What Makes Jarrett Hurd So Good?

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Four past opponents assess the undefeated, unified super welterweight champion and explain why he’ll be a tough task for Julian Williams Saturday night on PBC on FOX.

Those who have tangled with Jarrett Hurd generally come to a sobering realization somewhere mid-fight: Nothing you do can slow him down.

We spoke with four of Hurd’s recent opponents – Jo Jo Dan, Austin Trout, Tony Harrison and Jason Welborn – and each of them told a similar horror story, one in which they were annihilated by the monster in the end.

All four said they were able to do some good work early in their meetings with Hurd, able to land hard punches and outbox the IBF and WBA super welterweight titleholder at times. They felt pretty good about things – for a while.

Then came the realization that their work was producing no dividends. Hurd was neither hurt nor deterred in each case. He continued to plow forward and unload hard, accurate punches at an unusual volume for a man his size, which ultimately wore them down and led to their demise.

None of the four lasted 12 rounds. Dan was stopped in six, Trout in 10, Harrison in nine and Welborn in four.

Three of the four – Dan, Trout and Welborn – emphasized Hurd’s unusual size and strength when trying to explain the junior middleweight titleholder’s dominance. Harrison cited fitness and determination.

The reality? All of the above applies.

That might not bode well for Julian Williams (26-1-1, 16 KOs), who challenges Hurd (23-0, 16 KOs) in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card Saturday in Fairfax, Virginia, live on FOX and FOX Deportes (8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT).

“His best skill? His ability to take an ass whooping. And he’s also big as hell. You’ve seen him,” Trout said. “I was handling him pretty easily and then I got worn out. I didn’t have anything left. I could tell he wasn’t going anywhere, he wasn’t slowing down. He was going to take my best shots as long as I was able to give my shots. Once you’re worn out, that’s when he really comes out. He gets stronger every round.

“Again, I had no problem outboxing him, outpunching him. It’s just a matter of how long you’re able to do that. I wasn’t able to do it long enough.”

The other opponents had the same experience.

Dan: “I fought him at 154 but I was natural 147-pounder. It was tough for me. I punched him but he didn’t feel anything. He just kept coming. I gave him a few good body shots. Nothing. It didn’t hurt him. I was like, ‘Oh, man. This guy is tough.’ My coach told me after the fifth round that he would stop the fight if he didn’t see something different and he stopped the fight. There was no reason to take any more punishment.”

Welborn: “He makes weight. And the next day he’s like a super middleweight. He obviously walks into the ring at around (175 pounds). I was like (164 pounds). He rehydrated 22, 23 pounds. That’s a scary amount of weight to put on overnight.

“I think he’s going to stay undefeated at 154. If he moved up, for instance if he fought Canelo (Alvarez), he might get stopped. At 154, though, nobody will beat him.”

It’s his will and desire to make the fight a fight at times that works for him. WBC World Super Welterweight Champion - Tony Harrison

Harrison, who recently spoiled a tentative title-unification fight between Hurd and Jermell Charlo by outpointing Charlo to win the WBC strap, attributes Hurd’s success more to preparation and determination than any size advantage he might have.

“Everybody hits the scale at 154 pounds,” Harrison said. “I don’t think size plays a big role in the fight. He doesn’t lean on anybody, he’s not a grappler. He just keeps pushing the pace of the fight. He’s not the strongest, not the fastest, nothing like that. It’s his will and desire to make the fight a fight at times that works for him.

“The amount of punches he throws is scary. He throws punches like a 130-pounder, like 800 punches (in a 12-round fight). He made me fight at a pace I didn’t want to fight. I hit him with good, clean shots. I knew I would knock him out in Round 1, 2, 3, 4. And then Round eight came and I was exhausted.”

Hurd acknowledges that he isn’t the best technical boxer in the world because of an amateur career that was limited to 40 amateur fights.

He said during The PBC Podcast, referring to his most skillful opponents, “Nine out of 10 times these guys who had big amateur careers, who’ve been doing it for a while, they’ll probably be sharper than me. I kind of bank on outworking these guys, coming in in top shape, trying to wear these guys down using my size and things like that.”

That said, Hurd’s opponents will tell you that there is more to him than brawn and conditioning. He also has a craftiness to him.

“He has strength and ability,” Welborn said. “When he gets hit, he knows how to get out. He knows how to get back on his jab. And he has good timing, good movement and that long reach. He uses that well. He throws a good variety of accurate shots. When he sees an opening, he lets his hands go.”

Said Harrison: “He has a good team around him. They do a good job of studying (opponents), learning their weak spots, and drilling it into him until he gets it right. His preparation is key.”

Big, strong, resilient, well-prepared, skillful and driven. Hurd has proved again and again that such attributes are painfully difficult to overcome. The formula has allowed him to remain unbeaten and climb onto to some pound-for-pound lists.

And he’s only 28. Those who have fought him – and most of those who have watched him – won’t be surprised if the best is yet to come.

“He’s a good, strong fighter,” Dan said. “He’s got big balls. He doesn’t talk a lot. He just does a lot in the ring. He doesn’t f—king care about anything in there, it’s just you and him inside the ropes.

“You know what he is? He’s a real fighter.”

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

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