By Keith Idec
Erislandy Lara watched Jarrett Hurd attack Austin Trout throughout their fight five months ago, often with little regard for defense.
If the bigger, seemingly stronger Hurd does that when they meet April 7, Lara promises Hurd will find himself in serious trouble Trout couldn’t provide. The WBA super welterweight champion claimed he’ll knock out Hurd if the unbeaten IBF champion approaches him that way in their 12-round, 154-pound title unification fight in Las Vegas.
The 34-year-old Lara also scoffed at the notion that the 6-feet-1 Hurd is too big and too strong for him.
“I keep hearing people refer to his height and how big he is,” Lara said Thursday through a translator during a conference call. “Well, Paul Williams was taller and bigger than him. Canelo was and is stronger than him. And they couldn’t deal with me. So I’m not worried about what he has to bring. I’m worried about what I have to do in that ring. I’m focused and I’m ready.”
The 6-feet-1 Williams and Alvarez are the only two fighters that own victories over Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs). Both of those outcomes – Williams’ majority-decision win in July 2011 and Alvarez’s split-decision win in July 2014 – both are considered controversial.
The Cuban southpaw doesn’t expect his fight against the 27-year-old Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) to be as close as either of those two bouts.
In his last fight, Hurd became the first fighter to beat Trout inside the distance, when Trout (31-4, 17 KOs) declined to come out of his corner for the 11th round October 14 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Lara predicted Hurd will be on the wrong end of a knockout if Hurd pressures him the way Hurd did against Trout.
“There’s no question in my mind, I know I can knock him out,” Lara said. “If he gets reckless, he’s gonna get knocked out. And if not, then he’s gonna get beat up. So he’s gonna have to make that decision on April 7th. Will he go through the fire? Or if he’s just willing just to lose a decision? It’s up to him. He’s gonna have to decide that on April 7th.”
Lara-Hurd will be the main event of Showtime’s tripleheader from The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino two weeks from Saturday night.
That telecast also will include a super middleweight championship rematch between IBF champ Caleb Truax (29-3-2, 18 KOs) and former champ James DeGale (23-2-1, 14 KOs). That three-bout broadcast will begin with a 12-round, 154-pound IBF elimination match that’ll pit Julian Williams (24-1-1, 15 KOs, 1 NC) against Nathaniel Gallimore (20-1-1, 17 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.