By Radio Rahim
WBA, IBO junior middleweight world champion Erislandy Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs) is going to face his toughest opponent in several years, when he takes on IBF world champion Jarrett Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) in a Showtime televised unification on April 7th.
Last October, a tripleheader took place with Hurd, Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs) and WBC champion Jermell Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs) making defenses at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Hurd went through some very tough moments in the first half of the contest, but he kept coming, rallied with his power and became the first boxer to secure a stoppage win over former world champion Austin Trout.
In the main event of the same card, Lara dominated Olympian Terrell Gausha over twelve rounds for a unanimous decision win.
Former two division world champion Paulie Malignaggi could see a very familiar scenario playing out - where Hurd falls behind in the first half of the contest and is forced to rally down the stretch.
"I think Lara has the pedigree and Lara is more consistent with it, but the reality of it is.. we'll see how Hurd is with his power and his mental strength, and I noticed in his last fight that Hurd has a lot of mental strength... even in the Tony Harrison fight he showed a lot of mental strength. Hurd is not just a puncher with an awkward style," Malignaggi said to BoxingScene.com.
"He's willing to go through those tough moments in a fight and then come back late with his power to win the fight or even stop it. We saw it in the Tony Harrison fight and we saw it with Austin Trout. I can see a fight where Lara is winning the fight, but Hurd makes it very tough when it goes late.
"Lara has the pedigree where maybe he survives [the late rally] or maybe he can shut it down or Hurd may even get it again. It's a tough fight."