A trio of intriguing PBC junior middleweight title bouts are looking for homes.
Jermell Charlo owes a mandatory title shot against top prospect Erickson Lubin, and the 21-year-old is grabbing the opportunity with both hands rather than wait.
A deal has been struck to pit Charlo against Lubin for the WBC junior middleweight title, a source told RingTV.com. But that’s only one of the 154-pound title fights that’s been completed.
Agreements also are in place to match Erislandy Lara and Terrell Gausha for the WBA belt, along with Jarrett Hurt against Austin Trout in an IBF title fight,
Showtime is very interested in televising Charlo-Lubin, but there’s no date or venue yet for any of the three bouts.
Charlo (29-0, 14 knockouts) has established himself as one of the best young talents in the sport with his blend of power and athleticism. The 27-year-old scored a spectacular knockout of Charles Hatley in April. That title defense followed a scintillating KO of John Jackson last year.
Charlo, like Lubin, will be stepping way up in opposition with this assignment. Lubin is perhaps the only 154-pounder who can match Charlo’s mix of power and athleticism, even if the former top amateur has yet to face a top-10 fighter.
Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs) has, however, exhibited the type of special talent that drew the scorn of USA boxing when he spurned the 2012 Olympic Games to turn pro.
The Hammer punched his ticket to a mandatory title shot when he blew out Jorge Cota in March. Soon, we’ll find out if he’s ready for such a challenge at 21; if the talent truly matches the hype, we could soon see him on pound-for-pound lists.
Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs) is a man who actually did represent the U.S. in those Olympics, and he, too, will step up. He’ll face Lara, the longtime 154-pound beltholder whose curiously weak opposition of late has drawn wide criticism.
Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs), a southpaw from Cuba, has feasted on the likes of Ishe Smith, Delvin Rodriguez, Jan Zaveck and even Yuri Foreman since a razor-thin decision defeat to Canelo Alvarez in 2014.
Gausha, while untested, at least represents a fresh face with proper pedigree to break the skid of weak opposition.
The other title fight featuring Al Haymon fighters: the previously reported bout between Hurd and Trout, one of two title fights that feature two RING-rated junior middleweights (Gausha is not ranked).
A fight between 154-pound fighters Julian Williams and Tony Harrison is also in the works.
It’s unclear if two or more of these titles bouts will land on the same show, but it’s expected Charlo-Lubin will headline its own card.
The October 7 Showtime-televised rematch between Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares certainly could host one or more of the bouts on its undercard.
No matter where the fights land, Charlo-Lubin is a fight worth circling on your calendar, a rare matchup between talented young boxer-punchers in their prime.
Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger
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