Jarrett Hurd fights because he likes it, and he’s very good at it
Jarrett Hurd doesn’t have to do this. He wants to do this.
Unlike most fighters, “Swift” wasn’t forced into boxing to make a living. The undefeated product from Accokeek, Maryland didn’t have to fight his way out of poverty. Instead, Hurd comes from a middle-class family where he and his two brothers were kept busy with athletics. Boxing wasn’t a way out, nor was it his preferred career choice.
“Growing up as one of three boys in my house, my father used to watch boxing all the time and he wanted us to learn how to defend ourselves,” the 27-year-old IBF 154-pound titleholder explained to RingTV about his younger days. His father took him to a boxing gym and, as he puts it, he handled himself pretty well.
But boxing took a backseat to football, baseball and soccer. Eventually, as Hurd became a teenager, boxing became less of a focus.
“I used to ride to the gym with my father,” Hurd says. “But once I got my own car I wanted to rush away from it. I wanted to hang out with my friends and do my own thing. I got a job at Safeway.”
A middle class kid doing things a teenager would do, Hurd would continue boxing but wasn’t a standout. However, everything changed when his former trainer, Tom Browner, passed away.
“I got a call from my older brother that Tom Browner had passed away,” Hurd recalls. “Browner would always call up to Safeway and tell me to come back to boxing and take it seriously. Once he passed, I decided to give it one more shot.”
Although Browner was gone, Ernesto Rodriguez was around. Both trained under the tutelage of Browner but Rodriguez recognized that Hurd had natural talent. The two formed a bond after Browner’s funeral and an alliance was formed.
Although he was 32-8 as an amateur, Hurd saw a future in boxing. He went and told his parents that he planned to put school on hold and quit his job, and his parents wished him well, with one caveat.
“They gave me until I was 25 to make some progress or else I’d have to quit,” Hurd says. “And at 26, I was a world champion.”
Undefeated with a record of 21-0 with 15 knockouts, Hurd certainly made the right decision for his future. After turning pro in 2012, Hurd began racking up impressive victory after impressive victory. As one of boxing’s top prospects, Hurd would make good on his prospect status by having a remarkable 2017 that put him on the map in a crowded 154-pound division.
Swift finished both Tony Harrison and Austin Trout in impressive fashion, becoming the first fighter to stop Trout, and put the entire boxing world on notice.
“That was everything for me,” Hurd says. “I wanted to be the guy who did what other fighters couldn’t. Trout fought Miguel Cotto, Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara. But none of them could stop him. I wanted to be the first. I knew that would separate me from everyone else.”
With seven consecutive finishes under his belt, Hurd could have gone the easy route and collected knockouts. Instead, the 6-foot-1 junior middleweight is taking on the toughest assignment in the division when he faces Erislandy Lara in the main event at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino tonight on Showtime.
Like Trout, Lara has never been stopped. But unlike Trout, Lara has proven to be a puzzle that nobody has truly been able to solve due to the Cuban’s superb technical ability and willingness to drag a fight to a snail’s pace. But Hurd vows to force Lara out of his shell and into a term that most won’t liken to any Lara fight: exciting.
“No matter who I fight, it’s always going to be an exciting,” Hurd says. “Lara is an avoided fighter but in order to be the best, you have to accept those challenges. Not only do I want to look exciting but I also want to look good doing it. I want to make a statement.”
A statement will most certainly be made if Hurd collects his eighth consecutive finish against another fighter who has never been finished inside of the distance.
“It would definitely be the biggest victory of my career,” Hurd says. “And a stoppage would be a huge statement. I’m doing the unthinkable. Everyone’s eyes would be open.”
It’s a tough task, but Hurd is here to defy the odds. After all, a kid who comes from a middle class family doesn’t need to fight. He has to want to fight. He has to have the desire to be the best and not allow money to be the determining factor. Hurd is all of those things and wants to prove that he’s the best in the world when it is al said and done. He has his eyes on Jermell Charlo after this for another title unification and then the sky is the limit.
“When you feel like the best, you don’t avoid anybody,” Hurd says about facing the toughest fighters out there. “I feel like I’m the best so there’s no reason to dance around these fighters. I want them all now.”