Prediction: Hurd knocks out Lara inside 9

Two-belt junior middleweight titleholder Erislandy Lara will face one of his toughest fights in recent memory when he squares off against IBF titlist Jarrett Hurd in a Showtime-televised unification on April 7 at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Lara (25-2-2, 14 KO's), 34, a Cuba native fighting out of Houston, Texas, is coming off a unanimous decision victory over the previously undefeated Terrell Gausha in October, a snoozer Barclays Center in Brooklyn as part of a Showtime tripleheader.

Hurd (21-0, 15 KO's), 27, of Accokeek, Maryland, who also fought on the tripleheader, rallied down the stretch to become the first boxer to stop former world champion Austin Trout.

Many view Hurd as Lara's most dangerous threat to his world titles since he came off the canvas in 2013 to stop Alfredo Angulo.

Hurd has been working on his defense, as well as his footwork so that he can be the aggressor throughout the fight, and stay on top of Lara.

We should expect Lara to box the same way he has all along, but what will he do when he tastes Hurd's power?

Lara will likely win the first half of the fight, but the danger for him will be Hurd down the stretch.

I will go out on a limb and say Hurd scores a ninth-round TKO of Lara.

Hurd's pressure is incredible and while Lara is one of the smartest boxers in the sport, I don't see him holding off Hurd for 12 rounds.

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