Being the underdog is nothing new for Julian Williams
Julian Williams knows this place. In fact, the Philadelphia junior middleweight embraces it. Go ahead and doubt him. Go ahead and say he has no chance against IBF and WBA junior middleweight titlist “Swift” Jarrett Hurd (23-0, 16 knockouts) on Saturday, May 11, at the EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia, live on the PBC show on Fox (8pm ET/5pm PT).
Williams (26-1-1, 16 KOs) loves it.
“I do like being thought of as the underdog,” said Williams, 29. “I do like being doubted, because I like proving wrong. It wouldn’t be the first time.”
One thing is certain, Williams will make a strong account of himself. He did even in his only pro defeat.
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In his fifth-round knockout loss to then-IBF junior middleweight beltholder Jermall Charlo in December 2016, “J-Rock” was only down 38-37 on all three judge’s scorecards when he was stopped – even after Williams was knocked down in the second round.
“What I learned from that fight was to be more patient and understand it’s a 12-round fight,” Williams said. “I learned to have more awareness. I kept landing the right over and over again and I got a little greedy. I knew 100% that I would get another shot. I know that I’m a top 154-pound fighter. I just had to get back in there and keep fighting. You can’t stay down too long. You just get back up on the horse. I knew this time would be coming.
“I think that all of my fights have prepared me for this opportunity, not just the Charlo fight. I learned from the 21 fights I had before that too. The Charlo fight gave me a chance to go back to the drawing board and work on a bunch of things. I have championship experience and that’s invaluable.”
For Hurd, who’s from nearby Accokeek, Maryland, this will be a homecoming of sorts. He will be defending his title in his home region for the first time since becoming a titlist.
“When I first heard it was official I’d be fighting at home, it meant everything to me,” said Hurd. “Winning the world title was always a dream of mine and I accomplished that two times. Now I just want to defend it in front of my people. It’s the perfect time to come home and it’s going to be a special night.
“My confidence level is sky high. I want to make it one-sided all the way through. I have a different game plan for each fight. You never know what style I’ll bring out.”
Hurd, 28, is 6-foot-1, to Williams’ 5-foot-10, and does own a four-inch reach advantage (76½”-to-72½”)
Other than that, J-Rock isn’t conceding anything.
“You have to get into the ring with a guy before you can give anyone credit,” said Stephen “Breadman” Edwards, J-Rock’s trainer. “As a trainer and as a fighter, you never concede anything. Hurd is definitively bigger than Julian, but we’re not conceding Hurd is the harder puncher or better puncher.
“Hurd is bigger, that’s a measurable. Everything else isn’t.”
It wouldn’t be good to underestimate Julian Williams. But if Hurd wants to do that, he does so at his own risk.
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