Standing Eight: Jarrett Hurd

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The former unified super welterweight champion has parted ways with his trainer and plans to use his head, not his heart, when he rematches conqueror Julian Williams.

Don’t call it a comeback, but “Swift” Jarrett Hurd is ready to reclaim his crown.

The former unified super welterweight champion is out to avenge his loss to new division king, Julian “J-Rock” Williams later this year.

Hurd, 28, 23-1 (16 KOs), has exercised his rematch clause against Williams, who handed Hurd his first knockdown, and first defeat, last May in a Fight of the Year candidate. This time, Hurd promises to be much improved. The Accokeek, Maryland resident has undergone some changes since the upset defeat.  He and long-time trainer Ernesto Rodriguez have parted ways—plus, Hurd will be sporting a new look next time he steps into the ring.  

Can you confirm the rematch versus Julian Williams?

Yes. I’ve decided to exercise my immediate rematch clause. I’m not sure of the exact location, but the plan is to do it in November or December.

You seemed to handle the defeat well. How hard was it for you in the days afterward?

That was my first fight as a champion in front of my hometown fans, so of course, no one wants to lose that way, and to leave the ring without my title was very upsetting.

But Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Badou Jack, Mike Tyson and a lot of great fighters have taken losses and come back from it, so that can come with the territory.

I’m not going to allow this one loss to define my legacy. I fought hard in front of a large television audience, and a lot of people are even more familiar with me.

How have you spent your time away from the ring?

I was on vacation in Mexico after the fight. I’ve definitely gotten a lot of love and support from my fans and the members of my community.

The way I’m planning to bounce back from this loss and to regain my title will show what type of champion I am.

Now that you’ve had time to reflect, what are your thoughts on your loss to Williams?

To this point, I haven’t watched the fight at all, but I remember being knocked down, which was my very first time ever on the canvas, whether it was in sparring, in the amateurs or as a professional. Being in front of my hometown fans, I think I wasn’t fighting by using my head.

I may have tried too hard and too fast to get back into the fight. Although people may believe I don’t have a strategy but to go after the knockout, I had a strategy when I beat Tony Harrison, Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara and Jason Welborn.

But for this fight, I didn’t really have a game plan. I was just banking on pressuring him until he got tired. As far as not having a backup game plan or a strategy for adjusting if this or that didn’t work, that was my issue. Before I knew it, the 12 rounds were over.

Can you tell us what led to you parting ways with trainer Ernesto Rodriguez?

My corner was kind of all over the place. My head trainer, Nesto Rodriguez, I don’t know if you’ve seen one of the interviews that he did, but it turns out that he wasn’t the guy I thought he was. Before the fight, he was telling everyone I was going to knock J-Rock out in the 10th round.

But while I was on vacation in Mexico, I was getting a lot of calls. There were a few calls from my family about this interview. From what I saw in that interview, he never thought I was going to win the fight in the first place.

How difficult was it to inform Rodriguez of your decision to separate?

When I got home from Mexico, I pulled up to the Hillcrest Boxing Gym and asked Nesto to have a conversation with me about what was going on. It felt like he was saying that I was doing things in my personal life that affected my performance in the ring that night against Julian Williams.

Things like I was losing too much weight or doing too many interviews with the media and not focusing on the fight. But if that was the case and you really felt that way, then why would you allow me to go into a fight with this guy?

But what it all came down to is that he finally admitted to me that he wasn’t in it, that he wasn’t getting along with the team. During the interview, he said he expected me to lose. I asked him, “What do you mean by that?”

He said, “I just knew that the way that the camp was going, I just had this feeling that you weren’t going to win this fight.” I’m like, “Nesto, I risk my life every time I get into the ring. For you to feel that way after I put you in charge of my corner...”

I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing. But I didn’t say, “Nesto, man, I don’t wanna work with you no more.” I actually gave him an opportunity to remain with the team, but he didn’t wanna be a part of it. He basically made the decision himself.

Who will be your new trainer?

We haven’t made a decision. We’re still looking and doing things to try and stay in shape. But when we find a trainer that fits, we’ll let everyone know.

What you would do differently to beat Williams?

The Jarrett Hurd that fought Julian Williams would have won that fight if I had used my head instead of with my emotions.

For the rematch, I’m going to have a team that has a game plan and a strategy and you’re going to see the best Jarrett Hurd that you’ve ever seen.

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

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