A recent report suggests that a Super Welterweight title unification bout between WBA “Super” champion, Erislandy Lara (24-2-2, 14 KOs) and newly crowned IBF champion, Jarrett Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs) is in the works.
Talks of a fight between these two seemingly came out of left field, so Round By Round Boxing caught up with Ernesto Rodriguez, who trains Hurd, to clarify the situation.
“Lara needs to stop using Jarrett as an excuse for not facing [Demetrius] Andrade. Andrade is his mandatory. That’s a fight they both agreed on for some time. Now Lara needs to man up and fight his mandatory,” said Rodriguez.
Since he captured the IBF title with a ninth-round stoppage over Tony Harrison, calling out Hurd has been the popular thing to do.
— Erislandy Lara (@Laraboxing) March 15, 2017
But before Hurd looks towards a title unification bout with Lara, Rodriguez says they are waiting for their mandatory challenger.
“There’s a fight between Cedric Vitu and Marcello Matano that will determine the mandatory for Jarrett and we will face the winner,” said Rodriguez. “If Lara really wants to fight Jarrett, he needs to fight Andrade. Once we both win our mandatory fights then we can unify.”
Lara was last in action in January, when he knocked out the overmatched former WBA title holder Yuri Foreman, who had only fought twice in two years prior to that fight.
Even though Lara scored a knockout in that fight, Rodriguez points out that it was against an inferior opponent and that generally, Lara is a boring fighter.
“The guy he fought last was a sitting duck. Foreman had been out for two years because of injury. It was a joke,” said Rodriguez. “Lara is a boring fighter. He hits and runs and nobody wants to see a fight like that.”
After a short amateur career, Hurd has made a meteoric rise as a professional and Rodriguez admits that his fighter is still young and can improve on a number of things.
“Jarrett moved fast in the pro ranks and his last few fights have all been TKO’s–so he gives the people what they want. But, we can see that there are a lot of things he needs to improve on, but he makes up for it with his punching power and his determination to win,” said Rodriguez.
In regards to why many fighters are calling Hurd out, Rodriguez thinks that they are under the false impression that Hurd will be a walk in the park for them.
“Let me tell you what–it’s not as easy as it looks,” said Rodriguez. “It looks easy on the outside, but once you get in the ring with him it’s a totally different story and I’ve heard that from very top-level competition.”
Rodriguez believes that Lara, who is known as “The American Dream,” is trying to emulate the POTUS by getting people to focus on something other than what is truly at hand.
“All of this talk he’s doing he’s trying to take the focus away from his mandatory,” said Rodriguez. “He’s doing a Donald Trump–trying to take the heat off of him and putting it on someone else. I’m just laughing at this because there are no negotiations!”
Although Rodriguez loves to follow the saying, “one fight at a time,” he doesn’t mind looking ahead to a future fight with Lara, one that he fully believes Hurd will win.
“When the time comes for Lara to face Jarrett–maybe sometime next year–there is no doubt in my mind that Jarrett can beat Lara,” said Rodriguez.
For now, Lara will have to look elsewhere for an opponent, as Rodriguez says they hope to face the Vitu vs. Matano winner around August and then face someone else by the end of the year.
Header photo by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing
Alejandro "Alex" Burgos is a former Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Round By Round Boxing. He is a professional blogger, SEO Consultant and Marketing Director at Capital Practice Consulting in Washington, DC.