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Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Jarrett Hurd, Erislandy Lara, Hurd vs. Jermell Charlo)

Have we entered the Jarrett Hurd era of 154-pound dominance? Photo / Stephanie Trapp-SHOWTIME
09
Apr

HURD-LARA

What’s up Doug hope all is well.

What a weekend of boxing! I think everyone will agree that Hurd-Lara stole the show…both gave it their all, but Hurd just would not be denied. Lara showed again he is a true fighter and can bite down when he needs to, but Hurd was just too young, strong and determined, was a good mix of contrasting styles nonetheless.

Wrote to you about Hurd after he beat Harrison and he keeps improving each fight…took some clean shots vs Lara but who doesn’t? I think he improved slightly on defence tonight like he said he would and was like a man possessed offensively. What are your thoughts?

And I’m sure the betting odds on him and Jermell Charlo narrowed after tonight? Who wins that? And what happens to Lara? Surely, he has another title run? Put in a great effort tonight. Keep up the good work. – David, Dublin

Thanks David.

Lara dug down deep against Hurd. Photo / Stephanie Trapp-SHWOTIME

Lara was truly valiant in his losing effort. As I stated on my Twitter account, I have a new-found respect for the veteran. I knew he had heart, but I didn’t expect THAT much heart and fighting spirit from him. I was genuinely impressed.

What’s next for Lara? I’m not sure but I wouldn’t count him out against any junior middleweight titleholder or top contender except for Hurd (even though I thought the 27-year-old giant only won their first meeting by one point). I don’t see Lara being able to put his body through that kind of physically grueling experience again. However, I still think the Cuban’s style can be kryptonite against a fellow boxer.

My guess is that Team Lara either goes for an immediate rematch with Hurd or a shot at the winner of Hurd-Charlo.

Lara showed again he is a true fighter and can bite down when he needs to, but Hurd was just too young, strong and determined, was a good mix of contrasting styles nonetheless. Hurd deserves just as much credit as Lara. He made Lara fight like a demon. It takes two skilled, well-conditioned, courageous fighters to make for a great fight.

Wrote to you about Hurd after he beat Harrison and he keeps improving each fight…took some clean shots vs Lara but who doesn’t? I thought he took a few flush power shots too many from Lara, especially that uppercut. Good grief!

I think he improved slightly on defence tonight like he said he would and was like a man possessed offensively. What are your thoughts? To be honest, he looked like the same giant pressure fighter I saw against Tony Harrison and Austin Trout. I didn’t see any marked improvement with his footwork or defense, but I could be wrong. He was able to close ground on (and put hands on) an elite stick-and-move boxer in Lara, and one isn’t able to do that without some ring craft.

And I’m sure the betting odds on him and Jermell Charlo narrowed after tonight? Maybe. Who do you consider the favorite? Is there a favorite?

Who wins that? I think it’s a toss-up, but if I must have a favorite, I think I lean slightly towards Charlo, who has trouble with crafty boxers but seems to relish and excel at showdowns with aggressive fighters. Having said that, I don’t think he’s ever faced a man as physically imposing as Hurd in the pro ranks.

 

BEAST MODE HURD

Hey Doug, just wanted to write in about the great junior middleweight unification fight we got to watch Saturday.

That fight was a real privilege to watch; great skill displayed by both fighters and such a compelling contrast of styles too. I was watching this fight with my dad (who knows a lot more about boxing then me but doesn’t read about it online and isn’t a nerd fan like I am) and he said about 2 rounds in that he thought Hurd was going to stop Lara and the fight would play out like the Trout fight. (The only other time he’d seen Hurd.)

That turned out to not quite be the case; Lara took a bit of a beating but he also landed some beauties on Hurd and he showed tremendous toughness down the stretch, especially getting up off the canvas to finish the final round punching. We both agreed it was a clear win for Hurd though and were a little surprised that the knockdown turned out to be the difference rather than the icing on the cake for Swift.

Hurd’s greatest quality seems to be his ability to make fighters fight his fight. This is partly due to his footwork and will, but it also seems to be something a little more than that. As one of the commentators said, it’s almost as if his opponents start hitting him early fairly easily, and then they get a bit greedy and throw more combinations thinking they can take him out when they should be throwing ones and twos and then angling out. This means a Hurd fight will likely be a war and that means his size, strength, and body shots are all maximized. He’s a lot of fun to watch.

Also, I’d like to say I agree with your response to my last email–zero tolerance in any judicial system isn’t right. You should always get a chance to put together a defense before you get punished. I think I didn’t write that clearly in my last email, I was just implying/assuming that Canelo won’t end up having much of a defense, but I shouldn’t assume anything. – Jack

The writing appears to on the wall for Canelo and his case with the NAC. We’ll know for sure on April 18. I’m sure I’ll be fine with whatever punishment the commission lays down on ole freckle face, but I want all the “zero-tolerance” cheerleaders and boxing insiders that have publicly stated that Canelo “was busted” and is a “cheater” to realize that there will be just as much public heat and scorn for their favorites (or for boxers from their team) when one of them tests positive for ANYTHING – and it will happen. Going forward, positive test = guilty.

Lara took a bit of a beating but he also landed some beauties on Hurd and he showed tremendous toughness down the stretch, especially getting up off the canvas to finish the final round punching. I will never question Lara’s mettle after Saturday’s fight. He proved it beyond any doubt. In fact, he might be tougher than he is skilled, which is saying something.

Lara landed his share of clean shots during his dramatic showdown with Hurd. Photo / Stephanie Trapp-SHOWTIME

We both agreed it was a clear win for Hurd though and were a little surprised that the knockdown turned out to be the difference rather than the icing on the cake for Swift. I’m not mad at all at the official scorecards. I thought Hurd probably deserved to win the fight even without the knockdown because he was the aggressor for the entire bout, he soundly outworked Lara, and – most importantly – he caused more damage. However, Lara started well, weathered the storm during the middle rounds and stood his ground down the stretch – and all the while, he was able to nail Hurd with flush, eye-catching power punches that could have swayed the judges to score close rounds for him.

Hurd’s greatest quality seems to be his ability to make fighters fight his fight. That’s the best quality that any boxer can have, regardless of his or her style.

He’s a lot of fun to watch. That’s the bottom line for me. I could have commented on your 100-word breakdown on what makes Hurd special, but you’re over-analyzing him (as us “nerd fans” tend to do). Hurd’s got strengths and flaws that make him entertaining. He makes for dramatic fights. What more needs to be said?

 

ANOTHER CANDIDATE FOR FIGHT OF THE YEAR

Dougie,

Lara-Hurd is a perfect example of why boxing is unlike any other sport, the shifts in momentum, the pace of the fight – what heart both fighters displayed. I have an altered view of Lara, who I always thought of as safety first fighter. I was shocked to see him in-fighting with Hurd, what a chin Lara displayed! Hurd is a tough out for anyone, he looked so much bigger than Lara.

It should be very interesting to watch Hurd-Charlo. Who do you think wins that fight? If Hurd moves up would love to see him against the middleweight Charlo or Danny Jacobs. I think he takes too many shots to beat GGG.

Truax-DeGale was such an ugly fight, I thought the referee, Robert Byrd, did a terrible job allowing so much holding. Regardless, I take a pass on watching a rematch, if it happens. I think David Benavidez will do a job on Chunky.

Last thought, you had mentioned in a recent column that Anthony Joshua could be another George Foreman. That’s an interesting comparison, however I wonder if a champion needs a certain level of special opposition to be considered at the level of an all-time great? Who will play the role of Frazier, Norton or a Ron Lyle for Joshua? In my opinion, those guys allowed George Foreman to become George Foreman- other than Deontay Wilder, what dance partners are out there to allow Joshua to be considered as great? All the best! – Rahn

Thanks Rahn. I wasn’t trying to say that Joshua can or will become an all-time great like Foreman. I was just pointing out that they have similar backgrounds, styles and ring mentalities. They’re both Olympic gold medalists with limited amateur backgrounds, both large and imposing (for their eras), both stalking boxer-punchers who possess a stiff jab, hard uppercuts and a debilitating body attack.

If Joshua can continue to develop, he can be like this generation’s Foreman, but that doesn’t mean that he will accomplish all that Big George did.  

Photo by Lawrence Lustig

Of course, a standout champion needs worthy rivals to help him achieve his ultimate potential. Who will be Joshua’s Frazier, Norton or Lyle? Maybe Deontay Wilder, Alexander Povetkin and Jarrell Miller. Or maybe Dillian Whyte earns another shot at him and gives him an even tougher fight than he did the first time. Maybe Luis Ortiz gets back on track and earns a shot at AJ. Maybe we’ll see Joshua tested harder in one or two of his upcoming fights than he was with Wladimir Klitschko. Maybe we’ll see him lose or even get KTFO. And then we’ll find out what kind of character he really has. Time will tell.

It should be very interesting to watch Hurd-Charlo. Who knows? It might be a better fight than Hurd-Lara was. Stylistically speaking, it seems to have that potential.

Who do you think wins that fight? Like I stated earlier in this mailbag column, I think it’s a 50-50 matchup, but if I have to pick someone, I’ll go with Charlo. He’s more experienced (had the better amateur career and has more pro bouts), he’s got tighter technique, he’s more versatile, he’s faster, more accurate and he can crack equally hard. However, big, strong, durable pressure fighters like Hurd have a way of making all that s__ a moot point. So, let’s just let the two 154-pound badasses duke it out in the ring and enjoy it.

If Hurd moves up would love to see him against the middleweight Charlo or Danny Jacobs. I think he takes too many shots to beat GGG. I think he takes too many shots to beat Jacobs. Hurd vs. either Charlo has Fight of the Year potential.

Truax-DeGale II was an ugly bloodbath.

Truax-DeGale was such an ugly fight, I thought the referee, Robert Byrd, did a terrible job allowing so much holding. That fight was so awkward and ugly, I took the time out to book my flights to Las Vegas for the GGG show and to New York City for Linares-Lomachenko while the two super middleweights grappled and head butted each other and bled all over the ring.  

Regardless, I take a pass on watching a rematch, if it happens. I’m with you. No need for a third go-around with these two (both of whom I like a lot).

I think David Benavidez will do a job on Chunky. Agreed. I think Jose Uzcategui could also take Chunky to hell.

 

HURD-CHARLO!

Bring on Hurd/Charlo, that will be a great fight!!!! Those two dudes don’t play. To me that is one of the best fights that can be made in boxing. Those Charlos have a mean streak but they are VERY skilled and powerful and we all know Hurd only knows one way to fight, smother you and wear you out. No way that is not a great fight! I honestly think that will be a better fight than Wilder/Joshua, even though I am excited for that, but it will probably be awkward and then someone gets KTFO, well then Joshua gets KTFO excuse me.

I am a Hurd fan, that dude just beats on you like a ragdoll, I mean he’s rolling downhill like a freight train on you, he’s just all over you. It takes him a while to heat up, but once he does he smoking like Joe Frazier!

Not impressed with J Rock, he won, but that is all I can say and I am from Philly. He’s not elite compared to the rest of the division, not saying he is not good, I am just saying he is a step below the top of the division.

I know you don’t care and I really don’t either, but I assume after watching your best friend Money May, that he is hyping his supposed MMA entrance and will just sign a deal to PROMOTE in the MMA. That is my prediction. Thank you. – Jason C. Brown

That’s not a bad prediction, JCB. Why not? If Dana White can come over to boxing, why can’t Floyd move over to MMA? I wish them both luck because they will need it.

Regarding Hurd vs. Charlo, I agree that it’s one of the best matchups that can be made in boxing. If Showtime and the PBC can make it happen this year, they deserve a lot of praise and I will give those organizations – and the fighters, of course – the credit they’re due. By the way, THE RING’s vacant 154-pound title would be on the line for that fight.

Those two dudes don’t play. Nope. And why would they? Boxing ain’t a game. I like that they realize that.

Those Charlos have a mean streak but they are VERY skilled and powerful and we all know Hurd only knows one way to fight, smother you and wear you out. True. Jarrett vs. Jermell may come down to who can take a better shot.

No way that is not a great fight! I honestly think that will be a better fight than Wilder/Joshua, even though I am excited for that, but it will probably be awkward and then someone gets KTFO, well then Joshua gets KTFO excuse me. Ah, you’re on the Wilder bandwagon. OK. Well, hopefully, we find out this year, Jason.

I am a Hurd fan, that dude just beats on you like a ragdoll, I mean he’s rolling downhill like a freight train on you, he’s just all over you. Somebody on Twitter (@mrboxingguru) had this perversely accurate observation during Saturday’s fight:

It takes him a while to heat up, but once he does he smoking like Joe Frazier! You know what? I think “Smokin’” is a much better boxing moniker for Hurd than “Swift.”

Not impressed with J Rock, he won, but that is all I can say and I am from Philly. Don’t be so hard on Williams. It’s not like he was in there with a chump. Gallimore is handful, and could probably be a threat at middleweight.

He’s not elite compared to the rest of the division, not saying he is not good, I am just saying he is a step below the top of the division. I would favor Hurd, Charlo and Lara to beat him, but I think he would compete with all three, and I would consider him to be very live against the Sadam Ali-Liam Smith winner.

 

HURD VS. THE JUNIOR MIDDLEWEIGHT LEGENDS

Hi Dougie,

I really enjoyed the Hurd v Lara fight – a lot more than I expected to. It’s great that we are getting so many unification fights these days too.

My understanding is that the only other fighters to have unified titles in the 154-lb. division are Terry Norris, Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya, Winky Wright, Canelo Alvarez (and possibly Hearns?). Not bad company for Hurd to be in with!

How do you think Hurd would have fared against those great fighters? Best regards. – Jeremy, UK

Hearns should have unified the 154-pound division when he faced – and blitzed the great Roberto Duran in 1984 – but the WBA stripped Hands of Stone prior to that showdown (the Detroit star held the WBC title at the time). I think Hearns would blast Hurd out early, but The Hitman is arguably the best junior middleweight ever.

I think the other hall of famers (Norris, De La Hoya and Winky) would outbox Hurd in competitive fights. Tito would knock him out late or give him a beating down the stretch of an entertaining distance fight.

Canelo-Hurd is an interesting mythical matchup. I can see Hurd outworking Canelo over the distance, but I can also see the Mexican star counter-punching the s__t out of the pressure fighter. I’m going to go with Canelo via controversial majority decision.

 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer

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