By Radio Rahim
Last month from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Showtime televised a tripleheader event that featured three world champions from the junior middleweight division.
In the headline bout, WBA/IBO junior middleweight world champion Erislandy Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs) knocked down and dominated previously unbeaten 2012 U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha en route to a twelve round unanimous decision.
And in the televised co-feature, WBC champion Jermell Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs) sent shockwaves with an impressive first round destruction of undefeated Erickson Lubin. It was one of the more anticipated fights of the year, but Charlo closed the book in only 2:41 seconds
Lara and Charlo had previously trained together for many years - when both were under the tutelage of veteran coach Ronnie Shields.
Charlo eventually left Shields and is now training under Derrick James - who may become the trainer of the year for his work with Charlo and IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence. Jermell's twin brother, top middleweight contender Jermall Charlo, is still training with Shields as well.
After his win over Guasha, Lara made it clear that he was ready to put friendship aside to get Charlo in the ring for a unification.
"I'm ready to box anyone that comes my way. I'm the best boxer at 154 pounds and I won't shy away from anyone that wants to fight me. I'll box whoever, just line them up. I'm not afraid. I have proven that I'm a true champion. I'll fight (Jermell) Charlo if I have to. We are friends, but business is business," Lara said.
Charlo is well aware of Lara's comments - and he's also willing to put their friendship aside for a showdown n 2018.
"I love Cuban fighters. And I'm getting ready to possibly fight a Cuban fighter, Erislandy Lara - who is in my weight division, who I used to train with, who I used to spar with, who I grew up with - all of that, but I really don't give a f***. I'm saying it just like that. I'm the champ of the world," Charlo told BoxingScene.com.