WBA and IBO world champion Erislandy Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs) and IBF world champion Jarrett Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs) will meet to unify titles in a defining moment for the 154-pound division on April 7.
In 2017, SHOWTIME televised eight matchups featuring all of the top-five ranked super welterweight champions and challengers in an unofficial tournament.
This unification match will pit the technical wizardry of Cuba’s Lara against the strength and determination of Hurd.
The Lara v Hurd clash adds to an already packed schedule of fights announced at Showtime and PBC’s ‘Boxing UpFront’ event on Wednesday.
During the first quarter of 2018, three other massive events will take place prior to Lara v Hurd.
“It’s time to put everyone on notice who the best 154-pounder is. I know a win over Erislandy Lara will put me there so I’m coming for that number one spot,” said Hurd.
On February 17, two-division world champion Danny Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) returns to the ring to begin his quest for another welterweight world championship.
Garcia’s long reigns at 140 and 147 pounds ended last March in a close decision loss to unified champion Keith Thurman.
Now, Garcia will challenge tough former world champion Brandon Rios (34-3-1, 25 KOs), an all-action fighter who has fought the best in the sport.
In the co-main event, boxing’s youngest world champion, 21-year-old David Benavidez (19-0, 17 KOs), will make his first title defense in a rematch against top contender Ronald Gavril (18-2, 14 KOs).
The super middleweights fought a thrilling fight last September that ended in a controversial decision for Benavidez.
March 3rd sees the revival of the heavyweight world championship division continuing.
America’s undefeated, No. 1 heavyweight, WBC World Champion Deontay Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs),will face fellow unbeaten challenger Luis Ortiz (28-0, 24 KOs) in an anticipated matchup of consensus top-5 ranked heavyweights.
Wilder has held the coveted green belt since January 2015 and made six successful title defenses. Now, Wilder faces a highly skilled Cuban pugilist with big punching power in Ortiz.
The co-main event will feature former super welterweight champion and top middleweight contender Jermall Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs) taking on once-beaten contender Hugo Centeno Jr. (26-1, 14 KOs) for the Interim WBC Middleweight World Championship.
“My ideal goal is to show everyone why I’m the best in the world at 160 pounds,” said Charlo.
Finally on March 10th, one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in boxing, Mikey Garcia (37-0, 30 KOs) will attempt to make history by capturing a world title in a fourth weight class.
Standing in his way is unbeaten power-puncher and IBF Jr. Welterweight Champion Sergey Lipinets (13-0, 10 KOs), who is making his first title defense.
“Hopefully I get to accomplish this goal of winning the title in four different weight divisions on March 10,” said Garcia
“It’s an honor to be included on such a short list. This only opens up the doors to bigger fights and bigger things for my career. March 10 is just another small step closer to achieving my ultimate goal, which is to become the best fighter of this generation.”
Lipinets stated: “I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be on SHOWTIME and fight in this event. I will give my best before I get in the ring and when I get in the ring. I guarantee it will be a war and a great fight and you won’t be disappointed.”
Two 140-pound titles will be on the line as two-division champion Rances Barthelemy (26-0, 13 KOs) looks to become the first Cuban boxer to ever win world titles in three different weight classes when he faces Kiryl Relikh (21-2, 9 KOs) in a rematch of their controversial May bout, this time for the vacant WBA Super Lightweight title.