The Maryland native and his trainer believed that one day "Swift" would become a unified world champion ... and that was just part of their prophecy.
For Jarrett Hurd and his trainer, Ernesto Rodriguez, 2018 was all about fulfilling a prophecy.
Rodriguez, a self-described highly religious man, had promised Hurd that one day he would become a unified world champion.
That day came on April 7 when Hurd unified the 154-pound division with a hard-earned 12-round split-decision victory over Erislandy Lara in an all-action fight at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
“It was a tough one, but I went out there and did exactly what I said I was going to do — fight all 12 rounds and get the victory,” said Hurd, who scored a knockdown in the final minute of the bout—which was just the seventh title unification in division history.
“I didn't feel like that (I needed the knockdown). I feel like I was in control the whole fight, applying the pressure.”
Prior to the bout with Lara, Hurd had torn his rotator cuff during training. Living up to his nickname of “Swift,” Hurd underwent successful arthroscopic surgery in June and was back in the ring by December.
It took a little time to warm up in his return outing, but Hurd got going and successfully defended both is IBF and WBA titles with a fourth-round KO against James Welborn of the United Kingdom in the co-main event to the Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury heavyweight blockbuster.
“I’m just coming off surgery so I wanted to see how I worked off the jab,” Hurd said. “I felt good I was working behind the jab I got caught on the ropes and got caught with some shots and said ‘that’s enough. He got enough TV time.’ I heard the crowd and I didn’t want to get brave. So I turned it up and got the knockdown."
While Hurd’s prophetic 2018 earned him the PBC’s Fighter of the Year award over notable contenders like Deontay Wilder, Mikey Garcia, Shawn Porter, Gervonta Davis and Errol Spence Jr.—the native of Accokeek, Maryland promised even bigger goals lie ahead in 2019 and beyond.
“We definitely want Charlo,” Hurd told SHOWTIME reporter Jim Gray, after the Welborn fight. “I’m calling the shots. I’m No. 1 right now. When I say answer the phone, answer the phone. I got the date.”
After all, becoming a unified world champion was only part of his trainer’s prophecy.
For a closer look at Jarrett Hurd, check out his fighter page.
For all of the year-end honors, visit our Best of PBC 2018 page.