By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) will televise a card from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York live on Showtime. Tom Brown’s TGB Promotions and Lou DiBella’s DiBella Entertainment are the co-promoters of this card.
The main event of the evening will be between Brian Castano and Erislandy Lara for Castano’s WBA “Regular” Junior Middleweight Title. The co-main event of the evening will be a heavyweight clash between Luis Ortiz and Christian Hammer.
The undercard will feature prospects and contenders such as Bryan De Gracia, Eduardo Ramirez, Edward Rodriguez, and Antonio Russell.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime Boxing
The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the evening.
Luis Ortiz (30-1) vs. Christian Hammer (24-5); Heavyweight
Luis Ortiz challenged for the heavyweight title in 2018 in an exciting bout with Deontay Wilder but faded at the end and was stopped before the final bell. Since then he has come back to defeat Travis Kauffman and Razvan Cojanu as he attempts to get another shot at a heavyweight title.
On Saturday he’ll be facing Christian Hammer, a fighter who is about 8 years younger than him and about two inches shorter. Hamer fought twice in 2018 and three times in 2017 and has five losses on his record. Ortiz, despite his advancing age, has also been active and fought three times in 2018 and once in 2017.
Ortiz has the edge in most comparable stats. He also has the knockout power edge as he has stopped twenty six of his opponents while Hammer only stopped fourteen of his opponents. Ortiz also had a better amateur career as he was a multi-time Cuban National Champion while Hammer was a former Romanian Amateur Boxing Champion.
Ortiz has defeated the likes of Malik Scott, Tony Thompson, Bryant Jennings, and Monte Barrett. Hammer has defeated the likes of Michael Wallisch, David Price, Erkan Teper, and Kevin Johnson.
However, Hammer has also lost to the likes of Mariusz Wach, Taras Bidenko, Tyson Fury, and Alexander Povetkin.
Ortiz’s age is of concern, but he’s still an elite level boxer with considerable power. Hammer is basically a fringe contender.
Saturday should be a relatively easier fight for Ortiz.
Brian Castano (15-0) vs. Erislandy Lara (25-3-2); WBA Junior Middleweight Title
Erislandy Lara has long been considered a pound for pound great and one of the best boxers in the junior middleweight division. However, he has lost some of his shine since his loss to Jarrett Hurd and his advancing age of thirty five.
On Saturday he will be facing a tough young opponent in Brian Castano, who is six years younger than Lara.
Lara will have a significant edge in height of three inches and reach of seven inches. Lara does have fourteen stoppages on his resume, three more than Castano, but he fought twice the number of fights.
Castano had a good amateur career and was a gold medalist in the South American Games. He also beat current pound for pound great Errol Spence Jr. as an amateur. Lara was a Cuban National Champ and a World Champ as an amateur which gives him the slight edge in amateur experience.
Lara has lost to the likes of Jarrett Hurd, Canelo Alvarez, and Paul Williams. He has defeated the likes of Terrell Gausha, Yuri Foreman, Vanes Martirosyan, Jan Zaveck, Delvin Rodriguez, Ishe Smith, and Austin Trout.
Castano has defeated the likes of Cedric Vitu, Michel Soro, Emmanue de Jesus, and Marcus Upshaw. At this point in their careers, Lara has defeated the better fighters.
However, Lara is advancing in age and showed signs of it when he lost to Jarrett Hurd. Castano is known for being an aggressive fighter who throws a high number of punches, a style that will usually give an older fighter fits as the fight progresses to the later rounds.
This writer feels this will be Castano’s breakout fight and will score an upset over Lara.