If fans were permitted in attendance for boxing events, Terrell Gausha wouldn’t mind having a ringside seat for the event taking place in the very venue where he hopes to advance his own career.
The 2012 U.S. Olympic boxer and veteran junior middleweight contender is angling for a second shot at the 154-pound crown. An important step comes on Saturday, as the 33-year old Cleveland native faces Erickson Lubin (22-1, 16KOs) in a battle of former title challengers live on Showtime from Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The winner will then focus his attention on the main event at this same location one week later. Jermell Charlo and Jeison ‘Banana’ Rosario hit town to collide atop a Showtime Pay-Per-View event, contending for the lineal junior middleweight championship and with the WBC/WBA/IBF titles at stake.
“It’s good to know by the time they fight that I’ll already be in position to face the winner,” Gausha told BoxingScene.com, confident in his ability to get past Orlando’s Lubin in Saturday’s headliner. “They’re mixing it up the following weekend.
“This fight this weekend is my chance to make a statement, to show the fans that I’m supposed to be here.”
Gausha (21-1-1, 10KOs) and Lubin both suffered their lone career defeats in title fights on the same October 2017 show. Lubin suffered a shocking 1st round knockout at the hands of Jermell Charlo in the chief support to Gausha’s 12-round defeat to then-WBA titlist Erislandy Lara at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Lubin has since won four straight heading into this weekend’s encounter, while Gausha has fought just twice—a 1st round knockout over Joey Hernandez in December 2018 and a 10-round split decision draw versus former titlist Austin Trout last May in his most recent bout.
This bout will mark the fourth straight time where Gausha will face a southpaw, though a win will put him in with an orthodox fight no matter who comes out ahead in next weekend’s massive unification bout.
Charlo (33-1, 17KOs) attempts his fourth overall successful title defense and first since regaining his belt in an 11th round stoppage of Tony Harrison last December to avenge his lone defeat from one year prior. Rosario (20-1-1, 14KOs) fights for the first time since unseating unified titlist Julian Williams via 5th round stoppage this past January on the road in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Gausha ultimately envisions himself facing—and beating—Charlo for all of the marbles at some point in 2021, of course all while focusing on present-day business.
“May the best man win. I probably lean more towards Charlo,” notes Gausha. “He has a few more wrinkles in his game. They are both big punchers. I see a knockout in that fight.
“First I have to take care of Lubin. After that, I’m good to fight anybody. Olympians always expect to win. We have that pedigree. We always have that mentality that no one can beat us.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox