Julian Williams turned in a masterful performance versus Jarrett Hurd, outboxing and outbrawling him to win a 12-round decision and become the unified World Super Welterweight Champion.
It’s safe to say that most in the rowdy pro-Jarrett Hurd crowd never expected the explosion that J-Rocked the EagleBank Arena Saturday night and took down the champion.
But it was real and it was unanimous. When the dust settled, Julian “J-Rock” Williams was the new unified WBA and IBF World Super Welterweight Champion in a breakout performance Saturday night on PBC on FOX.
And Hurd, from nearby Accokeek, Maryland, left the ring as a former champion with the first blemish on his record, leaving the crowd of 5,105 stunned and disappointed that their man was unable to defend his titles.
When the unanimous decision was announced, with scores of 116-111, and 115-112 twice, Williams, from the boxing town of Philadelphia, dropped to his knees in the middle of the ring and sobbed. Then he gave a tribute to his mother on the eve of Mother’s Day.
"I am just overwhelmed,” Williams said. “This is such a great feeling. I outclassed him. I am one of the best fighters in the world. Maybe I wasn't ready for the title the first time I got the shot (against Jermall Charlo in 2016). I took the loss. I took it like a man and the whole world doubted me.”
“I came in a 5-1 underdog,” a joyful Williams continued. “I shouldn’t be a 5-1 underdog to anyone in boxing.”
Williams (27-1-1, 16 KOs), who was in superb condition. He started strong, fought well on the inside, connecting at will and never giving Hurd a chance to use his size, reach and power.
Hurd (23-1, 16 KOs) made no excuses.
"He is a lot sharper than I expected,” Hurd said. “I knew he had great inside game. It was a little better than I expected. He landed some great shots inside. I thought the close fight was going to benefit me, but it went to both sides.”
Hurd was dropped in the second round by a shot to the temple by Williams, the first time in his career he was knocked down.
"I was surprised when I went down because the punch really wasn't on my face or chin, it was on the side of the head and I fell over,” he said. “I wasn't dizzy, but it did surprise me.”
Williams’ career-long trainer, Steven “Breadman” Edwards, said Hurd took too much punishment.
“He’s never been hit with that many clean, accurate, powerful counterpunches,” Edwards said. “When
that happens to a fighter, you gotta worry about him. Jarrett Hurd took a bad beating.”
Edwards also revealed that Williams came into the fight hurt and would have immediate surgery, though he would not reveal which body part was injured. “He will have surgery, but we couldn’t pass up this opportunity.”
There is a rematch clause and Hurd said he wanted it.
“I definitely want the rematch,” he said. “They can stitch me up right now and I could go out there and do it.”
Mario Barrios scores early KO against Jose Velasco
In the second, Barrios plowed a left hand into the kidney of Velasco, then finished him with a right to the head. Velasco took a step back, then fell to his knees, seemingly paralyzed. He was counted out and Barrios ended up with a short night. Official time was 1:16.
Barrios, a super lightweight who turns 24 next week, remained unbeaten at 24-0 (16 KOs). Velasco fell to 20-2 (12 KOs).
"I was trying to use my jab. I was being patient,” Barrios said. “I saw him opening up every time he would step in. I knew one of the body shots was going to do it and I found the sweet spot.
“I can't thank (trainer) Virgil Hunter and the team enough for the preparation for this fight. We knew he was vulnerable with body punches and that was something I work on regardless. It is one of my favorite shots. I have been working on it since the amateurs.”
Barrios said he wanted a title shot next.
“I am always in the gym. I am always ready. I want all the smoke at 140. I want any of the champions.”
Matt Korobov, Immanuwel Aleem fight to majority draw
One of the most entertaining fights of the evening, a 10-round middleweight bout featuring veteran Matt Korobov and Immanuwel Aleem, ended in confusion and disappointment, at least for 36-year-old Matt Korobov. It gave Aleem reason to smile after what was announced as a majority decision for Korobov was later changed to a majority draw.
Korobov (28-2-1, 14 KOs), a Russian now living in St. Petersburg, Fla., and trying to get back into the title picture, was named the winner but it all turned sour when it was discovered that the announced 96-95 score in favor of Korobov was actually 95-95, and added to another 95-95 score, along with a 97-93 score for Korobov that turned the majority decision into a majority draw. Thus, Aleem, 24, had reason to smile once the confusion was straightened out.
"I felt heavy and not totally sharp enough. It was hard to react and stop him from going inside,” Korobov said. “I have things to work on. "He was tougher than I expected. He wasn't as strong as (Jermall) Charlo (who defeated Korobov in his last fight), but he is a really good fighter. He kept coming forward. He wasn't afraid. He just kept throwing punches."
Aleem (18-1-2, 11 KOs) said he felt like he won. "I didn't feel like he was doing enough. I was trying to use my range. He was just touching me. I realized when I started hitting him that he didn’t have the gas.
"I am faster than people think. I see open shots better than people expect. I made a statement tonight and I want to keep making statements."
Stephen Fulton Cruises to Unanimous Decision Win over Paulus Ambunda
Fulton, 24, from boxing-rich Philadelphia, won every round on all three scorecards, with identical 122-107 scores, to remain undefeated at 16-0 (7 KOs). Ambunda, 38, a former world champion from Namibia, fell to 27-3 (11 KOs).
For a closer look at Hurd vs Williams, check out our fight night page.