Luis Arias’ career-changing upset of Jarrett Hurd last month has made Saturday night much more interesting for the 154-pound contender.
Now that he has knocked off a former unified 154-pound champion, the 31-year-old Arias would love an opportunity to fight the Jermell Charlo-Brian Castano winner next. The Milwaukee native realizes, though, that at least one of the four 154-pound titles at stake in the Charlo-Castano unification fight could become vacant if the winner wants to move up to the middleweight division or doesn’t want to make a mandatory defense of one of those belts.
“I mean, I got Floyd, so if I want a title fight, they’re gonna get me a title fight,” Arias, who is promoted by Floyd Mayweather’s company, told BoxingScene.com. “But they’re gonna make sure we take the right fights and the title fight is a meaningful fight and we fight the right guy for the title. Right now, I’ve just gotta sit back a little bit and see what happens [Saturday night] and what the winner is gonna do. And once we figure that out, I’m obviously a player in there. But if I’m a champion, I wouldn’t fight me right away. I’m a hard fight. But I also would fight me right away because if they don’t fight me and I keep fighting, I’m only gonna get better. So, I mean, we’ll see.”
Facing Hurd (24-2, 16 KOs) on the Floyd Mayweather-Logan Paul pay-per-view undercard obviously was the right fight at the right time for Arias (19-2-1, 9 KOs). He hadn’t won a fight in nearly four years, but Arias out-landed and out-worked the former IBF/IBO/WBA 154-pound champion and the underestimated underdog won a 10-round split decision June 6 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Hurd requested the middleweight limit for his fight against Arias, but the rejuvenated Arias considers himself a 154-pounder.
“I just proved that self-belief and being a true fighter and just sticking to your craft will pay off at the end,” Arias said. “I mean, everyone stepped on me. No one picked me. A couple people picked me, but most people did not pick me. Most writers did not pick me. I hadn’t won a fight in three years, but I know what I can bring to the table. I just showed you I’m a great fighter. My resume is getting better and better. My experience is getting better and better, and I just dominated a former unified champion. It goes to show you I’m a legit threat to anybody that I fight. So, I’m glad I was able to do that.”
Arias expects the favored fighter to emerge victorious Saturday night, however, when Houston’s Charlo (34-1, 18 KOs) and Argentina’s Castano (17-0-1, 12 KOs) square off in a “Showtime Championship Boxing” main event at AT&T Center in San Antonio (9 p.m. ET; 6 p.m. PT). They’ll fight for Charlo’s IBF, WBA and WBC belts and Castano’s WBO championship.
“I think Charlo’s gonna win just because he’s been on this stage longer, he’s been a champion longer and his confidence is a lot better,” Arias said. “There’s a lot of little factors that play into big fights, on the big stage, just because of how bright the lights get. And I just don’t know what Castano’s gonna do. Usually when two good guys fight, you always lean towards the bigger guy.
“Castano throws a lot of punches, but he’s smaller. He just seems one-dimensional. I only see one thing, and at that level, you’re gonna have to have different weapons. So, I’m leaning towards Charlo. And I’m thinking, for my resume, I’d rather have Charlo for all the belts than Castano for all the belts.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.