Jarrett Hurd: ‘I respect Julian Williams. He’s a good fighter. He’s just not as good as me’
ARLINGTON, Virginia — Jarrett Hurd didn’t want to miss anyone. He was pointing here, there, everywhere he saw a familiar face and they were coming at the IBF and WBA junior middleweight titleholder from all directions as he walked through the lobby of the Doubletree by Hilton on Friday night.
Wearing a grey sweat suit trimmed in Washington Redskin-themed burgundy and gold, Hurd (23-0, 16 knockouts) was in great spirits before his title defense against Julian Williams (26-1-1, 16 KOs) on Saturday, May 11, at the EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, live on the PBC show on Fox (8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT).
“I needed this, and wanted this, this is a homecoming,” said Hurd, who’s from nearby Accokeek, Maryland and will be defending his titles in his home region for the first time since becoming a titlist.
“This is probably the most relaxed and most confident that I’ve ever been before a fight. This means everything to me. It is like a home fight. I’m surrounded by a lot of people who saw me and knew when I first put gloves on.
“These are my people and they’re showing me support. I respect Julian Williams. He’s a good fighter. He’s just not as good as me. And I plan on proving that. I feel great and I’m in great shape. I’m going to show some things no one has seen before, because no one knows what to expect when I fight.”
Hurd weighed in at 153.8 and Williams came in initially slightly over the 154-pound limit, before dropping a few ounces when he went behind the towel and weighed in at 153¾.
“I had to lose close to 40 pounds for the (Jason) Welborn fight (on Dec. 1 at LA’s Staples Center) and I still knocked him out (in the fourth round),” said Hurd, the winner of the BWAA’s Fight of the Year award, after beating Erislandy Lara last April. “I wanted to be smarter this time around.
“I feel strong, and I know Williams is going to know it.”
While Hurd perceives this as a homecoming, and just one look at the heavily partisan crowd wearing Hurd’s colors tells you it is, the Philadelphia-based Williams wanted everyone to know there is a Philly presence in Virginia, too.
“I see all of Hurd’s people, and I’m sorry, but there is a lot of Philly in the house here, too,” Williams said. “This is great for me. I know no one thinks I can beat (Hurd). I love it. Keep doubting me.
“I’m going to shock a lot of these people.”
At the second-day weigh-in on Saturday morning, where both Williams and Hurd were within the 10-pound limit, Williams wore a stoic, squared-jawed demeanor, while Hurd was laughing and joking with everyone around him.
“I feel great, I look great and I know I’m going to win,” Hurd said. “I’m confident in who I am and how good I am. I can’t wait for this. You start boxing as a kid and you dream about moments like this.
“A lot of people I’ve seen this week helped me get here. I need to reward them.”
Hurd-Williams will be the main event of the FOX’s three-bout show. The other two bouts are scheduled 10-round fights; one featuring Mario Barrios (23-0, 15 KOs) against Juan Jose Velasco (20-1, 12 KOs) in what was listed as a junior welterweight bout, though weighed 143 pounds, And, in a middleweight fight, Matt Korobov (28-2, 14 KOs) will be meeting Immanuwel Aleem (18-1-1, 11 KOs).
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