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Lara vs Castano: Established veterans, prospects featured on Brooklyn card

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There’s the usual big mix of talent featured at Barclays Center this Saturday.

Keith Thurman v Josesito Lopez Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Our friends at BoxRec are unequivocal aces, and they often post fights before the scoop sniffers get to posting them.

But only three bouts are listed for the Saturday slate at Barclays Center. Now, you know the PBC crew has a load of talent to keep busy, so you know there are more fights than that unfolding underneath the Erislandy Lara WBA 154-pound title tango against Argentine Brian Castano.

Lara is the highly-regarded vet who engaged in a Fight of the Year-type faceoff last time out against Jarrett Hurd. Maybe age and that rugged back-and-forth leaves him a lesser man, and allows the 15-0 Castano to pull off what would be seen as a fairly major upset in the eyes of most.

Luis Ortiz is the biggest name on the slate; the Cuban Kong is a heavy fave against Christian Hammer, who comes from Hamburg, Germany, with a 24-5 record. Ortiz is 30-1, but who knows? Maybe Father Time has been sprinkling the bad dust on the dude and Hammer gets a career-best win. I’d not bet the farm, or even half, on that likelihood.

Edner Cherry was pulled after a medical issue and Bryan De Gracia (24-1-1) from Panama is going to face off with Eduardo Ramirez, who comes from Mexico with a 21-1-3 record.

Vet Edwin Rodriguez, now campaigning at cruiser, holds a 30-2 mark; the ex-Massachussets man, now calling Texas home, puts it on the line versus 16-6-3 Mitch Williams from Mississippi. E-Rod had time in the sun at 168; he wasn’t able to down Andre Ward in his super step up fight in 2013. He’s now trying his hand at cruiser, and fights intermittently.

Featherweight Leduan Barthelemy (13-0-1) comes to BK from Vegas to meet 11-6-2 Miguel Angel Aispuro from Mexico. Gary Antuanne Russell (pictured up top) and bro Gary Antonio Russell from Maryland seek to go to 9-0 and 13-0, respectively, against 11-8 Jose Marrufo and 16-3 Jose M. Cardenas.

7-0 Richardson Hitchins is acclimating real well to the pro game; he’ll be champing at the bit to step up the ladder and he is awaiting word on his opponent Saturday.

A junior welter scrap, pitting Tyrek Irby (6-0; from MD) against 2-1-1 Dennis Okoth from Kenya, is set for six or less.

Aaron Anderson (3-0; also from MD) meets Chukka Willis, who has a 4-9 mark, and lives in Georgia.

Maybe primary on the minds of most when assessing the card is: could Castano down Lara? He’s 29 so might be the fresher guy. But have meetings with Cedric Vitu and Michel Soro given him the sort of looks that will make a dance off with Lara palatable?

Maybe yes, maybe no — and yes, Castano has to hope in the back of his head, that Lara, at 35, had something removed from his skill set by Hurd when they rumbled in April 2018. The Cuban lost via SD, and yes, his reflexes likely have dimmed a notch. You maybe didn’t know that Castano holds the strap, for the record. And he beat Errol Spence in the amateurs. He also beat Sergey Derevyanchnko in the World Series of Boxing.

Check out Castano flurrying to stop Vitu:

Gotta like his energy, his desire, how he hustles across the ring after drawing and smelling blood. Let’s see how that left hook he likes to rip on righties works on the crafty Cuban. It worked when he combo’d on the southpaw Vitu, and made him square up.

His people hope that paths are crossing advantageously for the Argentine, that Lara’s decades in the game have left him depleted enough to give Castano an inside track on the upset.

Doors at the arena open at 5 pm and fights start around that time.