Six of the world's top 154-pound boxers are ready to pay homage to their division's deep history, while trying to strengthen their own legacies Saturday night during a title tripleheader in Brooklyn, NY.

A 154-pound title tripleheader airs this Saturday, Oct. 14 on Showtime at 10 p.m ET/7 p.m. PT.

It’s a weight class that holds a list of greats, all-time greats and transcendent greats: Nino Benvenuti, Manny Pacquiao, Wilfred Benítez, Roy Jones Jr., Sugar Ray Leonard, Miguel Cotto, Thomas Hearns, Mike McCallum, Julian Jackson, Roberto Durán, Terry Norris, Tommy Hearns, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Winky Wright.

Almost all of them are Hall of Famers or will be Hall of Famers. Yet, if you asked most boxing experts what weight class most of the above fighters are associated with, not many would say 154 pounds. Although, every fighter listed fought and held titles in that weight class.

Throughout the history of boxing, junior middleweight, or super welterweight, whatever moniker you prefer, has sometimes held the status of the ugly redheaded stepchild that has been the conduit connecting two great historic divisions—the welterweight class and middleweight division.

On Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the current crop of world-class 154-pounders clash with titles at stake as WBA world chamion Erislandy Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs) meets 2012 U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs) in the main event of a 154-pound title tripleheader airing on Showtime at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The other championship bouts feature WBC champion Jermell Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) vs WBC No. 1 contender Erickson Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs) and IBF titleholder Jarrett Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs) facing former 154-pound champ Austin Trout (30-3, 17 KOs).

Through time, the division has received a modicum of respect. Maybe this group can change that, because there isn’t really a deep history at 154.

By most accounts, the division was created by the Austrian Board of Control so Emil Griffith could fight—and defeat—Teddy Wright on October 17, 1962, in Vienna, Austria. It was on a Wednesday. And to show how nebulous the division’s history began, some accounts go back to the early 1920s as to the establishment of the 154-pound class.

Another account has the division making its legitimate debut on October 20, 1962, three days after the Griffith-Wright “world” junior middleweight title bout that was sanctioned in Austria. A sanctioning body approved of the Denny Moyer-Joey Giambra fight, won by Moyer in the Portland Coliseum. Sonny Liston was the referee.

BoxRec.com has the weight class being established in 1952.

So even the history of the 152-pound division gets greeted with some lack of respect.

The division’s longest streak of consecutive title defenses belongs to a middling Italian named Gianfranco Rosi, who defended his title a record 11 times—before meeting a real title holder in Donald Curry in 1988.

“The strongest historic time for the junior middleweight division was in the 1980s, and no offense to Gianfranco Rosi, he’s the one who’s made the most defenses as a junior middleweight champion,” said Showtime boxing broadcaster, noted boxing historian and Hall of Famer Steve Farhood. “Rossi was a good fighter, but he wasn’t Bernard Hopkins at middleweight, Bob Foster at light heavyweight and Roberto Duran at lightweight.

“Today’s junior middleweight class isn’t as strong as the division was in the 1980s, when you had the four kings (Leonard, Duran, Hagler and Hearns) hovering around 152, but is growing and has something to aspire to. I break down the division today into three categories. You have the veterans, which is obviously Lara and Trout, the other is the young stars, which is Jermell and Demetrius Andrade, who could move to middleweight, and then the younger guys, like Lubin, who could be a future champion.

“It’s a good mix of today, tomorrow and yesterday.”

Today’s junior middleweight class isn’t as strong as the division was in the 1980s, when you had the four kings (Leonard, Duran, Hagler and Hearns) hovering around 152, but is growing and has something to aspire to. Showtime boxing broadcaster and historian Steve Farhood

Farhood addressed the history of why junior middleweight has been sometimes viewed as a way station between welterweight and middleweight.

“Fighters go where the money is, and it’s like cruiserweight, the money has historically been at light heavyweight and heavyweight,” Farhood said. “Money has been at middleweight, and its why Ray Leonard moved up, and why Mike McCallum moved to 160. Historically, the money has always been at middleweight.

“Junior middleweight is not a division unlike any other weight class. Would Aaron Pryor not be Aaron Pryor if he fought at any other weight class than 140? I don’t know. The division is certainly capable of producing outstanding champions.”

John David Jackson held titles at 154 and at 160. Now a highly successful trainer, Jackson recalls how the division was viewed, and in the past how it was overlooked. Jackson ruled when Julian Jackson, Vincent Pettway, Rosi, Terry Norris, Curry and Vinny Pazienza came through there.

“There were a lot of great fighters at 154, and it is a division that doesn’t get the respect that it’s due, because it is in the shadow of the glamour division, which is the middleweight class,” Jackson said. “The weight was easy for me to make. I was a natural 154-pounder. But I had been a junior middleweight since I was 17 and it’s a weight class that you can grow out of.

“Today, there is also talent there. Like when I fought, it is a division that gets overlooked because of the middleweight division, which is obviously where you have Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. In my era, in the late-1980 and early-1990s, the top junior middleweights weren’t allowed to fight each other. Imagine how many great fights would have been made if the best were allowed to fight the best back then. I was turned down 35 times for a fight—and it was a title fight.”

One time, Jackson recalled, sitting in the office of a prominent promoter when six calls were made to the managers of six contenders. They all said ‘no.’

Julian Jackson was one of the most terrorizing punchers of his time. Most of his most prominent victories came at 154.

“I started at welterweight but I moved up to 154,” Julian Jackson said. “A lot of people were looking at the heavyweight division, and that was Mike Tyson’s time, but I think we have among the best fighters in the world at 154 today. Boxing back then was more about the sport than it was about the money, I think. We had more love of the sport than you have today.

“I loved 154 and was comfortable there. It was a division filled with quick, powerful guys and that’s what makes the division unique.”

For a complete look at Lara vs Gausha, Charlo vs Lubin, and Hurd vs Trout, visit our fight page.

Erislandy Lara vs Terrell Gausha

Top 154-pound fighters (left to right) Jarrett Hurd, Jermell Charlo, Erislandy Lara, Terrell Gausha, Erickson Lubin and Austin Trout pose during the introductory press conference for their Oct. 14 title tripleheader on Showtime. (Stephanie Trapp/Showtime)

Unbeaten 154-pound contender will carry former trainer's principles into the ring with him Saturday night when he faces champion Erislandy Lara in the main event of a 154-pound title tripleheader on Showtime.

Terrell Gausha

Unbeaten 154-pound contender Terrell Gausha lands a blow in his August 2016 victory over Steve Martinez. The Cleveland native fights for his first world title Saturday night on Showtime. (Andy Samuelson/Premier Boxing Champions)

When Terrell Gausha challenges champion Erislandy Lara for a 154-pound championship on Saturday at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, his inspiration will be to honor a fallen mentor and father figure.

Bob Davis introduced a 10-year-old Gausha to boxing at the Glenville Recreation Center in Cleveland, stepping in two years after the youngster’s father, Melton, died of heart failure. Gausha was deprived of a male role model to help him navigate the crime-ridden neighborhood.

While Gausha’s mother, Taretha Jones, instilled discipline and perseverance, Davis guided Gausha to five Cleveland Golden Gloves titles and a pair of amateur national crowns. Gausha went on to represent the United States in the 2012 Olympics in London and is now on the threshold of winning his first professional world championship.

At the Olympics, Gausha scored a third-round knockout over Armenia’s Andranik Hakobyan in the first round of the games before being eliminated, 16-15, by India’s Vijender Singh, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist.

Davis died of an illness in 2015. That same year Gausha won four bouts to improve to 17-0 with eight knockouts as a professional. A 2005 graduate of Glenville High School, Gausha credits Davis for saving his life.

“I missed time with my father, but my mother was a great example working 32 years at Chrysler starting at the age of 19 before retiring. Bob Davis came and got me every day, took me to church, taught me about life,” said Gausha, who has a 9-year-old daughter, Ty’era, and fiancé, Christa Kondru

“He taught me principles, to channel my anger, frustrations, energy and helped me to believe in myself. Watching me put that belt around my waist would mean the world to him. He’s always on my mind. I wish he was here to see me. I know he’d be proud.”

Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs) challenges Lara (24-2, 14 KOs), a 34-year-old making his sixth defense, in the headliner of a 154-pound championship tripleheader featuring defenses by Jarrett Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs) against left-handed former champion Austin Trout (30-3, 17 KOs) and Jermell Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) against left-hander Erickson Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs) on Showtime (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).

“I’ve always paid homage to my coach,” said Gausha. “I pay tribute wearing the black and red colors of the uniform for the Glenville Recreation Center and I have Glenville written on my mouthpiece.”

Bob Davis taught me principles, to channel my anger, frustrations, energy and helped me to believe in myself. Watching me put that belt around my waist would mean the world to him. 154-pound contender Terrell Gausha, on his mentor and former trainer

Gausha is looking forward to fighting in the main event for a world championship at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

“As a human being, you’re gonna have some nerves, want to engage, prove yourself and put on a good show, but I’m focused rather than being anxious and feeling pressure,” said Gausha, who is now trained by Manny Robles. “We’ve worked for this moment. I’m looking forward to embracing the atmosphere, executing my game plan and making some new fans. I can’t be overwhelmed as the main event.”

Gausha’s past two victories were majority and unanimous decisions over Steve Martinez (August 2016) and Luis Hernandez (February), following a seventh-round stoppage of Orlando Lora (April 2016).

Gausha last faced a southpaw in July 2014, his first round stoppage of Ronnie Warrior Jr. improving his mark to 11-0 with six knockouts. He sparred Ukrainian 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Taras Shelestyuk (16-0, 10 KOs), power-punching Chris Pearson (14-2, 10 KOs) of Dayton, Ohio, and South African Chris van Heerden (25-2-1, 12 KOs).

“I’ve gotten different looks preparing for a Lara’s craftiness, but nobody’s going to emulate his style, completely. I’ll have to be smart and bring out more tools than in the past,” said Gausha.

Gausha draws inspiration in his first title fight from his Olympic teammates who have won world championships–Errol Spence and Rau’shee Warren.

“We’ve always talked about winning world titles," said Gausha. "It's inspiring for Errol Spence and Rau’Shee Warren to accomplish their dreams. A few of my teammates, like [175-pound contender] Marcus Brown, will be ringside to support me.”

Lara’s resume includes stopping ex-titleholders Alfredo Angulo and Jan Zaveck, decisions over Trout and ex-champ Ishe Smith, title challengers Vanes Martirosyan, Delvin Rodriguez and Freddy Hernandez, and losing by majority and split-decision to former two-division titleholders Paul Williams and Canelo Alvarez.

“It doesn’t matter that fans doubt me after seeing Lara against bigger names,” said Gausha. “Being the underdog motivates me. I have everything to gain and nothing to lose. I want to keep my ‘0,’ become a world champion and establish my legacy.”

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Current and former world champions Andre Berto, Jermell and Jermall Charlo, Erislandy Lara and Abner Mares teamed up with business partners in their local communities to provide assistance to victims of recent hurricanes and earthquake.

Much love to my girl @beyonce pullin up on us, getting her hands dirty showin love to the city appreciate u for that. #TheHarvest #BirthdayLove #VirgoGang #SnapChat: Andre_Berto

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As Abner Mares trained at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Century Boxing Gym last Thursday for an October 14 defense of his 126-pound title, the second of several supply trucks Mares and his team helped fill was headed for earthquake-ravaged Mexico.

Parts of his home country were devastated early last month when a powerful earthquake killed 370 people. Mares and his wife, Nathalie, a makeup artist, have joined a pair of Los Angeles-based businesses in loading donations onto vehicles, the first of which left on September 25, and shipping items to Mexico.

Nathalie has family living in Mexico City. For the past few weeks some of her clients have brought donated items to her Essence of Beauty salon in Downey, California.

“Nathalie’s promoting everything from clothes, water, canned food, baby diapers, baby wipes, food for dogs and syringes for needles,” said Mares, 31, who was 7 when his mother, Belen Martinez, came to Los Angeles with her children from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.

“Nathalie was born and raised in Mexico City. Her Mom, a sister, a grandmother and uncles live there. Thank God, they’re okay, unlike in some places where they pretty much lost it all. This is what it really means to be ‘A fighter for the people.’ Using the platform to change lives when they need you to help our immediate family and our country.”

Mares (30-2-1, 15 KOs) is training to defend his title against Andres Gutierrez (35-1-1, 25 KOs) on FOX (7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT) as part of a 126-pound championship double-header on Oct. 14, featuring a title defense by fellow champion Leo Santa Cruz (33-1-1, 18 KOs) against Chris Avalos (27-5, 20 KOs) from StubHub Center.

While Mares champions Mexico, others have assisted with disaster relief in the wakes of Hurricanes Harvey in Texas and Irma in Florida and the Caribbean.

This is what it really means to be ‘A fighter for the people.’ Using the platform to change lives when they need you to help our immediate family and our country. 126-pound World Champion Abner Mares

Last week, 154-pound champions Erislandy Lara and Jermell Charlo joined the Houston Food Bank along with Charlo’s twin brother, Jermall, preparing boxes of food for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs) is busy training for his world title defense on Oct. 14 against Terrell Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs) as the headliner of a 154-pound championship tripleheader on Showtime (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT) from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

The hurricanes affected Lara on three fronts. Harvey ravaged parts of his adopted hometown of Houston, and Hurricane Irma rattled loved ones in his native Cuba as well as friends in Florida.

The Cuban southpaw trains under Ronnie Shields at Plex Boxing Gym in Sugarland, Texas — a suburb of Houston, 20 minutes from his home with his wife, Yudi, and three children. Two more sons, Erislandy and Robertlandy, live in Cuba with Lara's mother, Marciel.

"My family back home in Cuba are safe,’’ Lara said. “Houston has suffered with Hurricane Harvey. I've seen the devastation. Coming to the Food Bank with my wife is my little grain of sand to help a bigger cause. I come from Cuba, an island that is often battered by storms. I've seen people lose a lot to Mother Nature. I feel for them.”

Jermell Charlo shares trainer Derrick James with left-handed 147-pound champion Errol Spence, who has been sparring with Charlo at the R&R Boxing Gym in Dallas. While Charlo’s home in Houston experienced some flooding, James said their regimen has been unhindered.

"I didn't get a chance to really see my house [during Hurricane Harvey] because I've been gone,” said Charlo. “Everybody basically was like 'Don't worry about what's going on.' I'm trying to keep my mind off of it.”

Andre Berto delivered food and cleaning and bedding supplies last month in Houston.  The two-time 147-pound world champion remains heavily committed to relief efforts in Haiti, his parents’ birth country, through his Berto Dynasty Foundation since an earthquake rocked the island nation in January 2010.

“It’s an automatic instinct for me. Being charitable is close to my heart,” said Berto, a native of Winter Haven, Florida. “In Florida people we’re prepared for it. But I’m still on the phones seeing if people need [help] and just checking on damage in general.”

Irma ripped the Caribbean, including St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, where trained chef and 175-pound contender Julius Jackson used his culinary skills to help his neighbors. Nicknamed “The Chef,” Jackson, 30, has fed thousands as manager and head chef for the non-profit, My Brother's Workshop Cafe and Bakery.

“It’s my home,” said Jackson. “I don’t want to be anywhere else but here, saving lives, doing what I can to rebuild. That’s my mission for as long as it takes.”

Erislandy Lara and Jermell and Jermall Charlo

154-pound champions Jermell Charlo (left) and Erislandy Lara, along with Charlo's twin brother, Jermall, joined workers at the Houston Food Bank on Sept. 26 in preparing boxes of food for victims of Hurricane Harvey (Andy Hemingway/Showtime).

Bermane "B. WARE" Stiverne

Featherweight champ Abner Mares checks in to discuss his upcoming October 14th title defense against Andres Gutierrez on Showtime, as well as the possibility of moving up to 130-pounds. That and more, including another round of PBC Trivia, in this week's PBC Jabs.

Think you know about heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder?

Prove it by testing your boxing knowledge with this week's PBC Trivia. If you answer correctly, you'll be entered to win a PBC t-shirt!

Fight Night: Fri, Nov 17, 2017 - Dort Federal Credit Union Center, Flint, Michigan

Dirrell vs Douglin

Anthony Dirrell wins a technical decision victory over Denis Douglin after the fight went to the scorecards in the sixth round following an accidental headbutt.
PBC Boxing Video Thumbnail

Dirrell vs Douglin Highlights: November 17, 2017 - PBC on FS1

Dirrell vs Douglin Round by Round Fight Summary. Rounds are displayed numerically as columns. Each row will display one of the following: W for win, L for loss, KO for knockout, or TKO for technical knock out. An empty column means that data is not available.
Fighter Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Dirrell No data available No data available No data available No data available
Douglin No data available No data available No data available No data available

Anthony Dirrell wins a unanimous technical decision victory over Denis Douglin after the fight went to the scorecards in the sixth round following an accidental headbutt.

Anthony Dirrell vs Denis Douglin

Sylvia Jones/Premier Boxing Champions

Dirrell (31-1-1, 24 knockouts) won a six-round technical decision against Denis Douglin on Friday night in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions in Dirrell's home of Flint, Michigan. Scores of the bout were 49-46, and 48-47 twice in favor of Dirrell.

The former 168-pound titlist had his opponent hurt in the first round of their bout, but the veteran gatekeeper escaped.

After holding on in the first, Douglin (20-6, 13 KOs) regained his senses and tried outfighting the much taller and longer Dirrell on the inside, gaining some success. Dirrell was able to catch Douglin coming in and make him think twice about implementing the inside fight.

Dirrell seemed intent on looking for one big punch rather than setting his shots up after hurting Douglin early. It allowed Douglin to regain his confidence by being busier and sticking his head in Dirrell's chest.

In the fourth round, the referee went to separate the two and both fighters threw on the break and got chippy with each other. It got the fight moving a bit more and Dirrell landed a big uppercut that startled Douglin up a bit. Douglin didn't back down and the two exchanged some monster hooks to end the round.

Dirrell mixed up his punches well, alternating from hooks to uppercuts, walking Douglin down in the process. Douglin was docked a point in the sixth round, though it's unclear why. 

Dirrell ended up with a bad cut right above his left eye, and it was ruled to be from a headbutt. Blood poured into his eye and referee Frank Garza called up the doctor, who halted the bout on account of Dirrell's vision being impaired.

Bringing you the best of boxing

Tony Harrison’s lost twice in eerily similar fashion during 26 fights.

Tony Harrison

Tony Harrison looks to bounce back to the top of the division. (Amanda Westcott/Showtime/Premier Boxing Champions)

On each occasion, Harrison was down in the ninth round from a smashing right to the jaw, rising on rubbery legs only for the referee to wave an end to the bout.

It happened in Harrison’s last appearance in February when unbeaten Jarrett Hurd became the second man to finish him. Hurd won a vacant 154-pound world title with the stunning victory.

The ending resembled a ninth-round loss to Willie Nelson in July 2015, ending Harrison’s run of 10 consecutive stoppages.

“I had them hurt a couple of times but didn’t finish them off.  Hurd’s team was just better prepared,” said Harrison, a lifetime Detroit resident who won three straight, two by stoppage, between losses.

“Maybe God is telling me not to go to No. 9. I think I let guys get a little too confident in the beginning. I need to be more explosive. I have to start faster, be more physical. My offense has to be my best defense.”

Harrison (24-2- 2, 20 KOs) returns to action against Paul Valenzuela Jr. (20-5, 14 KOs) at Barclays Center in Brookly on Oct. 14. Valenzuela is coming off a unanimous decision loss to former title challenger Wilky Campfort in March, which ended a run of three straight wins, all first-round TKOs

Maybe God is telling me not to go to No. 9. Tony Harrison

Harrison meets Valenzuela on a 154-pound championship tripleheader featuring Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs) against left-handed former champion Austin Trout (30-3, 17 KOs) and defenses by southpaw Erislandy Lara (24-2- 2, 14 KOs) against 2012 Olympian Terrell Gausha (20-0, 9 KOs) and champion Jermell Charlo (29-0, 14 KOs) against left-hander Erickson Lubin (18-0, 13 KOs) on Showtime (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
 
“Coming back from eight months off to a deep card with the best guys in the weight division, I couldn’t return to a better platform to showcase my skills,” said Harrison, the second youngest of eight children and 27-year- old grandson of former heavyweight contender Henry Hank.

“This is the perfect fight. From what we’ve seen of Valenzuela, he wants to fight like me, and I think I have the most success when these guys come to fight early. That’s the style of sparring I’ve gotten, so I’m going to be extremely prepared, mentally.”

Harrison dropped and stopped Sergey Rabchenko, who entered their July 2016 bout at 27-1 with 20 KOs and had stopped two opponents since falling by split decision to former champion Anthony Mundine in November 2014.

Before that Harrison scored two knockdowns during a sixth-round knockout of former title challenger Fernando Guerrero in March 2016, having rebounded from the loss to Nelson with a 10-round unanimous decision over Cecil McCalla on Halloween 2015.

Harrison’s training has returned to the methods of Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward, who named him “Superbad” before his death on October 25, 2012, at the age of 68. Steward served as co-trainer with Harrison’s father, former 147-pound boxer Ali Salaam.

“We’ve gone back to the drawing board. I was burning myself out, over-training, peaking too early and crashing by fight time,” said Harrison, who trains out of his Detroit-based Superbad Gym.

“There’s been more rest, this camp. I wake up with a spring in my step rather than being sluggish. My body has more ability to capitalize and finish. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Disaster relief efforts

In this episode of PBC Jabs, Jordan Hardy chats with 154-pound champion Jermell Charlo ahead of his October 14th title defense against tough contender Erickson Lubin. Plus, we look back at the "wild" throwdown from 2015 between Deontay Wilder and Johann Duhaupas in honor of Throwback Thursday and we recap our September 26th FS1 show.

Get ready for another round of PBC Trivia!

This week, we look back at the all-action 126-pound slugfest between Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares from August 29, 2015. Think you know the answer to this week's trivia question? Submit your answer below for a chance to win a PBC t-shirt!

A late-bloomer to the pro ranks, unbeaten Maryland native Jarrett Hurd discusses his unlikely path to becoming a 154-pound world champion and talks about the tough title test that awaits October 14 in former champ Austin Trout.

Jarrett Hurd

Unbeaten Jarrett Hurd has stopped his past six opponents, capped by a championship-winning ninth-round TKO of Tony Harrison last February at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. (Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions)

Jarrett Hurd's ascent to becoming a 154-pound world champion followed an unlikely path.

The Accokeek, Maryland native first entered a boxing gym as a 15-year-old—a relatively late start for most boxers who turn professional—at the urging of his father, Fred Sr. Hurd’s dedication to pugilism was lukewarm as he intermittently engaged in amateur tournaments under then-coach Tom Browner.

After graduating from Gwynn Park High in Brandywine, Maryland, Hurd left the sport for good (or so he thought), in pursuit of becoming a firefighter at a junior college while splitting time as a Safeway employee.

But Browner’s death in 2010 inspired the man nicknamed “Swift” to return to boxing.

Hurd’s parents promised to financially support his early career and trainer Ernesto Rodriguez promised to make him a formidable pro.

Armed with a 76 ½-inch reach, the 6-foot-1 Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs) has stopped his past six opponents, capped by a championship-winning ninth-round TKO of Tony Harrison in February at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Hurd returns to Barclays for his most difficult test and first defense, taking on former champion Austin Trout (30-3, 17 KOs) as part of a 154-pound championship triple header on SHOWTIME.

He took a break from training to discuss his future.

Who are you sparring and where are training?

I’m training here at home at the Hillcrest Gym in Temple Hills, Maryland. Right now, one of my sparring partners is Mike “Yesindeed” Reed (23-0, 12 KOs), who has a title fight coming up. There are a few up-and-coming professionals, also.

How were you introduced to boxing?

My father influenced me. It wasn’t like I always wanted to be a boxer. I had two brothers, no sisters, and we played football, baseball and things like that. But my father wanted us to be in boxing to know how to protect ourselves.

I was 15, and he took us to the gym, and we were in there seeing guys like [126-pound champion] Gary Russell preparing for the Olympics. I sparred with some of his brothers, and I hung with them until I started getting tired. But they gave me credit for having power, and my Dad told me to stick with it.

What was your parents’ role early on in supporting you?

I owe everything to them. No one believed in me more than they did. After I graduated from high school, I felt like boxing was just something that my father put me in and didn’t realize how good I could be. I went to work at Safeway and started college, but Ernesto called and said my former trainer, Tom Browner, died.

I saw Ernesto at the funeral and said, “I need to come back.” He said, “If you come back, there’s no more playing boxing, you’ve gotta turn professional.” My parents allowed me to stop going to college and quit my first and only job at Safeway. They supported me, financially, in my dream of boxing.

Is your career a dedication to Browner?

Definitely. I started with him in 2006. He took me to a novice tournament in 2007, and the year after that, winning two years in a row, I went the national semifinals. He always told me that I could make money as a fighter, but when I graduated in 2008, I started working at Safeway.

When I got that phone call from Ernesto, all of that came back to me. I have a tattoo on my right shoulder that reads, “Thomas Willis Browner,” as a reminder of him. Ernesto’s been around since I was first in the gym, and he started training me. The bond has been there, ever since.

How did you get the name, “Swift,” and how do you feel about sharing it with Danny Garcia?

We were just sitting around the house coming up with names. One of them was Jarrett “14-carat,” but Swift is the one that just stuck.

I hadn’t really heard Danny Garcia’s nickname until he fought Erik Morales. Danny kept winning on TV, and I became a fan. We’ve become friends. I’ve been to his gym and trained with him.

Are you pumped up about returning to Barclays where you stopped Medina?

I’m super-excited. It’s close to home and a lot of my fans will be able to come and see me. Fighting at Barclays Center gets me hyped. It’s one of the best venues to fight in.

The last fight there was one of the biggest cards of 2016 with the main event being Keith Thurman beating Shawn Porter. The atmosphere was crazy, and I’m hoping that it’s similar to that.

I didn’t have to take this fight. It’s a voluntary defense, but I wanted to prove to fans I’m a real deal, true champion. 154-pound World Champ Jarrett Hurd, on his Oct. 14 fight vs Austin Trout

What are Trout’s skills?

This is definitely my toughest fight. Austin Trout is definitely a crafty veteran who has been in there with some of the best. His losses have been to top champions Canelo Alvarez, Erislandy Lara and Jermall Charlo. He definitely knows all of the tricks.

One thing Trout has that a lot of others don’t is knowing how to survive and make it throughout 12 rounds. We’re not going out there just looking for the stoppage, but that would be a big statement for me. It’s going to be tough to try to get one against Trout.

But I also know the Trout you saw against Canelo was the last of the best Trout you’ve seen. From his last fights with Lara and Charlo, I don’t think he’s the same Trout anymore. He doesn’t seem as mobile or use the ring as much…I got a Trout to catch.

I’m on a streak of six straight knockouts. Trout's never been stopped. I’m looking for the stoppage and a statement other fighters couldn’t make. I didn’t have to take this fight. It’s a voluntary defense, but I wanted to prove to fans I’m a real deal, true champion.

Do you see any similarities between Trout and the last southpaw you stopped in the sixth round, Jo Jo Dan?

No, Jo Jo Dan is a completely different southpaw than Trout. Jo Jo Dan was coming up in weight and smaller, so he had to try to stay close to me and stay inside.

I don’t think Trout is going to fight anything like that. Trout puts more power on his shots, and Jo Jo Dan threw more pitty-pat, volume punches. 

How does beating a southpaw in Trout prepare you for future left-handers like Lara or Lubin?

This is the perfect opportunity for me to beat one southpaw. If Lara and Lubin are victorious, then this is preparation for facing them, if not, Charlo.

With me, Trout and Gausha, this card displays all of the top guys at 154. It’s kind of like a tournament, so I’m looking to go out there to put on a show.

I’m completely focused on beating Trout, for now, but I feel like I have more questions to answer, and beating Trout in dominant fashion will do that.

Do you have a boxing hero or fighter whom you admire?

Roy Jones Jr., 100 percent. The way he fought in the ring and the skills he displayed, the only person who caught my attention was Roy Jones Jr. He was the pound-for-pound No. 1 guy at the time.

Of all the boxers in history, who do you wish you could’ve fought, and how would the fight have played out?

James Toney. He’s a guy I’ve studied a lot to learn how to fight on the inside. I feel like a toe-to-toe fighter like James Toney who is slick would be a great fight, but of course I would win.

Finish this sentence: If not for boxing, I would be …

I would be a firefighter, which is what I was in school for. Fire science.

What’s the hardest you’ve ever been hit, and how did you deal with it?

I’ve never been dazed, but the most effective shot I’ve been hit with was in the fight with Tony Harrison. In the seventh round, he hit me directly in my eyeball and I couldn’t see for the rest of that round.

But that caused me to bring my left hand up and be more focused. People don’t see the fact that I had to maintain my composure, losing the early rounds but keeping the pressure on.

I wanted to do things differently, but my coaches didn’t want me to show my right hand until later on in the fight to set it up, and it worked out perfectly.

What about a favorite punch to throw?

My favorite punch to throw is definitely the right uppercut. Against Frank Galarza, I landed a big one in the fourth round and stopped him with uppercuts in the sixth round. I think people are starting to pick up on that, now. So I’ve switched things up a little bit.

Do you have a favorite boxing movie?

I liked the last Creed movie. I liked seeing the view of our time and our generation of boxing. People study a lot of old film, but this was more about what’s going on during our time.

If you could have dinner with any four people in history, living or dead, who would they be?

Roy Jones Jr., Barack Obama, Floyd Mayweather and Martin Luther King Jr. With Jones and Mayweather, the topic would definitely be about boxing, but Obama and King would be more about knowing how to be a leader in this world.

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

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