On Saturday, April 7, 2018, WBA Jr. Middleweight champion Erislandy Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs) will clash with IBF Jr. Middleweight titleholder, “Swift” Jarrett Hurd (21-0 15 KOs) as part of an exciting fight card presented by Premier Boxing Champions from The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
The bout will headline a televised tripleheader on Showtime Championship Boxing, with Caleb Truax and James DeGale squaring off in an IBF 168-pound title rematch in the co-main event and Julian Williams battling Nathaniel Gallimore in a 154-pound title eliminator.
Lara, the longest reigning world champion at 154 pounds, will look to halt the freight train that is Hurd, a fighter who has scored 10 stoppages in his last 11 bouts.
The highly-anticipated title unification bout pits two of the best 154-pound fighters in the world against one another. In a day and age where empty social media “call outs” seem to be dropping on the daily, it’s nice to see two guys sign the contracts and agree to actually fight.
Less talking and more fighting is quickly becoming Hurd’s method of operation, with his first voluntary title defense against Austin Trout in October of 2017 proving that he is not afraid to take on risky fights to solidify his status at 154 pounds.
In a recent one-on-one talk with RBRBoxing at Hillcrest Boxing Gym, Hurd confirmed that he wants to take on the best competition now.
“I feel I’m the best,” said Hurd. “There is no point in going around these fighters, go straight at them and why not? I’m not getting any younger so I feel like I might as well take the fights now.”
Boxing fans, who undoubtedly are the most cranky and bitchy set of sports fans you’ll ever come across (especially on Instagram and Twitter) have gravitated towards Hurd specifically because he’s taking on the toughest challenges available to him.
During our gym visit, we also caught up with Ernesto Rodriguez, Hurd’s trainer, who discussed the teams mindset heading into the April 7 clash with Lara.
“We’re really looking forward to making a statement in this fight and becoming the No. 1 154-pound fighter in the world,” said Rodriguez.
In terms of fighting the best, Rodriguez shares his fighters mindset and believes that fighting the best is what you have to do.
“People talk. A lot of people say they’re the best and want to be No. 1,” said Rodriguez. “People can say what they want to say, but the only way you show it is by fighting the best and beating the best. For us it wasn’t just about talking. If you’re the best, you fight the best. We’re fighting the best 154-pounder out there and April 7 we’re coming to take that title.”
Hurd has been vocal about how he wants the fight play out, stating that he wants to be “Alfredo Angulo times 10.” By that, Hurd means he wants to bring the pressure and be in Lara’s face all night, something that Angulo had some success with in knocking Lara down twice, before being stopped himself in Round 10.
Rodriguez feels confident that his man can not only get the win, but also score the stoppage victory against the veteran Cuban fighter.
“Based on Lara’s style I will say that Jarrett will stop him in the championship rounds,” said Rodriguez. “But, if Lara decides to man up a little bit and stands there and trades with him [Hurd], I’d say eight rounds.”
Tune into Showtime Championship Boxing on April 7 to watch the title unification clash between Erislandy Lara and Jarrett Hurd.
Full Interview with Ernesto Rodriguez
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.