New Faces: Jarrett Hurd
Hometown: Accokeek, Maryland
Weight class: Junior middleweight
Height / Reach: 6-feet-1 inches (185 cm) / 76½ inches (194cm)
Amateur Record: 32-8
Turned pro: 2012
Pro record: 18-0 (12 Knockouts)
Trainers: Ernesto Rodriguez
Manager: Al Haymon
Promoters: No promoter
Best night of pro career: Hurd is most impressed by his television debut last fall on Showtime’s “ShoBox: the New Generation” series.
“I believe my best performance to date was on Nov. 14th, 2015, against Brooklyn’s ‘Notorious’ Frank Galarza,” Hurd told RingTV.com. “That was my coming out party.
“A lot of guys in [Washington] D.C and Maryland area heard about me, knew who I was. That fight was my TV debut and it allowed the world to see exactly who I was.”
Worst night of pro career: On the way up a prospect will face a multitude of different styles and looks, all designed to help prepare him for further down the road. Sometimes the prospect will struggle and not look at his best, for Hurd, that night was in early 2014.
“I fought this southpaw, Chris Chatman,” he said. “I think I won the fight clearly but I looked a little sloppy. It was closer than it should have been and it wasn’t because he was landing too many punches on me.
“I was looking for one big shot and loading up, I was fighting sloppy. I let the rounds [get] kind of close, that was my only split decision in my career so far.”
Next fight: Hurd faces former welterweight title challenger Ionut Dan Ion on Saturday as chief support to Danny Garcia’s homecoming against Samuel Vargas at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia (televised on Spike in the U.S. at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT).
Hurd had been due to meet WBC No. 7 ranked Jorge Cota before the Mexican had to pull out of the contest and undergo an emergency appendectomy.
Dan Ion, 35, has been a pro since 2004 and boasts a solid 35-3, (18 KOs). He holds wins over former world champions Raul Balbi and Steve Forbes as well as a pair of split decision wins over Kevin Bizier. Moreover, he’s twice lost to Selcuk Aydin and when he stepped up into elite level last March against Kell Brook for the IBF 147-pound title he was blown away in four one-sided rounds.
Given Hurd’s natural size advantage, youth and freshness he will be expected to make a statement and take out Dan Ion in similar fashion.
Why he’s a prospect: Hurd wasn’t a standout amateur, fighting just 40 times, though during his relative brief stay in the unpaid ranks he did enjoy some success. He won the Washington D.C Golden Gloves tournament on three occasions and reached the semi-final of the 2008 National Golden Gloves tournament.
In his amateur career he twice fought and lost close bouts with Demond Nicholson (17-1-1 as a pro at super middleweight), he also lost to D’Metrius Ballard (15-0), though says he dropped the unbeaten Golden Boy Promotions super middleweight prospect. He also fought Travis Peterkin.
Hurd has sparred with a who’s who from his region including Ballard, Nicholson, Dominic Wade, Antoine Douglas, Austin Trout, David Grayton, Alontez Fox, Lamont Peterson and Dusty Hernandez-Harrison.
“Swift” clearly has many things going for him, but when asked he singled out one key area of his game.
“To me I feel my best attribute is my defense,” he said. “but everyone’s been talking about my big right uppercut lately.”
The boxer-puncher is currently ranked in the top 15 in three of the four sanctions bodies WBC (No. 15), WBA (No. 8) and IBF (No. 7).
He’s aligned with Al Haymon, who also happens to advise many of the top 154-pounders in the world which should help procure a title challenge.
Next year Hurd hopes to challenge for a world title and although he’s open to facing anyone, he is zeroing in on one particular champion.
“I want all the belts,” he said before taking aim. “I am in line to fight Jermall Charlo, the WBC champion, that’s who we’re studying, that’s who we’re after. The WBC is the big belt but whatever my manager puts in me line that’s the one I’m going for.”
“It (title fight) should be next year, if not my next fight, one or two more fights and I should be fighting for it.”
His trainer and long-time friend Ernesto Rodriguez who trains him at the Hillcrest Heights Boxing gym weighed in on his fighters skills.
“I think he’s very good. I think he has a very good chance of becoming the world champion,” said the trainer. “He has the height, the size, the skills, the strength, athleticism and the punching power.
“He’s now becoming a thinker, he’s relaxed in the ring and thinks about setting up his shots and breaking a man down. It’s not just about knocking him out with one punch. I believe he has the total package. People will see what I am seeing as he evolves.”
Why he’s a suspect: Interestingly, Hurd feels the area he needs to continue to improve is also the one he feels to be his strongest suite.
“I think I need to improve on my defense,” he said. “Because a guy can’t win a fight if he can’t hit you. The name of the game is hit and don’t get hit. That’s something we always work on. [Also] going to the body a little more.”
At 6-foot-1 Hurd is taller than almost all of his opponents and looks big for 154-pounds. You’d expect the 26 year old to be bursting at the seams. However, he claims to make weight with relative ease.
“It’s funny because I make the weight fairly easy,” he explained. “I always come in under weight, I’m usually 153.”
Hurd suffered a hand injury earlier this year that kept him on the sidelines, going forward he needs to be more active and fight more than twice a year.
Trainer Ernessto Rodriguez is a tough task-master and sees areas his pupil can improve on.
“He needs to improve his maturity,” Rodriguez said. “He’s 26, he’s still young, they get caught up mentally and they get complacent. He’s growing as a man, as far as his mindset.
“As far as a physical attributes, defense is something we work on, he likes to roll with punches, sometimes he gets a little lazy. For example he told me he didn’t really feel the power [in his last fight], since he didn’t feel the power he kind of neglected his defense a little and [was] focused on trying to stay too close instead of using his range, that’s one thing we’re improving on. Don’t give the opponent the opportunity to hit you.
“The other thing he needs to improve on is more body punching, he’s an excellent body puncher but he doesn’t use it as much. We know he has a monstrous right uppercut, he also has a very good left hook that he hasn’t really used as much as I’d like. Between the defense, body punching and placing a good left hook, I think that will tie in everything. He has a good offense in throwing punches from different angles and varying his combinations which is something I teach. Don’t throw the same combinations, keep your man guessing.”
Story lines: Hurd didn’t have to endure the hardships many other boxers had too.
“I didn’t have a rough life at all,” said the Gwynn Parkway High School graduate. “I had both my parents there, I was raised in the suburbs of Accokeek. I was just a kid who my dad put in the gym to defend himself. He took me and my two brothers to the gym.”
The Maryland-born and raised product alludes to a Mike Tyson quote but takes issue.
“Mike Tyson had a saying, ‘You had to come from somewhere hard in order to make it.’ There’s some truth to that but I feel if you want something bad enough no matter where you’re from you can achieve it. I stuck with boxing ’cause I thought I had something.”
He is the middle sibling of three brothers, and his younger brother Justin made his debut on Nov. 5.
Hurd and Rodriguez work together today, but at one time they were gym mates, working under the tutelage of Tom Browner. Rodriguez was 8-0 when Browner passed away. At that time Hurd was still in the amateurs but had stepped away from boxing and was working a day job at Safeway. When he heard of Browner’s passing it got him thinking and he attended his mentors funeral.
Shortly afterwards he approached Rodriguez with a proposition and an alliance soon followed, once Rodriguez received his assurances that Hurd would take boxing serious.
It proved a pivotal moment, previously boxing had been a part of Hurd’s life but it wasn’t his main focus. The boxer-puncher admits he had looked at boxing more as a hobby that a career.
His boxing heroes are Roy Jones Jr. and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Currently, he’s single with no children and enjoys spending time with friends. He likes to take trips, play video games, bowling and going to the movies as well as going for out for food, particularly Italian.
Sept. 29 – Mike Arnold – TKO 1
Nov. 3 – Coy Lanbert – KO 4
Dec. 8 – Anthony Jones – KO 1
Jan. 12 – Trenton Titsworth – UD 4
Mar. 2 – Thomas Baldwin – UD 4
April 20 – Greg Hackett – UD 6
July 13 – Joshua Burns – TKO 2
Aug. 10 – Issa Coulibaly – KO 3
Oct. 18 – Frank Gedeon – UD 6
Dec. 6 – Frank Armenta – KO 2
Jan. 17 – Chris Chatman – SD 6
June 13 – Joshua Robertson – TKO 1
Nov. 1 – Terry Cade – KO 1
Dec. 5 – Emmanuel Sanchez – MD 6
April 18 – Eric Mitchell – TKO 3
Aug. 14 – Jeff Lentz – TKO 7
Nov. 14 – Frank Galarza – TKO 6
June 25 – Oscar Molina – TKO 10
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright