On Saturday, October 14, 2017, “Swift” Jarrett Hurd (20-0, 14 KOs) will step into the ring to make the first defense of his IBF title against former world champion, Austin “No Doubt” Trout (30-3, 17 KOs).
Hurd won the title, which was vacated by Jermall Charlo, back in February of 2017 against contender Tony Harrison via ninth-round TKO.
Initially, Hurd was rumored to be waiting to face his mandatory challenger next, the winner of Cedric Vitu vs. Marcello Matano.
But instead of going the route of facing Vitu–who ended up knocking out Matano in 10–Hurd opted to face a much more experienced and tougher opponent in his first title defense.
Hurd sees this fight as a huge opportunity to silence critics who see him as the weak link in the 154-pound title mix.
“I feel like this fight is everything,” said Hurd during a recent interview with Round By Round Boxing. “This is going to determine whether I’m the real deal or I’m what everybody thinks I am. People feel like I’m the weakest champ in the 154 pound division and like you said I could’ve taken any fight, but I looked at that top 15 and I wanted to choose an opponent that people would doubt me with. I know what I can do and I feel like I’m the best 154-pounder out there.”
Trout, who won the WBA Junior Middleweight in 2012 against Miguel Cotto, fought for Hurd’s IBF title in his last outing against then-champion, Jermall Charlo, in what was an entertaining bout that saw Trout drop a 12-round unanimous decision.
Although Trout will be entering the ring after a 15 month layoff, it can be argued that he will be the stiffest test to date for the young champion from Accokeek, MD.
“We didn’t want to take an easy fight for our first defense. We wanted to go for someone that would give me a tough fight and Austin Trout was the one,” said Hurd. “We know Austin Trout is a veteran and going into this fight it’s going to be more of a mind game than a physically strong fight.”
The 154-pound division is stacked, and while one loss likely will not derail his entire career, if Hurd does come out victorious on October 14 he will have some huge potential matchups in front of him with unification possibilities at stake.
JARRETT HURD INTERVIEW
Header photo by Leo Wilson Jr./Premier Boxing Champions
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.