...and on a higher-class tier, but the proportionate gulf in combatants' skill is comparable on both halves of the analogy. Lara is giving up 4" height and 2½" reach, and is, at 34 (with his 35th birthday just a week after this fight!), both nearing the ostensible sell-by date for non-heavyweights and seven years older than prime, 27 year old, monstrously-large-for-JMW, athletic-for-his-size, explosive-for-anyone's-money Hurd. Still, though. Lara ought to be 28-0-1 professionally. Three of his blemishes (including both losses and the latter draw, with Martirosyan, which he later avenged by comfortable UD) were miscarriages of justice IMO. His only deserved blemish (matter of personal opinion - mine, not everyone's - but suffice to say instead his only non-controversial blemish) remains the first, the draw with underrated spoiler Carlos Molina, which I had a draw, as did Teddy Atlas, two of the assigned judges, and most unbiased observers. This was, however, the first real step up in the pro ranks for Lara (his previous biggest having been Darnell Boone & Grady Brewer, neither of whom are quite equipped to prepare one for the nightmare style of a pain-in-the-ass fighter like Molina, who came in determined & hungry for a come-up opportunity after stringing together some nice wins and then languishing on the shelf for nearly two years but staying fresh in the gym) and factoring this in he acquitted himself well, and learned from the experience to better himself in later fights. Lara is a master boxer. Hurd is a good fighter, an okay boxer, and one hell of a physical specimen. But he isn't a master boxer. He plays checkers where Lara plays chess. For comparative purposes: both fought Austin Trout, but Hurd fought a 17-month layoff worse-for-wear version of Trout and had a hell of a time dealing with him in the first half, dropping the first six rounds in a row on nearly everybody's card (save the Haymon-bought judges') and, while he did have momentum brewing and would've probably forced at least a draw for himself (a win if he scored a KD or two), he was on every fair scorecard down on points as of the stoppage, having received a boxing lesson until Trout's wind supply expired. Lara on the other hand fought Trout four years before Hurd, when his fellow well-educated lefty was smack in his prime (and had been an undefeated champ just eight months prior). Lara schooled him. If you asked him what his solitary one-sided loss to date has been, there is No Doubt what Austin would reply. Everything about Trout which gave Hurd difficulty is present in Lara (both are southpaws, both are slick, both are smart, both are fast) and then some, including underrated pop, but missing are some of the flaws which endear the former to fans while Lara still has a hard time rallying them under his banner. Trout is a member of the "can box when he minds his p's and q's but at the end of the day, when goaded, is too much of a warrior for his own good" club, along with Khan, Gatti, Cotto and so many others. Lara doesn't have that problem. He will gladly lure an opponent - especially a larger, clumsier opponent he can make to look foolish with their missed power shots lunged in desperation - into an endless game of pot-shot stick-and-move cat-and-mouse, with no regard for giving ticketholders a sense of having gotten their shillings' worth. Doing this conserves more energy than does Trout's style, which blends slickness and intelligently balanced movement & counter-punching with occasional shows of ill-advised but crowd-charming bravado in center ring (prolonged if you can tag him good). On the same card that Hurd squeaked by Trout, a former Olympian with a then-identical 20-0 mark (and with amateur victories over Esquiva Falcão and Jesse Hart x2), named Terrell Gausha was completely dismantled by the same 34 year old Lara that will be entering this unification contest with Hurd. Now, while Gausha was never as hyped as Hurd is now, and isn't half as dangerous a puncher, he does have a significantly better pedigree. Hurd fought just barely over three dozen times in the amateurs, never succeeding beyond regional tourneys (failing to medal @ the national GG's, and never even participating in any major ones abroad) - which means his last stretch of five opponents have been arguably the summit of what "Swift" has seen in the ring: a shot rusty Trout (who still put it on Hurd's ass through six), Kronk scion & glass cannon Tony Harrison (just like Trout, was up on damn near everyone's card through six, outjabbing and outboxing Hurd until he gassed and got caught), Jo-Jo freaking Dan, Óscar Molina (who did enjoy moderate success in the amateurs, though nothing like Gausha's, let alone Lara's...and has proved useless in the paid game), and casino fighter & regional draw Frank Galarza (whose 17-0 with 11 kayos record before he fought Hurd was heavily padded, and who immediately went on to get dropped by & lose to Ishé Smith). Let's recap: - shot rusty Trout - Harrison - Dan - Molina - Galarza That is the HIGHEST caliber with which Hurd has ever mixed, amateur or pro. Lara's 6th-10th best opponents (even just narrowing it down to his professional opponents!!!) would probably defeat them if teamed off at random. (and I think Austin Trout of 2017 would be KTFO by himself from 2013) Hurd's amateur record was 32-8. Lara's was 320-10. The former lost ⅕ of a small handful of fights against mostly domestic and middling opposition, the latter just 3% of a metric fuck-ton against largely the best in the world. So, in summation, while Hurd is "hot" right now, and seemed to dwarf Lara in their face-off at the Showtime Upfront event, and is a talented kid - more talented kids (ie Canelo) have failed to force Lara to stand his ground and fight. Guys with more raw power (arguably, or at least as much - ie Angulo) have failed to keep him down even when they clipped him with something good. Guys with a more refined and seasoned pressure-fighting style (ie Martirosyan x2) have been kept at bay and frustrated over the long haul. Guys with a LOT more skill and higher boxing IQ (ie Trout, Gausha) haven't been able to avoid getting carved up by him. The one guy with an even bigger size advantage and higher workrates (ie PTP) was unable to pick up a clean W over him. Now, Williams did make it close enough to put himself in a position to beat Lara officially (with a little nudge from the judges)...but Hurd is no Williams. I think Jarrett gets outpointed widely, or possibly even stopped late. Slow your roll before declaring him the heir-apparent conqueror of 154lb with Jermell Charlo reportedly seeking to follow his brother up to middleweight to attempt to co-reign there. Erislandy is still here. And he's still the man to beat in the division...and if he snatches the IBF belt to go with his WBA, he will officially IMO be the man at last.