Terence Crawford Enters The Fray At Welterweight; Jermell Charlo Aims To Be ‘Slick and Smart’ At Staples Center

This Saturday, June 9, fans have some great world championship options to choose from to satisfy their boxing interest. Unfortunately, viewing this week’s bouts will require some decision-making on the behalf of some fans.

The easier of the two major options is to tune into the network that has become Old Faithful for fans that reside between the two coasts. Showtime Championship Boxing. Starting at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST Showtime will air its double-header featuring WBC Super Welterweight champion Jermell Charlo vs. former world champion Austin Trout followed by the rematch of WBA Super Featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (34-1-1, 19 KOs) vs. three-division champion Abner Mares (32-2-1, 15 KOs).

WBC Super Welterweight champion Jermell Charlo and trainer Derrick James enjoying a light moment at their final media workout in Los Angeles. Picture by Dave Mandel/Showtime

This is an entertaining option that will contain its share of fireworks. However, in the eyes of some, Saturday night’s best option might be former undisputed Super Lightweight Terence “Bud” Crawford’s forge into the crowded waters of boxing’s illustrious Welterweight division.

For those fans who have moved on, concerning WBO champion Jeff Horn’s upset victory over Manny Pacquiao in Brisbane, the only issue may be one’s willingness to part with $4.99 to subscribe to the recently launched ESPN+ App. Perhaps it’s not about the money, the hassle of interacting with yet another App on your cellphone, and the resistance is about principle.

What are you gonna do? This is the only way to see a top-three ranked P4P boxer, and one of the best fighters in the game.

Let’s look at these matchups a little closer.

Jeff Horn vs. Terence Crawford on ESPN+ (starts at 9:30 p.m. EST) 

Questions abound regarding the skill level of the 30-year old Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs), but the one thing we do know is he brings some mettle with him to the ring. Horn survived a brutal round 9 versus Pacquiao, proceeded by an immediate corner visit from the referee during the break. Horn and his team received a warning that his night could be over if he didn’t show some fight. The result lives on in a bit of infamy.

Expect Horn to attempt to take on the role of the aggressor, looking to apply pressure the best way he can, and attempting to touch Crawford. His best bet would be to just mix it up and avoid waiting for perfect openings. This could backfire on Horn, as he failed to show that he’s an accurate jabber, and he could need some cover fire on his way inside. So, if he is unable to impose a perceived size advantage on Crawford, and fail to make the fight a physical affair he could be solved pretty quickly by the versatile challenger from Omaha.

The likelihood that Horn has experienced all of the looks that Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs) will throw at him is highly unlikely – not over the course of his 19 fights Down Under. Crawford may elect to sit back and study Horn’s movement, reactions and tendencies for a round or so. A major question going in to this fight centers around how Crawford carries his power up to 147 pounds.

If Crawford senses that an early shot or two gets Horn’s attention, he may opt to turn the tables early and refuse to give the champion any ground. Crawford will switch in and out of stances as needed, he will gradually begin to work from Horn’s head to his body, and then back up top.

The No. 3 ESPN and Ring Magazine P4P fighter has issued warnings of an early stoppage, and his inherent mean streak is noted. This writer would be shocked if Horn makes it to round seven, and if there is no knockout, over the fight’s final quarter of action Crawford’s mix of skills could force a corner visit from referee Robert Byrd. This time the odds are not in Horn’s favor to turn the tide.

Jermell Charlo vs. Austin Trout on Showtime (start time 10:00 p.m. EST)

No disrespect, whatsoever, for Santa Cruz-Mares 2. The first fight took place nearly three years ago, it was action-packed and the rematch should be interesting. But, Mares only fought once in both 2016 and 2017, including an almost 16-month break after the majority decision loss to Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz, maybe there is no one to blame, but no effort was made to make a unification bout with WBC champion Gary Russell, Jr. Santa Cruz once mentioned his next few desired targets, and never uttered Russell’s name.

So, enjoy that main event Saturday and make note of a projected amazing punch count.

As for the Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs) title defense versus gritty veteran Trout (31-4, 17 KOs), this fighter felt a little better about this matchup after realizing Trout did make a stealth return to action in El Paso, back in mid-February, on the Devon Alexander vs. Victor Ortiz card. Trout swept all eight rounds against Juan De Angel on all three judges’ cards.

That fight following the gutsy performance versus Jarrett Hurd, in conjunction with a reunion with trainer Barry Hunter for this bout, just does not move the needle enough for a Trout victory.

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Trout had several moments of success fending off the hard charging Hurd. But, Charlo employs more lateral movement, his shots are shorter and more sudden, and his power is more lethal.

Trout is giving up a bit of a size advantage in this bout, he’s an accomplished fighter and his toughness is another good attribute. In May of 2016 John Jackson was doing very well against Charlo before a sudden change of momentum stopped the fight in the eighth round. So, there is a formula to a victory by the southpaw from New Mexico.

Charlo has said he held a 10-week training camp, admitting he feels a little rusty, but that his preparation has him ready for 12 strong rounds. The champion will be patient, he will take what Trout gives him, and he scores a knock down near round 10.

Depending on the damage Trout has sustained through that juncture of the fight depends on whether the championship rounds are necessary. If the veteran is able to go to the well another time, Charlo prevails via unanimous decision.

Check Hooks

If you have not somehow succumbed to the appeal of streaming fights yet, give the experience a test drive – ahead of Horn vs. Crawford – by visiting Tom Loeffler’s 360 Promotions Facebook page Wednesday, June 6 to check out his Hollywood Fight Nights. Denis Shafikov and prospect Brian Ceballo are a couple of fighters to watch.

Friday, June 8 on ESPN2 Diego De La Hoya faces Jose Salgado in 10 rounds of Junior Featherweight action.

On CBS Sports Network, that same night, Chicago Light Heavyweight Mike Lee is scheduled for 10 rounds with Jose Hernandez in Rosemont, IL.

On the Horn vs. Crawford undercard, on ESPN+, prospect Shakur Stevenson returns to action. Also catch former IBF Super Featherweight champion Jose Pedraza and undefeated Welterweight Jose Benavidez in action.

Saturday on either Showtime’s Facebook page or YouTube channel, check out former unified Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury’s return to boxing, scheduled for 10 rounds versus Sefer Seferi. Terry Flanagan and Maurice Hooker will also clash for the vacant WBO Junior Welterweight title.

And if all that isn’t enough boxing, tune into Fox Sports 1/Fox Desportes Sunday, June 10 to catch a trio of Heavyweight bouts including Travis Kauffman and former world champion challenger Gerald Washington on a card in Lancaster, CA.

Head photo and gallery by Dave Mandel/Showtime




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