On Saturday night, Barclays Center will host three world title fights in the junior middleweight division on a card that will be televised by Showtime. It’s an important opportunity to showcase the talent in a division that can often get overlooked.
The card offers a lot of exposure for the six fighters competing in the main event bouts. Yet, at Wednesday’s media workout, two of the featured fighters, had their minds elsewhere.
WBA champion Erislandy Lara and WBC champion Jermell Charlo both live in Houston. They saw first-hand the damage Hurricane Harvey left and volunteered their time to help relief efforts.
“A lot of people would never understand if you’re not there,” Charlo said. “It’s hard for me to explain to you what happened in Houston if you are not driving down these streets. My neighbors had to get on boats. You drive down the street and you just see couches, everything that’s inside someone’s house, the sheet rock, the walls, the wood, everything, outside waiting to be picked up.”
“There’s been a lot of catastrophes in the world lately in Houston, Puerto Rico and Florida,” Lara said. “I’m fortunate that it only affected my training for three days so I was able to stay focused. My prayers go out to all those who need help to get through this.”
Lara, Charlo and Jermall Charlo (Jermell’s twin brother) volunteered at the same Houston food bank after the hurricane hit.
“I come from Cuba, an island that is often battered by storms,” said Lara. “I’ve seen people lose a lot to Mother Nature. I feel for them.”
Added Charlo: “And now you’ve got the wildfires in California. My prayers go out to all those affected. But it has brought Houston together, and we’re getting support from the NFL and NBA guys. And boxing has come together to help, too.”
Lara (24-2-2) defends his WBA title against undefeated contender Terrell Gausha (20-0). Charlo (29-0) will defend against unbeaten No. 1 contender Erickson Lubin (18-0). Rounding out the tripleheader is IBF champion Jarrett Hurd (20-0) defending his belt against former champion Austin Trout (30-3).
Brooklyn’s Cindy Serrano (26-5-3) fights Edina Kiss (14-5) in a female bout and Brooklyn welterweight Julian Sosa (9-0-1) fights Erick Martinez (14-9-1) in a six-round bout.
“I think my fight is the one the people want to see,” said Charlo. “My opponent is a young stud and he comes to win a world title. Is Lubin the best fighter I’ve faced? I’m 29-0 and I’ve fought a lot of great fighters.”
Charlo said he plans to use his platform on Saturday to bring attention to these still trying to cope with the natural disasters.
“It’s so important for me to bring a world title back to Houston,” said Charlo. “It’s not about the world title because my city needs it. My family needs it. My son loves it. Therefore, I’ve got my life on the line.”