12 Rounds With … Jarrett Hurd

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Unified super welterweight world champion talks bypassing rematch against Erislandy Lara for a bout against Kell Brook, being the man at 154 pounds and a big unification against Jermell Charlo.

Jarrett Hurd wants to bypass a rematch with southpaw former champion Erislandy Lara for a defense against either ex-titleholder Kell Brook or title challenger Julian Williams before a 154-pound unification opposite Jermell Charlo should Charlo defeat Austin Trout on June 9.

“Swift” Hurd (22-0, 15 KOs) scored a final-round knockdown to secure a split-decision victory over Lara last month, adding the Cuban southpaw’s WBA crown to his own IBF version.

The 6-foot-1, Accokeek, Maryland native won the title with a ninth-round TKO over Tony Harrison in February 2017 and defended it in October with a 10th-round TKO over Trout, a former champion who will challenge WBC counterpart Charlo at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

In advance of Charlo, Hurd wants to either face Brook, “J-Rock” Williams or Brian Carlos Castano, a trio of right-handed fighters whose skills would ready him for Charlo before a planned ascension into the 160-pound division.

Brook, of England, was dethroned as 147-pound champion following an 11th-round stoppage loss to Errol Spence in May 2017, but rose to 154-pounds for a second-round stoppage of Siarhei Rabchanka in March.

Castano, of Argentina, earned an interim WBA crown with a 12th-round TKO of Hurd’s IBF mandatory, Cedric Vitu, in March, Williams won his third straight bout by majority decision over Nathaniel Galimore last month, and Harrison, his third straight by split-decision over ex-champion Ishe Smith on May 11.

What do you feel is your next option?

The rematch with Erislandy Lara, that’s not what I want unless I absolutely have to. If they say that they’ll take my belt, then I’ll fight him. But we want to move on to bigger ad better things. Right now, it’s the same way that I said before my fight with Austin Trout.

I said then that I wanted to fight Erislandy Lara, but that I wanted to fight a tough fight with a southpaw in order to be prepared for Lara. I would like to have a tough fight with another right –handed fighter in order to get prepared for Jermell Charlo. So that’s why we’ve asked for the fight with a Kell Brook.

Kell Brook is a tough former 147-pound champion who has moved up in weight. If we don’t get the fight with Kell Brook, then we’ll take a fight with my mandatory, [Julian] J-Rock Williams or with Brian Carlos Castano. But we want to get a right-handed fighter to compare to Jermell Charlo.

I’m not sure of the exact month, but I definitely want to fight by the end of this year. I’ve been asking Al [Haymon] if I could fight at the MGM National Harbor [in Oxon Hill, Maryland,] but the venue may now be too small. But I do want to fight on the East Coast so that my fans can come out.

Does Erislandy Lara deserve an immediate rematch?

Well in some ways, because he was the champion and he gave me an opportunity to fight him, but my focus is to try to unify the division.

My weight right now is at about 178, but I can get up to at least 185. My last fight, I weighed 152 on the scale, but they announced it as 153.

But I can’t hold down my weight in this division for as long as I would like to. I’m trying to be the undisputed champion at 154 pounds. For sure I’ll be at 154 until at least the end of 2019.

How do you see the June 9 fight breaking down between Jermell Charlo and Austin Trout?

I like Austin Trout, but to be honest, I’m rooting for Jermell Charlo because I want that fight with him. So I would like to see Jermell Charlo go out and win it in dramatic fashion.

I want Jermell Charlo to look perfect, getting the knockout and looking better than me so that when I beat him, they don’t have any excuses and I’ll get full credit for doing it.

How does a fight break down between you and Julian Williams?

J-Rock is my mandatory for the IBF title. Not to take anything away from J-Rock, but with the way our styles are, and the pressure I’ll apply on him, I can definitely see me stopping him.

What about Brook?

Kell Brook’s a tough, durable opponent who will get me ready for a unification, but he was damaged in both eye sockets getting knocked out by Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence before his last fight.

With Brook being a 147-pounder coming up in weight to fight the biggest 154-pounder, that might not be too smart. Brook could also get the fight with Amir Khan and might not want to risk fighting me.

With me seeing that Kell Brook may want to fight with Amir Khan, he’s on the fence with taking a fight with me. If he doesn’t take it, I’ll fight a mandatory or whoever as long as it’s a competitive fight.

Charlo is going to be much easier than Lara. I’m not going to have to go looking for Charlo. He’s going to be right there—the type of guy where I go out and show you what “Swift” Jarrett Hurd’s talents are about. Unified 154-pound World Champion Jarrett Hurd

What about a rematch with Tony Harrison?

Tony Harrison has asked for a rematch, also, but I don’t know if I’m going to hang around long enough for a rematch with Tony Harrison. I’m trying to unify, and, if not, then I’ll be moving up in weight pretty soon.

Finally, what about the big one against Jermell Charlo?

Charlo is going to be much easier than Lara. I’m not going to have to go looking for Charlo. He’s going to be right there—the type of guy where I go out and show you what “Swift” Jarrett Hurd’s talents are about.

What about WBO counterpart Jamie Munguia, who dethroned Sadam Ali by fourth-round TKO on May 12?

Munguia looked good in the fight, but, come on, man, Sadam Ali was much smaller than Munguia, who is big for the weight class. That was a bad matchup for Sadam to take. So Munguia did exactly what he was supposed to do.

I would be able to judge him better if he was in against a solid 154-pounder. When I defeat Charlo, if I get a chance to get the WBO title, then I’ll do that. I want to unify, but if that takes too long, then there are bigger and better things at 160.

How do account for your durability and abilities to remain as physically healthy as you have over the course of your past three, grueling high-level fights?

In the fights, it may look as if I take a lot of shots, but I don’t absorb as much damage as it may appear. My opponents are the ones going to the hospitals after the fights. I’m spending time with my family. I just take some time off and I get right back into the gym.

How has your style evolved?

Coming up, I wasn’t a pressure fighter as much as more of a counter-puncher. But people began to have trouble with my size and would try to box me, so I had to make adjustments, come forward more and force them to fight.

That was first most evident in the fight with Tony Harrison, because I saw the way that he lost his fight with Willie Nelson by ninth-round knockout. So I wanted to force the fight with my pressure. It was the same way in the fight with Austin Trout, wanting to make him fight by applying pressure.

Also, fighting someone like Erislandy Lara, who is a master boxer, I had to rely on my pressure. But I’m a natural counter-puncher and that’s my style and what I’m great at. So when people come toward me, I’m able to do that, too.

Do you feel as if you’re now the man in the division?

My resume shows that the people that I’m fighting, like Lara, and that I’m stopping, like Harrison and Trout, they’re great opponents and no slouches. Tony Harrison not only bounced back, but he did beat a guy like Ishe Smith and he did so in great fashion.

So I’m not just knocking out regular guys, I’m making good guys look bad. But I feel like I still need to prove myself because at the end of the day, even though I’ve stepped up my competition, they’re saying I still don’t have the defense. 

Of course you’re going to get hit when you step up your level of competition. Who doesn’t get hit by Lara or by a guy like Austin Trout? They’re not speaking on the fact that when Jermall Charlo – the bigger Charlo -- fought Austin Trout and couldn’t stop him.

Before I fought Trout, I said I would stop him, and I went out and I did it in the 10th round. But since I was getting hit by Austin Trout, and even though I stopped him, they don’t give me the credit. I also said I would beat Lara in a fashion where it’s not arguable whether or not I won the fight.

I know people still say my fight with Lara was a toss up, but the way I beat him was more decisive than Canelo Alvarez or Paul Williams did. Neither did the damage to Lara that I did. I feel I have proven myself, but I’ll continue making these statements because, obviously, I have a lot more to prove to some people.

For a closer look at Jarrett Hurd, check out his fighter page.

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