Jarrett Hurd gets it done in the end: Weekend Review
Jarrett Hurd: Hurd seemed to be in trouble. For six frustrating rounds, he was outclassed by Tony Harrison and appeared to be falling flat on the Deontay Wilder-Gerald Washington card Saturday night in Birmingham, Alabama.
Then Hurd demonstrated how far a little determination can go.
Hurd, obviouly sensing the urgency, began to apply tremendous pressure on Harrison and he quickly wilted. And not only did Hurd turn the tables, he won his first major title in a spectacular manner. Hurd put Harrison down with a right hand late in the ninth round and he couldn’t continue, giving Hurd the IBF junior middleweight title that had been vacated by Jermall Charlo.
Hurd (20-0, 14 knockouts) deserves credit. He got the job done. At the same time, the first half of the fight might be cause for some concern. If Hurd falls behind as he did Saturday against a good boxer who is more durable than Harrison (24-2, 20 KOs), he might not be able to turn things around.
One colleague suggested that Hurd was tight in the first half of the fight, which is possible. The experience will help in that regard and in general, as the 26-year-old continues to grow as a fighter. I expect him to be better than ever in his next fight, which might not be good news for the other 154-pounders.
Tony Harrison: I fear that Harrison ultimately will have wasted his considerable talent.
The boxing ability of Harrison, the product of a noted boxing family from Detroit, was on full display for six rounds against the unbeaten Hurd. He used a stick-and-move strategy to dominate half the fight. It was beautiful to watch.
And then he collapsed like a cheap lawn chair, the result of increased pressure from Hurd and his own lack of durability and stamina. He seemed capable of continuing after the knockout but spit out his mouthpiece, evidently his way of saying he was done.
Just like that, an impressive performance turned into a regrettable defeat. It reminded everyone of the Willie Nelson fight, in which Harrison fell in the same round.
I don’t know where Harrison goes from here. Again, you can’t question his skills; he’s good. The problem is you can’t teach toughness, you can’t teach a good chin, you can’t teach fighting spirit.
I hope I’m wrong. I truly admire Harrison’s skills.
I think it’s safe to say that most us expected the Wilder-Washington fight to end like it did, following a big right by Wilder (38-0, 37 KOs) that stopped Washington (18-1-1, 12 KOs) and preserved his WBC
heavyweight title. The first four-plus rounds were interesting, though. Wilder seemed out of sorts against an equally tall opponent who shoved a stiff jab in his face from beginning to the sudden end; he did next to nothing until the KO. My thought was: “If he has this kind of trouble against someone like Washington, what would happen if he were to tangle with someone like Anthony Joshua?” Things might not go as well in the end. The point is that Wilder’s power might not always rescue him. He obviously still needs work on his boxing. … I don’t think Dominic Breazeale (18-1, 16 KOs) is destined to accomplished significant things as a professional boxer; too slow, too easy to hit. The man has courage, though. He gave everything he had in a losing effort against Joshua in June. And on the Wilder-Washington card he won a war of attrition against Izuagbe Ugonoh (17-1, 14 KOs), stopping the Pole 50 seconds into Round 5. Ugonoh went down three times, Breazeale once in a wild fight. … Brian Kenny, who did the blow-by-blow on the Wilder-Washington card on FOX, is a terrific commentator. It’s too bad he doesn’t do boxing more often. And I could listen to trainer Virgil Hunter all night. …
Eleider Alvarez (22-0, 11 KOs) took out Lucian Bute (32-4-1, 25 KOs) in five rounds Saturday in Quebec City to become the mandatory challenger to WBC light heavyweight titleholder Adonis Stevenson, Alvarez’s first knockout in five fights. Alvarez is a good, experienced boxer who might be catching Stevenson at the right time – he turns 40 in September – but the titleholder still has that punching power. Interesting fight, assuming it happens. … The Alvarez-Bute fight made me think back to 2012, shortly after the fast-rising Bute almost shut out Glen Johnson and was preparing to face Carl Froch. He is 2-4-1 since (with two knockout losses), making him a fighter that many of us misjudged. On the positive side, he can always say he held a major 168-pound title for four-plus years. … Justin DeLoach (17-1, 9 KOs) made a nice statement by stopping Christopher Pearson (14-2, 10 KOs) in two rounds in a battle of junior middleweight prospects Friday on Showtime. … Kudos to Manny Pacquiao for agreeing to fight Amir Khan instead of the unknown Jeff Horn on April 23. Pacquiao would’ve annihilated Horn; Khan is a legitimate threat. I think Khan has the speed and ability to beat this version of Pacquiao if the fight goes the distance. The problem is Khan’s chin. Pacquiao hasn’t stopped anyone since Miguel Cotto in 2009; Khan could be next.