Jarrett Hurd Ready for High-Risk Unifications Against Other 154-pound Champions

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Maryland native says time is now to take on fellow titleholders Erislandy Lara and Jermell Charlo after stopping former champ Austin Trout back in October.

Jarrett Hurd

Unbeaten 154-pound champion Jarrett Hurd celebrates his victory over former champion Austin Trout on October 14, 2017 at Barclays Center. (Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME)

Super welterweight world champion Jarrett Hurd wants to unify against 154-pound counterpart Erislandy Lara as badly as the 34-year-old Cuban southpaw covets 160-pound champion Gennady Golovkin or a return bout with two-division title winner Canelo Alvarez.

“Erislandy Lara’s the best at 154, and he’s saying no one else wants to fight him. Well, I wanna fight him,” said Hurd, a native of Accokeek, Maryland.

“I’ve stopped my last seven opponents, and I know I can beat Lara, so I’d like to fight Lara, next, and to see it happen in April or May.”

The 27-year-old Hurd was eyeing mandatory Cedric Vitu of France, but the southpaw has opted for a shot at an interim title against Brian Carlos Castano of Argentina.

“My team and I had a game plan for my career, and it’s moving exactly the way that I want it too, right now,” Hurd said. “Vitu was our mandatory, but, obviously, he’s taking on Castano. I want to face the best in order to become the best, and Lara’s the best in our division.”

Enthusiasm for potential unification supremacy has escalated since October’s 154-pound championship defenses by Hurd (21-0, 15 KOs), Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs) and Jermell Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs) at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, with Hurd’s initial title defense being a Fight Of The Year caliber battle as he overcame a deep and bleeding cut over his left eye to secure a 10th-round KO of left-handed former titleholder Austin Trout.

Trout was stopped for the first time in his career, having previously lost title-bout decisions to Lara (December 2013), Canelo Alvarez (April, 2013) and Jermall Charlo (May 2016). Hurd earned his seventh consecutive stoppage win following a title-earning ninth-round TKO of Tony Harrison at Barclays in February.

“I feel like Trout was the perfect fight for me to prepare for Lara, being that it serves as the natural transition to assimilate and go from one southpaw to another,” said Hurd. “I’m a guy who is still learning and not at my best…I’m still living with my parents. But we’re talking about building my own house from scratch, which takes about 10 weeks, so we’re probably looking at sometime this summer, maybe after the Lara fight.”

Erislandy Lara’s the best at 154, and he’s saying no one else wants to fight him. Well, I wanna fight him. Unbeaten 154-pound champion Jarrett Hurd

Lara scored a fourth-round knockdown while earning his seventh title defense by unanimous decision over previously unbeaten 2012 U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha (20-1, 9 KOs), remaining on pace for the division record of 11 title defenses held by Gianfranco Rosi.

Nicknamed “The American Dream,” Lara has won six straight, two by knockout, since losing a disputed split decision to Alvarez in a 155-pound non-title fight in July 2014, and also has called out Golovkin.

While Jermell Charlo registered a sensational first-round stoppage of previously unbeaten southpaw Erickson Lubin (18-1, 13 KOs), the 27-year-old Houston native once trained with and shared corner man Ronnie Shields with Lara, who still shares Shields with Charlo’s twin brother, Jermall.

Although Lara said his friendship wouldn’t get in the way of a fight with Jermell, Jermall has expressed reluctance in seeing such a clash come to fruition.

“Charlo’s had the opportunity to fight Lara, but for whatever reason, friends or not, they haven’t fought,” said Hurd’s trainer, Ernesto Rodriguez. “Trout wasn’t the mandatory: Jarrett asked [the IBF] for an exception to fight him in order to make a statement. So now, we’ll punish Lara if not, knock him out, and then Charlo can be next in line.”

Hurd would eventually like to fight at the MGM Grand in nearby Oxon Hill, Maryland, having last fought in the D.C. area in November 2014 when he gained a first-round KO of Terry Cade.

“Charlo’s called me out a few times. That’s a megafight everyone wants to see, and it’s gonna happen,” Hurd said. “I want to unify against the man everyone considers to be the best and most feared in the division, and that’s Erislandy Lara. After I punish and maybe stop Lara like no one has before, that would make the Charlo fight even bigger.”

Hurd first entered a boxing gym as a 15-year-old at the urging of his father, Fred Sr., yet his nickname, “Swift,” is an appropriate description of his rapid ascension and evolution as a boxer-puncher and sometime sharpshooter with a propensity to brawl and a powerfully proficient inside game.

“My best attributes are not my jab, reach, size or right hand, but my composure, finding ways to win,” Hurd said. “Whatever happens, I know how to remain calm. I can take a shot and not show any effects, which breaks my opponents, mentally.”

Hurd’s masterful counterpunching, sharp jab and body attack were the difference in a sixth-round TKO of previously unbeaten Frank Galarza in November 2015. Hurd primarily used his inside game against another undefeated fighter in June 2015, his crisp combinations and sniper-like accuracy closing Oscar Molina’s left eye nearly shut during a 10th-round TKO. Hurd similarly dismantled former title challenger Jo Jo Dan in the sixth round in November 2016.

But Hurd was a slugger and aggressor against Harrison and Trout, being out-boxed by the former in the first half of the fight before wilting and flattening him with a smashing, final round straight right to the jaw that left the Detroit native lying flat on his back.

Hurd’s relentless pressure overcame the early stick-and-move strategy employed by the savvy Trout, whose eyes were nearly swollen shut as career-long trainer Louie Burke stopped the fight prior to the 11th round.

“Fans were all over me in the arena after the Trout fight, giving me compliments,” Hurd said. “They love my fan-friendly style. I couldn’t be happier with the attention I’m getting from all around the world, but, now, it’s time to prove that I’m truly the best in the division at 154 pounds.”

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

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