall won a world title in 2015 and had defended it twice but had not yet looked like a superstar. Then he stepped in the ring with highly hyped 154-pound contender Julian Williams at the end of 2016. Jermall ended Williams’ hype with a stellar fifth-round knockout.
Jermell won his world title in 2016 and had defended it once, but the jury was still out on him. He was behind on the scorecards when he knocked out John Jackson for a vacant belt. He’d obliterated Charles Hatley, who wasn’t seen as much of a threat. And then he stepped in the ring with highly hyped 154-pound contender Erickson Lubin on Saturday night.
There were many who picked Lubin to win.
Lubin didn’t make it out of the first round.
The end came as the result of two jabs and one big right hand. The jabs missed. That didn’t matter. They served to set up the right hand.
Lubin dodged the first jab by inches. He ducked under the second jab and leaned down and to his left. Charlo followed with a right hook that landed on Lubin’s right ear.
“He was dipping down,” Charlo said afterward. “He ran right into the shot.”
Lubin went down in a heap. He tried to rise, but his body wasn’t cooperating. The referee waived the count and stopped the fight. Just like that, it was over.
“He caught me with a blind shot,” Lubin said afterward. “I didn’t see it coming.”
Charlo, who improves to 30-0 with 15 knockouts, has now scored four straight KOs. This was his biggest victory yet, making easy work against a fighter who many thought posed a tough test.
He then took aim at another rising junior middleweight — titleholder Jarrett Hurd, who stopped Austin Trout on the undercard.
“Give me another title,” Charlo said. “I want Hurd.”
Lubin fell to 18-1 with 13 KOs. It is a huge setback for the 22-year-old, who was a highly touted amateur as a teenager and turned pro with much fanfare on his 18th birthday.
He was down on the canvas in his eighth pro fight, dropped in the first round by a journeyman named Norberto Gonzalez. Lubin got up to win the decision. Sometimes fighters are able to move on from frightening moments and get better. Andre Ward was down in his seventh pro fight against famed heavy-handed journeyman Darnell Boone. Badou Jack won a world title barely a year after losing to Derek Edwards in just 61 seconds.
Sometimes, however, their chins remain a liability — especially against a power puncher like Charlo. We’ll someday see whether Erickson Lubin merely got cracked just right by a guy who can fight, or whether his chin will remain a major flaw, something that his team did their best to hide while bringing him up in the rankings but cannot protect now that he’s made it to this level.
Jarrett Hurd Overcomes Austin Trout, Stops Him After 10
There were two ways Austin Trout could’ve come out against Jarrett Hurd.
The former titleholder hadn’t fought since May 2016, when he lost a battle to Jermall Charlo. He’d been in the gym the whole time since, although training and sparring can’t compare to staying busy in the ring. He was on the verge of fading away toward irrelevance, someone whose time had come and gone, someone who had lost to three top junior middleweights and couldn’t afford being defeated by a fourth.
He’d either show why his time was past, or he’d fight like hell as if this were his last stand.
Trout fought like hell. And Jarrett Hurd overcame it to come out with the 10th-round technical knockout.
The fight started slow but soon picked up. Trout looked sharp in the second, punching in combinations, the extended volleys keeping Hurd from getting off. Trout would then get out of range when he wasn’t punching and Hurd was too close for comfort. Hurd amped up the pressure in the third. Hurd also began to throw at the same time as Trout, trying to time his shots and prevent the combinations, catching Trout when he wasn’t moving.
Trout had a strong fourth, and by the fifth Hurd was following him around the ring, attempting to land one big fight-changing shot. The work rate began to tire Trout out by the sixth. Hurd began to land more. He threw 111 punches that round. Trout also threw in volume, but it was one punch from Hurd that was most memorable — a right hand that came shortly after a sequence of shots from Trout. The punch had Trout staggering backward, though it was hard to tell in the moment whether Trout had been off-balance or if the punch had truly hurt him.
Nevertheless, the seventh round started with Hurd looking refreshed and Trout looking exhausted. Hurd landed a big left and soon a good right hand. He’d taken over, his hands down, confident that Trout was no longer dangerous. Rather, it was Trout who was now in trouble.
Hurd landed a pair of flush right hands early in the eighth. Trout was no longer as mobile, nor as active, a bad combination against a big, strong fighter who was intent on landing big shots.
The ninth was a rare slow round. Swelling built up underneath Trout’s right eye. Hurd continued to outland Trout in the 10th. Trout dug down as best he could but had too little to offer. His corner wisely stopped the fight after the round ended.
“I’m always the one that comes on stronger at the end of the fights,” Hurd said afterward. “We knew we ere going to have to wear Austin Trout down and, later rounds, we were going to stop him.”
It was a heck of a first title defense for Hurd, who won a vacant belt in February with a TKO of Tony Harrison. Trout had lost to Jermall Charlo, Erislandy Lara and Canelo Alvarez before, but he still had the ability to give Hurd a gut check.
Hurd, who is now 21-0 with 15 KOs, still needs some more seasoning. Trout landed often and frustrated Hurd, yet he lacked enough power to hurt him. Other fighters may be able to do so. Jermell Charlo, who knocked out Erickson Lubin later on the same show, called out Hurd for a unification bout. Hurd may not want to take that fight just yet.
Trout is now 30-4 with 17 KOs. This is a tough loss, even if he didn’t go down easy.
Leo Santa Cruz Beats Chris Avalos, Sets Up Abner Mares Rematch
There was little suspense in Saturday night’s show in Southern California featuring Leo Santa Cruz against Chris Avalos in the main event and Abner Mares against Andres Gutierrez in the co-feature bout.
The night was meant to set up a rematch between Santa Cruz and Mares in 2018. Mares quickly established his dominance over Gutierrez, overwhelming him with combinations en route to a cut-shortened 10-round technical decision. Santa Cruz, meanwhile, was defending his world title against an even easier foe, Chris Avalos, a courageous but limited opponent who’d lost five times before, with three technical knockout losses in his last five fights.
Santa Cruz landed regularly for eight rounds, until one more one-two combination had the referee jumping in. Avalos protested, but it was the right call. The fight was one-sided. Avalos was only going to take more punishment with no chance of winning. And, realistically, the fight could’ve ended even earlier. The fourth round, in particular, saw Santa Cruz land 66 of 128 shots, according to CompuBox.
“I thought I had him in the fourth round,” Santa Cruz said afterward. “I thought the ref was going to jump in during that round, but he let him continue.”
Avalos is now 27-6 with 20 KOs.
Santa Cruz moves to 34-1-1 with 19 KOs. His only loss came against Carl Frampton in July 2016; Santa Cruz won their rematch this past January, taking a close majority decision.
He and Mares first fought in 2015, shortly after Santa Cruz moved up to the 126-pound weight class after title reigns at 118 and 122. It was a competitive fight, but one in which Santa Cruz had a higher gear and was able to outwork and outland Mares for the decision win.
Mares has won two fights since, outpointing Jesus Cuellar last December and beating Gutierrez. He is now 31-2-1 with 15 KOs.