By: Robert Contreras
On Saturday, May 25, Al Haymon’s brainchild PBC is back on FOX sports 1 from the Beau Rivage Resort Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi where four of the country’s super welterweight standouts fight to prove themselves better than the rest of the field.
Headlining the show is former world champion Austin Trout, of New Mexico, as he meets U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha, from Ohio. In chief support, Chordale “The Gift” Booker looks to extend his undefeated record against divisional gatekeeper Wale “Lucky Boy” Omotoso.
Light heavyweight hopeful Ahmed Elbiali will be playing the role of curtain jerker, kicking off the FS1 broadcast at 8 p.m. ET.
Here’s a closer look at the two 154-pound matchups bolstering the card.
Austin Trout (31-5, 17 KO) vs. Terrell Gausha (21-1, 10 KO)
The 10-round main event will be Trout’s first fight since he settled for a majority-decision loss in June 2018 to Jermell Charlo. Over the championship distance, he kept up with the defending champion, going tit for tat, but two knockdowns assured Charlo the upperhands on the scorecards. It was his second loss to the fighting family.
In all, the 33-year-old southpaw from New Mexico may only be 1-3 over his previous four fights but he has remained near the top of the weight for years. His crowning achievement came in 2012 when he became the No. 1 boxer in the class (with no major promoter, to boot) by decisioning Miguel Cotto. But the following year back-to-back losses threatened to put an end to his days as a title contender. After taking apart Cotto, he was outboxed by Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara.
Still, Trout carried on (even when sanctioning body malfeasance forced him into legal battles) acquiring three world title opportunities in as many fights going back to 2016. Rated Top 10 in the world by the WBC—whose title picture will become clear when the dust settles between Tony Harrison and aforementioned Charlo at the end of June—the pride and joy of New Mexico could secure yet another crack at the belt with a win over Gausha.
Gausha, a 31-year-old former title challenger himself, did not have to wait long to acquire some real sponsorship. After all, Haymon signed him straight out of the 2012 Olympic Games. Then without beating anybody worth their weight in salt, Gausha was pushed into a championship fight in 2017 against Lara. The American’s performance would not earn him any new fans. He was clearly a step behind the Cuban over the entire 12 rounds and hardly initiated much offense.
It would be another 14 months before Gausha was back in the ring. He finally returned last December to blast veteran Joey Hernandez inside of one round. The knockout was enough to regain a Top 15 rating by the WBA. And it is the kind of firepower necessary to carve out a place in the Top 10 and, more importantly, to win back favor with fight fans.
Gausha’s reputation may have preceded him in the eyes of the PBC. But a better picture of who he is as a fighter materialized in the minds of fans after being repeatedly floored by nondescript opponents—hitting the deck against the unheralded Luis Hernandez and William Waters—and walking away with a lucky decision over Steven Martinez, who swarmed the Olympian for the entirety of the scheduled 10 rounds.
If Trout is a shining example of determination, Gausha, with all the sterling promotional backing a boxer could hope for, is as underwhelming as former prospects can be. He is welcomed to prove everybody wrong on Saturday.
Chordale Booker (14-0, 7 KO) vs. Wale Omotoso (27-3, 21 KO)
Booker, 28, fights out of Connecticut, running up an undefeated pro record since turning professional in 2016. He is a fundamentally sound southpaw, operating behind a good jab. But his ring generalship can similarly be just as stiff: not one for upper-body movement and seemingly only capable of fighting in straight lines, moving forwards and backwards.
Four months ago, his modus operandi was enough to do the trick against the middling Juan De Angel, winning a wide decision and nearly securing the stoppage. Booker never let up over the full eight rounds, following De Angel around, stuffing straight punches into his man and adjusting in the latter rounds to send the Columbian puncher to the canvas with body blows.
Now graduating to the ten-round distance, he has a longtime spoiler to deal with.
Omotoso, 34, has seen it all nearly in his 13 years as a professional and brings the kind of power in his fists to test his younger counterpart. Once the welterweight division’s boogeyman the Nigerian-born California transplant is dangerous, holding more knockouts to his name than Booker has fights. It was an unlucky split-decision loss to Jamal James, after overpowering James, that convinced Omotoso to test his luck at 154 pounds.
Last competing in 2017, when he outfought Freddy Hernandez, it also marked his divisional debut. True to form, Omotoso turned up the ante at the end of the rounds to steal the cards. But he also once again showed a susceptibility to a cultured jab.
That’s what Booker’s game revolves around, boxing’s most important punch. Now to see if he can stand up to his man’s fast-twitch clubbing ability.