By Lem Satterfield
IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence believes training stablemate Jermell Charlo “is definitely a top-10 pound-for-pound fighter” if the 154-pound champion some day “convincingly” unifies against Jarrett Hurd, adding the latter’s IBF, IBO and WBA crowns to his WBC version.
Hurd (22-0, 15 KOs) makes his third defense against England’s Jason Welborn (24-6, 7 KOs) on the December 1 undercard of Deontay Wilder’s heavyweight title defense against lineal champion Tyson Fury at The Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Should he defeat Welborn, Hurd plans to be ringside on December 22 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn New York, where Charlo (31-0, 15 KOs) pursues both his fourth defense and knockout in his past five fights against repeat title challenger Tony Harrison (27-2, 22 KOs).
Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) is rated ninth pound-for-pound by Ring Magazine behind (in order Nos. 1-through-8) three-division champions Vasiliy Lomachenko (135 pounds) and Terence Crawford (147), two-division titleholder Canelo Alvarez (160), Gennady Golovkin (160), Oleksander Usyk (200), Naoya Inoue (118), four-division champion Mikey Garcia (135) and Srisaket Sor Rungvai (115).
A southpaw who has stopped his past 11 opponents, Spence has made a pair of title defenses and shares corner man Derrick James with and often spars Charlo at the Dallas-based R&R Boxing facility.
“The Truth” Spence, who, like Charlo and Hurd is 28 years old, has been linked to a potential clash with four-division champion Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs). Garcia will rise in weight to face Spence after most recently competing at 140 and 135 pounds.
Spence credits Charlo for helping him to sharpen his skills in advance of three consecutive victories comprised of a title-winning 11th-round KO that dethroned Kell Brook in May 2017, a sixth-round knockout of two-division champion Lamont Peterson in January and June’s first-round stoppage of Carlos Ocampo, who was left on all fours from a body shot.
“Knowing Jermell as my stablemate, I just see him beating Jarrett Hurd,” said Spence to BoxingScene.com. “Jermell, has his eyes set on Jarrett Hurd, and Jermell is definitely a top-10 pound-for-pound fighter if he beats Hurd.”
Charlo transformed his projected “toughest fight” in October 2017 against southpaw Erickson Lubin (19-1, 14 KOs) into his third career first-round stoppage and a Knockout Of The Year candidate at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
“The Iron Man” finished Lubin in 2:41 with a right uppercut that sent “The Hammer” crashing to the canvas straight down on his left leg before teetering to his right. Lubin’s left arm and leg flailed as referee Harvey Dock ended it.
Lubin represented Charo’s fourth knockout within a five-year span against southpaws. But left-handed former champion Austin Trout (31-5, 17 KOs) rose from third- and ninth-round knockdowns in Charlo’s last fight in June – a victory by majority decision.
Charlo defeated Lubin four years to the day since a 10th-round TKO over Jose Angel Rodrigues, who never fought again after becoming the second of the three southpaws Charlo had stopped to that point.
Southpaw Denis Doughlin was dropped and stopped in the fifth round in June 2012 by Charlo, who trailed 69-64 on all three judges’ scorecards before finishing right-hander John Jackson in the ninth of their vacant title fight in May 2016.
Charlo’s demolition of Lubin resembled his initial defense in April 2017 at Barclays—a sixth-round KO of left-hander Charles Hatley. Against Hatley, it was Charlo’s head-swiveling right hand that left his rival face-first and out cold on the canvas beneath a bottom rope.
“Jermell has a great record beating good fighters, so pound-for-pound will just depend on his performance against Hurd,” said Spence. “But I expect Jermell to beat Hurd convincingly like I know he can. If he does that, then he should be among the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters.”
Charlo-Lubin was part of a 154-pound championship triple-header at Barclays sandwiched between victories by Hurd and Cuban southpaw Erislandy Lara (25-3-2, 14 KOs). Hurd won by 10th-round stoppage over Trout, and Lara, by one-knockdown unanimous decision over 2012 U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha (20-1, 9 KOs).
A 6-foot-1 Accokeek, Maryland native with a 76 ½-inch reach, Hurd followed up Trout with a split-decision over Lara in his last fight April, flooring the a 35-year-old in the final round.
Hurd-Trout was a Fight Of The Year caliber brawl. “Swift Hurd” overcame a deep and bleeding cut over his left eye to record his seventh straight stoppage following a championship-winning ninth-round TKO of Harrison at Barclays in February 2017.
In halting Trout, Hurd knocked out the owner of a unanimous decision over Puerto Rican four-division title winner Miguel Cotto who had lost title-bout decisions to Canelo Alvarez (April, 2013), Lara (December 2013) and Jermell’s twin, Jermall Charlo (May 2016). Jermall is the WBC’s current 160-pound interim titleholder.
In Lara, Hurd defeated the division’s longest reigning champion. “The American Dream’s” victory against Gausha marked his seventh title defense, short of the 154-pound record of 11 title held by Gianfranco Rosi.
“They both have common opponents for the last couple of fights with Tony Harrison and Austin Trout, so that fight should happen ASAP. I do see Jermell and Jarrett fighting in the future,” said Spence.
“They’re both on the same networks and have the same [advisor.] I see that fight happening sometime next year. I don’t see Jarrett Hurd getting past Jermell Charlo. I see Jermell taking all of his belts.”