WBA junior middleweight titleholder Erislandy Lara will defend his belt for the sixth time Saturday at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas against undefeated IBF titlist Jarrett Hurd.
During Friday's weigh-in, Lara (25-2-2, 14 KO's) weighed-in at 153 1/2 pounds, while Hurd (21-0, 15 KO's), who has a four-inch height advantage over Lara (6'1" to 5'9") weighed-in at 153 pounds on the dot. Both fighters looked in pristine condition.
While Lara has two defeats on his resume, both were controversial. Although most ringside observers saw the 34-year-old Cuba native dominate former world champion Paul Williams through 12 rounds in July 2011, the judges awarded Williams with a majority decision. The judges involved were later suspended indefinitely by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board.
Lara also lost a close split decision to Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez in July 2014, but one judge, Levi Martinez, scored the fight nine rounds to three (117-111) for Alvarez.
The 27-year-old Hurd is a rising star and is coming off the biggest win of his professional career to date, a 10th-round TKO of former world champion Austin Trout, who had never been previously stopped.
“They always said I’m not ready,” said Hurd. “This is my time right now; I cannot wait to get on that stage and show the world I’m asking for this fight.
“We know he’s gonna use the ring, but you can’t run from ‘Swift’ Jarrett Hurd for 12 rounds. I’mma be in his face, ain’t no running, and come fight night you gonna have to engage at some point.”
Lara is an experienced technician, while Hurd is known for his constant pressure, and tends to come on late in fights.
It has been said that Hurd has been working on his footwork and his defense in training camp, which could be a factor in the fight.
Will Lara outbox Hurd or will the youngster out of Accokeek, Maryland be the first man to knockout Lara?
Who are you picking? Let us know!