It's talent vs experience when Hurd meets Trout

154-pound world champion Jarrett Hurd wants to make a statement Saturday night; former champ Austin Trout wants his IBF belt back.

Jarrett Hurd vs Austin Trout

154-pound world champ Jarrett Hurd and former champ Austin Trout were all smiles at their introductory press conference, expect things to be less cordial in the ring on Saturday night. (Stephanie Trapp/Showtime)

It's raw talent against experience as Jarrett Hurd makes the first defense of his IBF 154-pound title Saturday night against former champion Austin Trout in a pivotal bout of a title tripleheader that airs on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs) may not have the experience of his foe, but he's got many of the physical advantages. At 6-foot-1 with a 76-inch reach, the Accokeek, Maryland native dwarfs the 5-foot-9 Trout in size. Hurd has also run off a half-dozen knockouts in a row against quality opposition, most recently against Tony Harrison to claim the vacant super welterweight belt.

Hurd scored a mesmerizing knockout of Harrison in February, but showed some holes in his game during the fight that a veteran like Trout could exploit. He wasn't very busy in rounds, throwing a low volume of punches. His head movement is spectacular, but he doesn't hold his hands up in defense, leaving himself open. Harrison had success when he opened up against Hurd. But Hurd's power kept Harrison on the defensive.

Hurd is making a pretty big leap in class when he faces Trout. Hurd has wins over Harrison, Jo Jo Dan, and Oscar Molina, a solid list of opposition, but if Trout is anywhere near his peak, he's vastly superior to that list of opponents. How will Hurd adjust if his strategy doesn't pan out at the beginning of the fight? 

That is the biggest mystery in this match.

"This is a fight I actually chose," Hurd said.  "We knew what was on the line with this fight with Austin Trout. He's no slouch and with his three losses, he had been in every fight so we knew this fight was going to be tough especially for a first defense but that describes me as a fighter including my mindset.

“I am a true champion, I want to fight the best and I don't want the fights that are not going to progress me and put me in line for the even bigger fights. I want to take the tough fights and I feel like if there's the slightest chance that an opportunity presents itself why can't I better myself? I'm willing to take that chance."

He's no slouch and with his three losses, he had been in every fight so we knew this fight was going to be tough especially for a first defense but that describes me as a fighter including my mindset. 154-pound champion Jarrett Hurd, on facing former champ Austin Trout

When he steps into the ring on Saturday night it will be almost 17 months since Trout (30-3, 17 KOs) last fought. Trout lost a spirited decision against Jermall Charlo last May for the same title he will be facing Hurd for. While Trout has been in with the vastly superior competition, dominating Miguel Cotto and giving Canelo Alvarez a stiff fight among others, he's trying to prove he isn't on the back nine of his career.

"There was no reason for the layoff, no injuries, no nothing," Trout said. "I'm not happy about it but it is what it is. But I thank God I've been in the gym and keeping in shape, call it vanity or not, trying not to get fat and trying to keep this beach bod so I'm still sharp. We've knocked all the ring rust out in camp. It's time to work."

At 32, Trout needs a win to avoid becoming a litmus test for young fighters to prove whether they have the goods or not. Becoming a two-time titleholder could rejuvenate Trout's career and a loss could stall it completely.

Trout's advantages lie in his craft. He's a crafty veteran, slick with a good southpaw jab. Hurd hasn't faced a quality southpaw yet in his pro career, and Trout is one of the best. Trout can also adjust his game if his out-the-gate strategy doesn't work. 

Trout has been fighting in championship fights almost as long as Hurd has been a professional. 

A definitive win for either Hurd or Trout could catapult them into the discussion as the No. 1 fighter at 154 pounds, and a unification bout with one of the other four fighters on Saturday’s card—which features a main event of WBA champ Erislandy Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs) against 2012 U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs) and WBC champion Jermell Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) vs top contender Erickson Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs)..

"After the success from October 14th, I'm not doing any interviews or anything. I'm going straight ring side until the end of both of those fights," Hurd said, regarding the possibility of fighting one of the other guys on the card. 

"That's why people ask me, did you want to be the opener or would you prefer being the main event. I said, "I don't hate being the opener because once I finish handling my business in the ring, I can observe my future opponents ringside."

For a complete look at Hurd vs Trout, visit our fight page.

IBF champion Jarrett Hurd faces former champ Austin Trout Saturday night in a 154-pound title tripleheader on Showtime.

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